However learning disabilities are defined, it becomes clear in reviewing student files that core areas of Literacy and Numeracy can become systematically weakened as a result of lack of effort, understanding or poor focus. In such cases, the gap between where students are in terms of normal grade/age functioning and their actual functioning level can widen to the point where the student is effectively disabled.
Given that junior schools now have adopted a no failure philosophy, many students see no downside in not putting forward effort in school and are not doing homework. The majority of males now entering high schools are being placed into programs that preclude admission to university programs and many of the more competitive college programs. The result of this is that the majority of students entering universities are now female. Given that many boys feel that school is a waste of time and serves no purpose, the less work and effort that they can put into school the smarter they perceive themselves to be. As they perceive no connection with what they are doing in the present and what they can do in the future, there is no downside in programs that involve less or no homework and little if any effort. They are able to reassure themselves of their intelligence by playing video games and working the system. As the vast majority of schools no longer accept competition as an acceptable component within academics, it comes as a shock to many students when they are forced to confront the reality of the stiff competition for postsecondary programs.
- Daily exercise
- Regular fitness testing
- Mandatory physical education lessons
- Structured physical training sessions
- Fitness programmes
- Daily hygiene checks
- Balanced healthy diet
- Minimum eight hours sleep
Several studies have indicated that an increase in physical activity and fitness may improve academic performance.
Robert Land Academy’s program is filled with opportunities to be physically active. Students are actively encouraged to improve their fitness, we often see an improved attention span, improved grades and a healthier attitude towards their education.
- Encouraging positive relationships with family and friends
- Regular video calls to family
- Structure and regular daily routines
- Psychological assessment on arrival
- Access to a registered psychotherapist
- Regular meetings with the on-campus nurses
- Counselling and coaching
If there is one thing that the last years of dealing with the covid pandemic and its attack upon our physical health has taught us, it is the importance of mental health. Nowhere has this been more apparently obvious than in the growing disengagement from school both socially, emotionally, and intellectually by significant numbers of boys. Remote learning has taken its toll and continues to do so not merely in terms of its immediate impact but also in terms of the downward spiral that it has initiated with longstanding implications.
But whereas, covid may have brought these problems into focus, covid has not created these problems as much as it has exacerbated pre-existing ones.
The emotional well-being of students provides the essential foundation for their successful education. Intellectual understanding as well as the absorption of knowledge is very much determined by the emotional engagement or disengagement in those processes. The interplay between intellect and emotion determines both functionality as well as dysfunctionality.
The last decades have seen an ever-growing problem of boys disengaging from school. This is reflected by the growing number of boys in special and modified academic programs, requiring behavioral intervention and being diagnosed with learning deficiencies. In all of these areas they are reflected in a grossly disproportionate manner as compared with girls. Significant also are the growing statistics of boys not completing high school and the seemingly ever decreasing number of boys entering university as opposed to girls. Approaching these issues from the point of addressing learning from an intellectual point of view is far from adequate.
Clearly what is needed is emotional support not in the form of guaranteeing success or eliminating competition, but rather in building the confidence to take on challenges. In environments in which boys find no validation, self-invalidation is sure to follow along with other issues such as disengagement, depression, and anxiety disorders.
Encouraging and empowering young men to take on problems
involves developing the resilience to tackle challenges through encouragement and counselling. The abilities to self-regulate and reflectively assess actions relative to their desired results and readjust accordingly are essential life skills. The equating of school performance with actual ability can be a poor measure of any student. However, many boys end up believing that they are what they see on their report card. A sense of hopelessness is easy to develop and become the self-limiting measure of one’s own worth.
The program at Robert Land Academy has long understood the importance of social emotional learning and has provided a program intended to provide recognition and validation within an environment that publicly recognizes both effort and achievement while developing the confidence needed to tackle and to overcome challenges. While addressing the fundamental building blocks of diet, exercise, and sleep as well as the need to constructively interact directly with their peers, boys are encouraged to develop a positive attitude towards others, themselves, and their future.
Here’s what the parent of a former student had to say about our ADHD school program.
Robert Land Academy
provides a highly structured motivating program that helps boys to focus their energies and abilities in a constructive self-affirming manner free from the numerous distractions that so often confuse and distract them.
The program has demonstrated success for over 40 years and produced a proven track record of responding to the needs of boys as they navigate through the turbulence of adolescence. Though supportive of the needs of all boys, it has also shown itself to be highly effective in dealing with those diagnosed with some learning and behavioral disabilities including ADHD.
The Robert Land Academy program encourages the growth of self- confidence, self-regulation and self-determination. By regaining control of themselves, they are better able to identify and pursue goals and realize ambitions as they approach graduation and the prospect of adulthood.