Yes, the Porter Process really works.
Have a look at these are true stories of how the Porter Process has changed children and parent’s lives life for the better.
Names have been changed, outcomes haven’t!
Joanne and her daughter
Joanne was desperate. She was sobbing into the phone. As she calmed down she was able to tell me about her problem.
Her two daughters went to the same traditionally structured school. As in most schools of this type they were given plenty of homework and expected to finish it on time.
This wasn’t an issue for her twelve-year-old daughter, she was motivated and organized and able to put in the work required. But her nine-year-old was having problems. Joanne knew that she was bright and couldn’t understand why she struggled to get her homework finished.
It was the same every night. Joanne would come home from work, cook a meal and then try to help her youngest daughter do her work.
She told me she was regularly spending three hours a night working with her youngest daughter. Her oldest daughter was having to manage without her help, she was exhausted, family life was a mess.
As she said “I can’t go on doing this!”
Joanne had heard me speak to parents at the school so knew how to contact me and lived locally. I was able to visit the home and work through the process one-on-one.
First we set learning goals. This wasn’t easy as Joanne wanted to see many things change. She wanted her daughter to get better grades, have a better attitude to learning, do her homework on her own, remember her assignments, the list went on. Eventually we all agreed that the main goal was to set up a system for getting homework done.
An assessment of her daughter’s learning strengths and weaknesses showed that she was indeed a bright learner but she lacked skills of planning and organization.
We decided that Joanne would spend half an hour each night with her daughter helping her plan her homework assignments, checking that she had all she needed to do the work, creating a check list of tasks for the evening and then letting her get on with her work.
Joanne found this system much harder to follow than her daughter did! She agreed that it was a good plan but she was concerned that her daughter would not follow it. I had a hard time persuading her that her daughter was responsible enough to follow through with the plan even though the skills assessment had shown she had this skill.
In less than a week Joanne called me to say that now homework help takes only ten minutes and she has her life back.
Recently we met in the street and she told me her daughter was doing great, had been accepted into the college of her choice and was looking forward to a bright future.
Margaret and her son
Margaret contacted me because her son was about to be thrown out of kindergarten! She had no idea what to do.
There had to be something very wrong if a child is going to be expelled from kindergarten!
He was a big boy and could be seen as rather intimidating but that was not the issue. He didn’t follow instructions, behaved badly and constantly bothered the other kids. Margaret was tired of being called to take him home.
She didn’t understand the problem. At home he was happy, compliant and fun to have around. What was going wrong in school?
The learning goal was easy – to discover why her son behaved so badly in class.
An assessment of his learning skills pinpointed the problem immediately. Her son had problems with language. He had mastered the simple language used at home but was struggling to understand the ‘school language’ used by his teacher. He just didn’t understand what she was asking him to do. The reason he bothered the other kids was because he was trying to work out what they were doing so he could do the same. He was trying to gather information not annoy anyone.
I explained to Margaret that there are many kinds and uses of ‘language’ – for instance I struggle to understand what technicians tell me to do when I need to fix my computer. It was the same with her son. He understood the ‘home’ language but not the way his teacher used words. As a result, he was often badly behaved because he did not understand what he had to do. The poor kid had no idea why he was in trouble so often.
His mother started using ‘School talk’ at home. Each time she made sure that he understood what she was saying. His teacher started to check that he had understood what he had to do in class before sending him off to do it. When he did misbehave – no child is perfect! – the teacher took time to explain in simple words what he had done wrong and what he could have done instead.
The result? No more calls to pick him up for bad behaviour, more learning in class, both a happier child and a happier family.
Stephen and his parents
Stephen was in the next to last year of high school in the states. He was working hard and doing reasonably well but was not on track for getting the grades he needed to get into college. His parents were worried about his future.
It appeared that the learning goal was to help Steven improve his grades so he could get into a good college. This was far too unspecific to help me plan q course of action. I needed more information.
After talking to both parents and to Steven I learned that the school he attended had a great reputation, was a traditionally structured school with high expectations of all the students, used carefully constructed curricula and pushed kids hard. Nothing wrong with that if you child is a Word, Self and Number Smart leaner!
But an assessment of Stephen’s learning showed that he was a People, Picture and Music Smart learner. He had been struggling to fit into a school system that, although good, was not right for him. He was bright so he had been able to manage for many years but now things were catching up with him.
Fortunately, his parents understood his dilemma and, with Stephen, made the big decision to change schools. He started attending a less prestigious but more open school nearby.
A year later his mother sent me a message to let me know that Stephen had been awarded a scholarship to one of the most prestigious colleges in the country! She told me that this would not have happened without my advice.
Joah and his mother
Joah ( age 10) and his mother live in Sweden. Sweden has a different approach to education from most western countries. School starts when kids at seven and time in class is limited. Students get lots of work to do at home.
Joah’s mother contacted me because Joah was not getting his homework finished and was getting low grades as a result. His teacher said that he hardly ever completed his work in class and that punishments and rewards had no effect.
After a long talk it turned out that the goal his parents wanted to reach first was to get him to get ready for school on time and with little fuss. Getting Joah to school was causing so much friction that they felt they needed to get this sorted out before they did anything else!
The learning assessment showed what parents already knew – Joah was bright and had many learning skills. However, there was on skill that he was not using even though he had developed it.
He did not want to take responsibility for his actions. He was an only child and wanted to stay a child, dependent on others for support.
Once we understood the cause of Joah’s behaviour we could devise a plan of action. Creating the plan was easy, putting it onto place was harder – at first!
The plan was to tell Joah about when the car would be leaving for school and to warn him again five minutes before that time. Nothing else. No more reminders. No nagging. No anger.
But, his mother said, what if he isn’t ready? What do I do then?
My reply was – you do what you said you would do – you drive the car to school. If Joah isn’t in the car that is his problem. He either has to miss school or walk there by himself!
Both mother and father were nervous about doing this but they agreed to try to do it.
It only took two days! Joah’s mother called me to say that not only was he always ready on time he was eager to let her know when she was late!
Joah had the skill of responsibility but was not willing to use it until he had to. Without any extra support Joah’s school work started to improve. He had tasted the power that comes from being responsible and wanted to get that feeling from school.
OK, so this was a pretty immediate change for the better. Not all changes happen that quickly but it does show you the power of the process.
One last case study – not so positive this time.
Occasionally, very occasionally, I come across a child who I cannot help. Here is the story of one such child.
John and his mother.
John’s mother was very worried about her son’s progress in school. He went to a private school yet she didn’t think that the school was doing enough to help her son. She wanted to know what kind of extra support her son needed. She wanted to know why her son was struggling to learn. She wanted to find a school that could give John all the help in the world.
That is what she told me.
I discovered that John was a bright eleven-year-old with a somewhat weary attitude to life. I couldn’t work out why he was struggling to learn. In fact, he told me that he wasn’t having trouble with school work but that his busy mother (a real estate agent) liked to think that he was special and that he had a learning disability.
It became obvious that John didn’t have a problem – John’s mother did!
Despite me telling her that John was doing fine and that all would be well she insisted that he had learning issues and that she was going to send him to the local private learning institute.
John and I talked about this. He accepted that his mother needed him to be ‘special’ in some way so he might s well agree to go to this new school. I accepted that there was nothing I could do to help him except make sure he knew he was bright and did not have s learning issue.
Failure feels bad. I wonder how many other kids are unhappy because their parents need them to have a special designation, something they can talk to their friends about?
As you can see from the above case studies the Porter Process can be used for a whole load of learning and behavioural issues.
Why can this process be used that way?
Because it is based on five main principles –
- Parents know their children better than anyone else and can provide a ‘real life’ description of their child’s issues rather than the school based approach adopted by others.
- Suggested strategies are target at specific learning goals rather than general learning outcomes. This allows for a laser sharp focus on the issue and its solution.
- The suggested strategies get to the cause of any learning issue, not just the symptoms
- Strategies are based on the skills parents already have rather than asking them to learn new skills.
- A happy family life is the key to success!
The process in a nutshell-
- Set learning goals
You know what you want your child to achieve. Together we plan specific, achievable learning goals and measure progress toward them.
- Discover how your child learns
No more guessing! My unique, simple to use, on line diagnostic assessments allow me to discover your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses so we know the cause of the learning issue
- Provide strategies that make a difference
You discover exactly how to make a difference in your child’s learning life. By using practical, proven strategies tailored to your child’s specific needs you can see changes often in as little as fourteen days!
Could The Porter Process make a difference in your child’s life?
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