Answer: First, you have to find out how serious this situation really is. Could it just be anxiety about returning to school? Or is it in any way a threatening situation? If it appears that he is depressed, he may require help from a mental health professional. Listen very carefully to what your son says about how he is being bullied. As you know, bullying is a big problem, with close to three-quarters of all children having been bullied. Your son needs to learn how to respond to verbal bullying. Should the bullying become physical or escalate to threats of violence, school personnel must be brought into the situation at once.
Sometimes the response children make toward verbal abuse causes the bullies satisfaction and so the bullying continues. There are books that will give your son ideas about how to deflect bullying. A good choice is “Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain.” Advise your son that this is a new school year and he might no longer be a target of the bullies. If he still is, you can advise him to ignore the bullying, have a snappy rejoinder that will make everyone laugh, stay with his friends or simply avoid being around the bullies, if possible. Hopefully he has friends who will support him. This can really help. If your son continues to be upset about the bullying, the school must be advised of the bullying so it can be stopped. If he is reluctant to do this, you must contact the school.
Question: Any high-school teacher or college professor can tell you that handwriting is becoming a lost art. More than this, children may not be receiving the handwriting instruction they need to develop critical literacy skills.
As discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article, research shows the act of writing by hand is an important building block for learning. The neurological process that directs thought, through fingers, into written symbols is highly sophisticated. Several academic studies have found that good handwriting skills at a young age can help children express their thoughts better — a lifelong benefit.
The art of handwriting teaches us to control our hands and encourages hand-eye coordination. In addition, writing by hand obliges us to compose the phrase mentally before writing it down. This develops critical-thinking skills, according to handwriting expert Dr. Steve Graham. — An Advocate for Handwriting
Answer: So many elementary-school teachers believe that learning to write cursive is now a waste of time since children are using the computer at such an early age. It is good to hear about the benefits of learning to handwrite. It would be interesting to hear about the benefits of students doing all their writing on the computer.
— Send questions to Dear Teacher, in care of Ohio Valley Parent, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.