Tutoring Impacted by Euphemisms in Education
Apr 8, 2016 Tutoring/Home School 987 Views
We live in a world of euphemisms. When someone dies we say, "they passed away." When a person lies we say, "they're economic with the truth." When a student has a serious retardation we say, "they are cognitively challenged." Euphemisms can best be described as a type of cancer running amuck. The problem isn't with their use, rather, the real danger is the underlying cause that promotes their use. We currently live in a global society that places value on disguising the truth. The better one is at disguising or distorting the truth, the more value they are given. Education has also been impacted by the euphemism pandemic. Parents are having to take it upon themselves to get tutors for their children as a result of the stagnation euphemisms promote.
It is better to appear forward thinking than actually be forward thinking. Appearing to be forward thinking means you change a name, reorder a process, or rebrand your business. Schools are doing this all the time. Schools will change curriculum expectations, enact standardized testing, or create a new schedule for the day, and claim it is all for the betterment of student learning. But how did they come to that conclusion? Was there a research study conducted? Are children's brains today so much different from children's brains of twenty years ago? Why the need to constantly reinvent the wheel?
This speaks to the underlying cause of the rise of euphemisms. Since euphemisms disguise the truth in an easier to swallow pill, they effectively protect others from public scrutiny. Moreover, they can have an effect so profound that those that deserve shame are instead showered with praise. This is an issue that has a lot of very good teachers caught with their arms in the air, shrugging with disgust. It is easier to go with the flow rather than fighting it. Many teachers find themselves fortifying themselves within their own classrooms, quietly enduring the euphemistic atmosphere, riding out their time to retirement. This is an absolute shame.
One side effect of all of this is parents having to take matters into their own hands by providing paid tutors for their children. The tutoring industry is exploding. New tutoring companies are popping up on a weekly basis. Why? The answer is simple. Students today are not getting the education they need at school. When school administrations walk around with blinders on, and fail to listen and support their teachers, the value of a public education is eroded. Is this assessment overly gloomy? Twenty years ago tutoring was rather uncommon. In the 1970's you rarely heard of a child in elementary school needing a tutor. Today it is very common to have that same elementary student seeking the help of a tutor.
It gets worse. The culture of euphemisms and their overwhelming force to cloak issues and provide protection to the negligent have also extended themselves beyond the classroom. Now, tutors are receiving the brunt of their attack. As accountability is shifted down the line, it is those at the bottom who are left to blame.
School administrators and teachers downplay the seriousness of a struggling student. Parents are overprotective of their children; they love them and naturally want to shield them from scrutiny, or have their own sense of guilt driving their actions. In turn, for those who can afford it, extra help is hired, oftentimes in the form of a tutor. And the tutor is left to solve it all.
Recipe for disaster? Absolutely!
We find ourselves in a paradox. The need for a tutor has arisen as a result of down-playing learning issues. Tutoring will only be effective when a student and their parents accept the issues for what they are without down-playing them. When the euphemistic ideal is further employed it makes it impossible for a tutor to help a student. In the end, no one can force someone to learn. The student has to be vested, interested, and accountable for their learning.
Forget about the school system. Trying to revamp the juggernaut of the school system is impossible. There needs to be an ideological change in perspective starting at home, then maybe, that change can permeate through our school institutions.
This is what needs to happen at home:
1. Parents need to get better at reading between the lines. Put your anti-euphemistic glasses on and uncover the truth about your children's learning obstacles.
2. Demand from your children accountability. Stop being overprotective of them. You are not helping them.
3. Stop the blame game. It is no one's fault your children are struggling at school. Maybe it is someone's fault, but that type of thinking does not serve you or your child. If you are blessed with the ability to hire a tutor, work with them. You and your tutor are on the same team. Tutoring is like starting a relationship with kids involved. Never let your child see you undermine their tutor. If you do, the tutor loses all of their credibility and this will make it impossible to help your child.
4. Don't expect miracles overnight. Give the tutor time to work with your child. Allow them to build rapport and get past the obstacles. It is alright if there is some "growing pains" as the two of them come to understand their learning and teaching styles. You are not looking for a soul mate for your child. Learning how to communicate with others is a vital part of preparing for life as an adult. Don't steel that opportunity from them.
5. Last but certainly not least, get help before the "brink-of-no-return." Tutoring is far more effective when it is proactive rather than reactive. When stress or a lack of confidence is involved the problems are intensified making tutoring all the more difficult.
There is no denying parents have a difficult task in today's euphemistic culture. Things are not going to improve until someone stands up and demands change. The best way to accomplish this change is to accept the burden and make changes at the home level. In time, perhaps we can transcend the need to candy-coat reality and seek a more altruistic vision of the world. Until that day happens, as parents, we owe it to our children to prepare them for the challenges ahead.