Avoidance is something that I'm rather familiar with and it seems I am not alone.
Now I'm not just talking about putting off cleaning the bathroom or tackling a pile of clothes "gathering" on a chair - no I'm talking about learning avoidance.
Learning avoidance or avoidance of learning is something that some children positively shine at - my own children included.
My twin boys are profoundly dyslexic and from a young age became masters of disguise. The oldest, by a huge 1 minute, is especially skilled in the technique of avoidance, which absolutely, completely and entirely relates to topics or activities that he struggles with.
During 1:1 sessions when tasked with "something" he knows will be challenging, the most poetic, charming avoidance techniques kick-in. So smooth and seamless to the untrained eye, you have no idea that you've been completely distracted and hoodwinked. Before you know it, the lesson is over, said task has been avoided and all in all a great day for a self-conscience dyslexic lad who is desperate not to be found out.
So educators and parents be mindful of these articulate, intelligent and utterly charming maestros of avoidance.
Watch out for distracting conversations, sudden interest in a non related topic that requires a hot debate, computer challenges, font changes, toilet breaks, sudden thirst, too hot, too cold, a desk that demands an immediate tidy, favourite pen that necessitates a review, interest in the weather, the neighbours cat who appears to be stuck in a tree, twitching, fidgeting and possibly fever, cough, cold or tummy ache.
These young students show amazing skill and intelligence in their subtle distractions but ultimately are masking embarrassment, fear of failure, learning challenges and/or low self-esteem.
My children are certainly not unique. Distraction and avoidance are regular activities for so many of our children who struggle with learning.
Tutors, parents and teachers... be mindful, be creative, be gentle, be inspirational and most of all don't be hood winked by the utterly charming masters of avoidance.