Monday, March 24, 2008

On "The Language of 'Smart'"

Following up on my last post, I recall an incident that helps me to understand those with learning "disabilities." During my college days, a professor and his wife were attending a Sunday School class. One of the members, noting that the professor read biblical passages rather haltingly at times, asked the professor's wife if he had trouble reading. "No," she responded. "He's just translating in his head from the original Greek."

Isn't this sort of like the misunderstandings encountered by typical dyslexics, who often must process (translate) letters and words differently from others? The effort it takes to read in their own language must be akin to that of a translator. No wonder the reading is often halting and seldom smooth. But the difficulty reading doesn't say anything about the power of the intellect that lies behind the "translation."

So let's remember that fluency in reading doesn't prove intelligence in other areas any more than difficulties in reading prove deficiencies in other areas of intellect. So rather than passing judgment by one indicator, let's look for strengths in each of our students that we can encourage.

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