Learning Difficulty: LakeField Boss Canvasses Teacher Empowerment Programmes

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By Funmi Ogundare

The Head of School, Lakefield Schools, Badore, Lagos, Mrs.Kemi Hamilton has stressed the need for schools to expose their teachers to training programmes that would enable them identify children with learning difficulties in their care, noting that such move will bring about a solution that would help them through it.

Hamilton who spoke recently, during a media parley in Lagos, expressed concern that most teachers tend to write-off such children too quickly because they are not trained to identify their challenges.

According to her, “In education, every child matters, how do you help a child to attain the level of success? In our school, we don’t write-off children, because we believe that every child can learn and every child matters.”

She said every school either public or private must make it mandatory for their teachers to go through training so that they can identify children with such challenges, adding, “once the teacher who is a professional is able to identify that and tell their parents, the solution is very close.”

She said the school’s closure due to Covid-19 pandemic, had made most pupils to struggle academically, and that all a teacher needs to do, is to continue to refresh their learning through project assignments on what they had done in the class previously with a lit bit of patience for the first one or two weeks of resumption.

The effort, the head of school noted, will make even slow learners to pick up quickly.

Hamilton who had worked in a bank for almost 22 years, said she found herself in the teaching profession because of the passion she had for the job and also find a lasting solution for her second child who was dyslexic.

“The moment I started having my children, I asked myself, how can I be part of their learning? People establish schools for profit and you still have some set up because of their passion. I can work on this business for years without being paid and my passion and drive will not reduce. I have helped schools restructure and I know that they can’t pay my bills, but because of that passion, every child matters to me. So for me it is not about the money.

“When I enrolled my second child in a school, I kept getting complaints from the school that he could not spell, that he is lazy. If you say so as a teacher, that means, you are being mean. You should look at other areas and find out why the child is not learning. Fortunately for me then, I worked in a school which had international standard.

“So what I did was that when teachers go on training, I also pay for the training so that I can help my child. In the process of helping him, I kept getting emotionally deeper into the business of teaching . I then realised that my child was not learning because he was dyslexia , but the teachers never knew and they kept stressing him. I have come to understand that every child can learn whether they are struggling or not.

“If you tell me that a five years old boy is writing 9 as P, as a professional, you should check out why that is happening. At a point, I was going to unschool him because I could do it. So I told his teacher to write out the words for me. I took him to South Africa for a test because he is dyslexic and we were doing the learning, spelling and reading in the house.”

The head of school stressed the need for teachers to continue to mentor, celebrate the children and let them know that they can do better.