It turns out that the simple act of asking a kid that’s acting up in school what’s wrong solves a lot of problems. I’ve been saying this for a long time to whoever will listen. Which is pretty much no one. Oh, the irony! Or something.
Too many kids have adult problems. Educators in particular, but society in general, owes it to the kids to try to help them solve those adult problems. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Listening to the kids is a great intermediary step. The sheer act of a kid being able to speak about her problems can do wonders for her ability to at least cope with the problems. It is far from a perfect solution, but it costs little time and no extra money. All it takes is a person of authority to be able to listen. Sadly, they are in short supply.
If I had my way and schools were financed the way they should, I’d have psychologists in every school. One per thirty students or so. All students would be required to visit the psychologist once a month. Disciplinary problems would be handled much like described in the linked article above.
I think this approach would do wonders to our educational system. For most troubled kids, it’s not that they are unable to learn, it’s that they’re incapable of learning because of outside stresses.
Listen and they will learn.