News story that gave me pause: Speech differences in the classroom

A series of articles have appeared in the New York Times about a 16-year-old community college student who stutters and was actually asked by a professor to stop talking in class because it was disruptive.  Now, after I wipe my jaw off the floor… I still can’t wrap my brain around this one.  As a professor, one would hope she had taken enough teaching and pedagogy classes to realize that this request was ridiculous? And that she now has the audacity to attempt to defend her position simply astounds me.  I think I would have been less surprised had she simply denied the whole thing!

I must say that I was lucky enough to never experience such discrimination in the classroom (I was almost always the person with the right answer getting called on!), and I can’t imagine having to deal with it and the media surrounding it at such a young age.  I was kind of the opposite, in fact… needing to be called on constantly to validate my entire existence in the classroom space.  I learned at a young age that the classroom was an area where I excelled, and was determined to succeed in it.

Luckily it seems like the student has moved on and hopefully the professor will be dealt with (and given a heck of a lot of sensitivity training) but I wonder how often this happens in classrooms everywhere and isn’t reported?  I know I was lucky to attend schools that offered top educational experiences and (mostly) very good, understanding teachers.  But everyone isn’t that lucky.  And that gives me pause to reflect and hope that what happened to this boy in New Jersey doesn’t happen to anyone else…

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