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I think it would be a waste of resources to have a psychologist on staff just to deal with the uninterested students. As teachers we need to be able to build relationships with these students and try to help them become interested in school. As others have mentioned so much of what causes a student to lose interest is outside of our control as teachers and school districts. We can however control how we respond to these students and their needs.
I would reemphasize post #3 and add to it the second paragraph of post #6. For many disinterested students, the root causes are situations beyond the classroom. The most effective and cost-efficient method of addressing those needs would be enabling caring and committed educators to build deep relationships with students.
Once the relationship is established, then the teacher can begin exploring methods to support students from dysfunctional families, students who are hungry or tired or scared, students who are acting out the effects of lifestyles beyond their control. I just finished trying to work with a disinterested student whose parents are, at long last, going through with their very messy divorce. The best work he did for me all year was the analysis of how the court system handles custody battles.
I wholly agree with post #4. The best kind of help these students can get is going to come from someone who builds a relationship with them, which is more than likely going to be the classroom teacher. I also love the idea of teachers training teachers. Unfortunately, though this is a great theory (and even boasted of in many districts) I have not seen it executed as well as it could be. When I was a new teacher, I would have loved more direct support from my collegues. Now that I would consider myself more seasoned, it would continue to challenge me and sharpen me to be training others.
As for the disinterested students, I think it would be easier to catch and support those who are "falling through the cracks" if class size was dramatically reduced. In my opinion, interest in school stems from relationships. Those that are positive and healthy (whether teacher to student, student to student, or even coach/administrator to student) will foster a greater desire to achieve.
Schools need to spend their money providing teachers opportunities to attend professional development sessions on this topic. There may be a lot of information a psychologist could provide about strategies to help classroom teachers with these types of students, and the cost of these types of seminars is usually very reasonable.
Oh, no,and no. What school districts need to do is to use their money better and wisely in order to train teachers who already excel in the classroom, raise their salaries, make them master trainers, and send them out to the schools all over the city to mentor the teachers who are weak.
Teachers take plenty of courses in human development and have experience in the classroom. Psychologists know about human development but may not know a thing about teaching. Therefore, we must use our already-available resources and use them better. Nobody but a teacher knows what a student needs. It is time to take the best teachers and give them more credit and leadership to show everyone how it's done!
In addition to the drain on, what is for many schools, limited resources, there is another problem to consider. Many of the "disinterested" are manifesting other issues. This could be poverty, abuse, addictions, and etc. Many of these things cannot be fixed by or at school, and so the "school" psychologist would find himself or herself needing to address family issues outside the school's jurisdiction.
I don't think that this would be a good use of resources, at least depending on the size of the schools that you are talking about.
If every elementary school with, say, 300 students had to have a psychologist on hand solely for pushing uninterested students (as opposed to providing other forms of counseling as well), it would be a lot of money for relatively little benefit. There are probably not enough uninterested students to fill such a person's time. So perhaps you could consider requiring one such psychologist for each 1,000 students (or some such number) in a district.
My other reason for saying this is that I do not believe that a psychologist can "cure" most students of being uninterested in school. I would argue that this is not some sort of psychological disorder. Lack of interest often comes from other things such as parental influence or the student's interest in some job that has little to do with what he or she is learning in high school, for example.
So I don't think this is a good idea.
A students performance is the result of a family-school-student-peer tetrad.
I would use the psychologist (I am one) to work with the parents and teachers, in my experience these are the root causes of poor behaviour and motivation. Fee paying and faith schools tend to have committed parents that will support and challange staff and usually motivated students. This has no scientific basis but my observations.
primary (1st grade) teachers will tell you that they can spot the poor performers early on-and moreso when they meet the parents-maybe true but can also result in stigmatizing.
Its a complex problem that does not have a simple solution
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