300,000 16 yr olds about to be told in the UK that they are not as clever as the rest!
300,000 16yr olds about to be told in the UK that they are cleverer than the rest!
300,000 16yr olds about to be told in the UK that they are better than the rest!
But what if the books they had read and the examinations they took were actually accessible to them?
- Font size,
- Character spacing,
- Background colour,
Would things be different if the text was readable? With computer screens we could find out.
In the UK we are about to send around 600,000 of our 16 year olds into their examinations. About 300,000 will find those examinations a little too difficult to get high enough grades to send them to the next level of education.
A large proportion of these will simply be reading the questions too slowly to be able to make sense of them well enough to answer them properly.
If you read the other pages of the blog, this will come as no surprise.
The slow readers will, over their time in school have learnt to know ‘their place’. They will have been placed in lower sets.
- Been told they are lazier
- Should try harder
- Should pay more attention
- Write more neatly
- Write more
- Read more.
Many will have been so often told off or punished for the difficulties they have experienced that they will have accepted that they not really very clever, not really very intelligent and that they do not really deserve to do very well.
Many will have become so alienated that they are regarded as troublemakers and have been excluded from their schools on several occasions. Some of the slowest readers will not even be taking the examinations. It has all gone wrong!
Our prisons will fill with many of these slow readers. The faster readers will treat them as a burden on society. They will often end upon benefits and in our society they will be blamed for most things.
Sadly, they will die sooner than the fast readers, having had less control of their lives. They will cost our health service more than the fast readers.
Of course the fast readers, who run the show, will make sure that they are ‘helped’. They will be expected to fill in forms to claim their benefits. Be expected to read the small print and of course have to ask for help to claim.
They will be sent official letters to explain their rights and responsibilities, but be confused by the forms, finding them too hard to read and make sense of. So perhaps they will find someone to read them for them.
Through life they will become more and more dependent on the fast readers. Not only will they have been told their place but their experience will tell them again and again.
Of course some of them will have got support in school. Their abilities recognised despite their slow reading. If they were lucky they would probably been diagnosed as dyslexic or even Dyspraxic. They would have had supportive intervention. They will still read as slowly but they will get more time, have probably been told that they are gifted, not stupid.
This is more likely to happen when the parents are fast readers and expect their children to achieve at high levels.
If the parents were slow readers, then they are more likely to ‘know their place’ accept………Often ‘take some of the blame’ rather than look for a biological explanation.
What a waste! How can we become a really inclusive society if this institutionalised self perpetuating is just allowed to continue?
I see what happens if you enable people to read more effectively. They blossom and realise they are as good and valuable as anybody, but underneath, they knew it really already, but found it hard to prove.
With computer screen technology it can now be done. It was not possible when I was young.