Why Can't I Help this Child to Learn ? Understanding Emotional Barriers to Learning


The book outlines theories of child development from the point of view of the kinds of relationships children make with adults and the effects of their relationships on their learning. In addition, anxieties that some children show about reading, writing and arithmetic are described. In exploring these issues the book draws on Attachment Theory and on Psychoanalytic theories of emotional development. It includes detailed case studies to illustrate ways in which children's learning can be hindered by their difficulties in relating to teachers and the feelings and fantasies that some children have about words and letters. There has been recent political concern that children should all learn to read in their early years at school and extra help should be offered to those who are falling behind. The expectation in political circles seems to be, however, that straightforward extra help with reading will be sufficient, in all cases, to enable a child who has fallen behind to catch up. There has been no general recognition of the need to address underlying emotional problems in some cases, such as those described in this book.

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