Lesson 4: Avoiding the Tendency to Label

In the not-too-distant past, children who did not perform well in school were typically labeled as dumb, lazy, incorrigible, or defiant. Even in today’s supposedly enlightened educational venues, students are often subjected to premature, erroneous evaluations; and they are either labeled or disciplined in ways that reinforce those evaluations.

Those children who are fast learners are labeled as bright. Slow learners or those with learning disabilities are labeled as “stupid” or “dull”; and, if they have problems in relating, they are frequently branded as “uncooperative” or “defiant.” In so doing, we do great harm to children in the name of education.

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