Sunday, February 15, 2009

Retention - Keeping Children Safe or Holding Them Back?

I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of Chip Wood's Yardsticks. Kirsten blogged about it back in November and Organized Chaos loves the book. I've been meaning to read it for quite some time now and just kept forgetting.

I gave a quick glance to the sections about five year olds (my daughter) and six year olds (my students), but I decided I needed to just start reading it. I headed back to the table of contents to acquaint myself with the book. Wood has broken the book into two sections: Developmental Issues Affecting All Children in the beginning and Major Developmental Considerations Yardsticks in the second half.

One of the issues affecting all children is retention. I've been thinking a lot about retention now that I'm teaching in the primary grades. So, instead of managing to start reading the book straight through I jumped immediately to the pages on retention. The final paragraph in this section says:
The verb "retain" can mean to hold back or to hold safe. Educators and parents should carefully examine the difference when contemplating extra time in school for the individual child.
I've been chewing on that quote for a full day now. I am now continuing in the book and enjoying it greatly. It is giving me a lot to think about.


The Science Goddess said...

I love that book! I have used it lots. Enjoy yours...and your thinking about retention.

Sarah B. B. said...

Yarsticks rocks. I hope you enjoy it. :) I've actually adapted its philosophy on retention as my own, including the belief that SOME (not all) students do benefit socially (not really academically)from retention - it's not always a dirty word.

kirsten said...

That quote makes so much sense to me -- just the idea that things are evaluated within context and not just simply a policy or automatic decision.

Katie Dicesare said...

I am so glad I visited your blog and read this post. This quote hits the same feelings I feel about the idea of retention (having given my oldest the gift of an extra year of K). I am also needing to think about this for a student but needed a resource to help. THanks!