Psychology and Learning Difficulties

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Anne-Elise VÉLU , Irisso, Paris Dauphine University, Paris, France
In the context of a sociological thesis conducted in France in primary schools, the focus has been on the issue of the diagnostics and devices used to help children with learning difficulties. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the role of psychological approach in the management of academic difficulties. In the attempt to understand how the family, the mother figure in particular, are blamed for the learning difficulties of their children. It will be seen that the lifestyle and educational habits of families are analysed by teams of professionals, and that when considered as deviant, they suggest help to the family. Indeed, from the professionals perspective, these learning difficulties are due to family dysfunctions, and educational deficiencies of the parents. This would damage the mental functioning of the child and lead to difficulties in their learning. In schools where children are mainly or exclusively of modest background, it seems that these psychological remediations are nearly exclusively the methods being used. Thus, children going to these schools are more likely to be diagnosed with mental illness than in a school with students from the upper-class. This psychologising tends to put the responsibility on the family or the child for his failure, while ignoring the issue of the gap between the culture of the school and the one of children from modest backgrounds. (Bourdieu, 1964, Morel, 2012) It will be demonstrated that the psychological approach used by teachers allow them to suggest reasons for the difficulties faced by children and to put in place solutions. Indeed from a psychological perspective, the parents are seen as 'actors' of the success or failure of their children. The challenge for schools is then to accompany parents to transform their habits and their way of parenting.