Brentwood’s Learning Centre: The Students’ Perspective

Sunday, November 24, 2019 - By: Alice H, Allard ‘21 & Deklon S, Privett ‘20; Photo by Holly B

The following is the text of a speech made at Assembly last week by Alice H, Allard ‘21 & Deklon S, Privett ‘20.

Hey Brentwood! I’m Alice and I’m Deklon, and we’re here to talk about the Learning Centre program, and how it has helped us.

Alice: In 7th grade, I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is an identified learning exceptionality which means I learn differently. I have neurodiverse brain structure. This means I struggle with organization, task initiation, attention and focus. This was really hard for me at first because I thought I was dumb, and I was scared to advocate for myself. Once I was able to get support with these things, I was able to show my learning as well as anyone. It’s important that you understand that learning exceptionalities have nothing to do with a person’s level of intelligence.

Deklon: In 2016, I was the victim of a life-changing accident during a hockey game. This trauma changed the way my brain works and thinks. As a result, my ability to show my learning was changed. The definition of a learning challenge is people that have normal or even above average intelligence but they can struggle to show what they know. This is when I was introduced to the learning centre and this is how it has helped me throughout my time at Brentwood.

How do the LC teachers help us?

Deklon: They advocate for us, teach us to advocate for ourselves, & support us to stay on track.

Alice: They also help us with Study Skills, content area help, and prepare us for life. I will struggle with Executive Functioning for the rest of my life, and I now know how to work with it in my post-secondary education and beyond.

What do other students need to know about our experiences?

Deklon: It’s important for us to use our accommodations as they are recommended by a Psychologist to help our learning so we should use them. Separate Setting is important for us and we always have the option to use it. We did not choose to have learning exceptionalities and we need to work hard to overcome them. Adapting for things can be really important to us. We need to tell our teacher what works best for us so that they can help build specific recipe that suits our learning best.

Alice: Our teachers help us by communicating with  the LC to keep us on track. We want you to know that our learning exceptionalities apply to our whole lives. While our struggles may seem very apparent in the classroom, they also affect us in athletics, arts, and social situations. Outside of the LC, we worry that students think we use this to get out of things but we have to work hard to earn our grades. Because of the way our brains work, we have to work harder than others to get good marks.

What skills do we learn in our Learning Centre class?

Deklon:
Feeling more confident to speak up for what will help our learning with our teachers. I feel more confident contributing in class. Prioritizing the tasks I need help with for the LC. There are many teachers in the LC that all have their own skill set that can help us.

Alice: The LC is a community and it’s very welcoming. I get to know that students from many different grades and get to mentor them as well.

How do you feel supported with your learning by your teachers?

Deklon: The LC teachers mentor me in how to speak to my classroom teachers with confidence. We know that the LC teachers are always there for us and we feel supported.

Alice: The LC teachers really hold us to high expectations. They push us to do our absolute best and make sure that we have the resources to do so.

Everyone should know that the Learning Centre is open to any student in the school during Arts afternoon blocks and also during prep on Wednesday and Thursday night, so if you need help with supervision or organization, any of you can go there.

Thank you! Alice H, Allard ‘21 & Deklon S, Privett ‘20.

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