King's Business - 1966-04

T A L K IN G IT O V E R with Dr. Clyde M . Narramore

Dr. Narramore, graduate of Columbia University, New York City, is a nationally known psychologist. He is the director of one of America's largest psychological clinics— The Christian Counseling center in Pasadena, California. SHOULD AN HONOR STUDENT, HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN, CONT INUE IN ACCELERATED PROGRAM? Q. Should a 13-year-old, high school freshman, spend ail of her time after school doing homework to keep up in an accelerated program? She is an honor class student, but works very hard. She enjoys cooking, sewing, reading and playing the piano, but since she always works four or more hours on homework there is no time left for any diversion. She has had migraine headaches for the last sev­ eral years and after the pressures of study each school year, she is about at the end of her rope. Is this ac­ celerated education good? A. No it isn’t! Occasionally we find that acceleration helps some people, but it may be very injurious to oth­ ers. Something is happening in our school system in the United States; many teachers, educators, principals, and superintendents have not thor­ oughly studied the results o f our ac­ celerated programs. I worked in one of the world’s largest educational systems fo r sixteen years as a coun­ seling psychologist and I am aware o f the problem. I have seen many children who have been hurt by ac­ celerated classes. One girl explained it this way. She said, “ Why do I have to be punished for being bright? Ever since I was in the fourth or fifth grade, they started accelerated classes. They just poured the work on us, took us out o f the regular classes where we were having some fun with friends and put us in smaller classes with the brighter ones. Then it was just dog eat dog. It was a horrible experi­ ence.” I talked with a woman not long ago who was about 40 years o f age, and she was reared in a large city where they were trying out accelera­

tion classes^ She said, “ I am certain­ ly against it; it made a wreck of me.” I think that all of us as parents, educators, teachers and psychologists need to study this problem very care­ fully because a sensitive child may develop all kinds o f problems by our pushing and shoving. A gifted child actually feels no different from an average one. He likes and needs to play. Every child should enjoy a long childhood; every teenager a nice, long adolescence. They should not be shoved into adult things too early. Occasionally there is a boy or girl who is ready and can take an accel­ erated program with a great deal of ease. An accelerated program for them can be challenging and will keep them from boredom, but I think we are doing many o f our children an injustice by pushing them too much. If migraine headaches, ner­ vous breakdowns and psychological problems are the results in our won­ derful, priceless children, this is far too great a price to pay for accelera­ tion. I believe it is time fo r parents to visit the schools and let our educa­ tors know how they feel about too much homework fo r our children. Children need some change o f pace, some time for relaxation and fun. Teachers do not realize that when they give their assignment fo r one subject, other teachers are also giv­ ing out assignments in other sub­ jects and this results in a cram study session each night. “ . . . Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness o f the flesh” (Eccles. 12: 12 ). NOT ENOUGH PROGRESS? Q. Do you have any suggestions for us on how to handle our foster child so he may grow up to be a well-ad­ justed and, happy young man? When

we took him into our home, he was three and one-half; he is now five and one-half years old. When he came to us he had a bad bed-wetting problem, which is now almost elimi­ nated. He is still very bold and brazen ar ound older people and makes funny noises when all is quiet or does other strange things to at­ tract attention. He has a fine, Chris­ tian teacher who has helped him by giving him spe c ia l attention at times. He plays well with other chil­ dren and is very alert. We read to him a lot and he retains what he hears and memorizes well, but he is sloppy with his work sheets. When he brings home a fairly neat paper, we praise him for it. We try to shower him with plenty of love and spend time with him. My husband and this boy have a good relation­ ship. A. When I received your letter I thought, “ My, how far these foster parents have already come with this boy! By the time a child reaches 3Vfe without security as was undoubted­ ly true o f your foster child, he is al­ ready setting some lifetime patterns that are in need o f correction. I think you ought to continue loving this boy and not to be too concerned about him. All you need is more time. Making funny noises when things are quiet and doing strange things in order to attract attention are his way o f finding out whether other people really care for him. He is try­ ing to develop an adequate a n d healthy self-concept wh i c h would help him throughout life. I *am glad you are able to overlook this and not scold him for it. Later, when he feels sufficiently secure that people really do love him, he will stop doing the things that are causing attention. I am sure you will have very little trouble with this boy. You have al­ ready brought him a long way.



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