Friday, September 29, 2006

Johnny's not learning, the lazy little bugger

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."
- Sam Ewing, US writer and quipster

I never call anyone lazy. My parents were told that I was lazy many times by teachers through my elementary and secondary school years.

By the time I got to college, my teachers thought I was a brilliant student who did a great deal of work to prepare for classes that went well because of my participation. (I didn't, they misled themselves as well my earlier teachers had.)

The difference? By the age I was in college, my brain had finally developed enough that I could keep up with the progress of my classes. Before that, it was not developed enough for me to be able to read, let alone think quickly or be able to readily understand what was being taught.

I would often be able to pay close attention to the lesson being taught in school, taking it all in until I reached my level of maximum intake. Everything was a blur after that. I was not a discipline problem, though I had no trouble understanding how others could be if they were experiencing what I was. I was quiet because I didn't want to be noticed.

The reasons for my slower than normal development are not important to this discussion, but they had to do with my isolation from other children as a young child, resulting in an extreme lack of social skills. Children with underdeveloped or maldeveloped social skills tend to be poorer readers, among their many other problems.

If you are a parent, a teacher or a relative of a child that doesn't seem to be keeping up with the rest of his age mates, perhaps that child's brain is developing slower than the norm. Or perhaps that child is socially underdeveloped, not up with the norms of his peers.

Should the child be held back a year or two in school to help put him in synch socially with other children at his social level? Or should he be advanced with his age peers, leaving him permanently less developed socially than his classmates throughout his school career, until he quits school early? These have been the two traditional solutions teachers and parents have been offered.

Both suck, believe me. I have been in both situations.

Schools are not set up, by curriculum, to teach social skills. Yet ask many high school teachers or vice principals what their worst student troubles are and they will often reply social problems.

Schools are the main places where children gather each day. If all teaching is individual (as all learning must be individual), then school does nothing to improve the social development of a child.

Some teachers devise learning situations whereby social interaction among students is necessary for the completion of the task. When the task is new to everyone, that puts most (if not all) children on a level playing field with their mates. Social learning occurs in tandem with intellectual (cognitive) learning when children discover, together, ways to solve problems.

No child is born lazy. Some adults are lazy. Now you may be able to see a connection you did not before. Lazy adults tend to be social misfits or outcasts.

Please connect the dots. Take your time, someone's future may depend on it.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to make schools a bit more equal for the social misfits befor they become lazy adult "failures."
Learn more at


jade_opal_gem said...

been reading your blog regularly, as one of life's constant apprentice,i am forever discovering that,life is not complicated, it is we who complicate life....keep it simple, work hard, take time to see, hear, smell, and most of all feel what is around us....great blog..

Bill Allin said...

Thank you kindly, JOG.
I post the same articles daily on, where very interesting and informative discussions follow each.
If you want to read other comments that follow from the same blog entries you have been reading here, you can find them at

jade_opal_gem said...

thanks, will do just that....jog