Barriers to learning

By: Courtney Harrington

Just because a student has to learn in a different way than you, does not classify them as special or different. Photo courtesy of Kristen Hegel

            When it comes to high school, it is easy to become a victim of discrimination. Most people have heard of the saying, “we all fight our separate battles.” With that statement being true, we should try our best to be kind and caring towards our fellow classmates around us. What you may be struggling with could be completely different than what another student is going through. However, we are all in need of acceptance.

            In Teacher Cadet, we are doing a unit on barriers to learning and it got me thinking aboutFortMillHigh School. Without realizing it, we are all surrounded by peers who struggle with daily barriers such as being a different race or having English as a second language. I cannot imagine what it has been like for students who have such a variety of different barriers when it comes to adapting to their current environment. Having such a disability puts these students up on a pedestal for others to potentially tease, making them feel bad about who themselves.  

             I, like many, deal with a barrier to learning every day. I have a visual handicap. I wear contacts everyday just so I do not get a headache from having to strain my eyes to see what is written on the board. I know many students at Fort Mill wear glasses or contacts. Do you tease them for it? If you do, you should not. Some barriers are more extreme than others, but each barrier does not change who a person is. A victim of a barrier to learning is just as bright as you and I are; they might just have to work at things in a different perspective.

            On the other side of things, there are some students who unfortunately have to deal with more severe barriers such as trichotillomania: an obsessive-compulsive disorder that causes a person to pull his/her hair out when anxious. I have a friend who suffers from this disorder, and she is such an amazing and intelligent girl. I wish people would not stoop so low as to tease people on things such as a hair disorder. When I was younger, I did not wear contacts, I wore glasses. Kids would always call me four-eyed, and it truly hurt my feelings. 

            Even if you are unaware of the fact, each of you probably has a student in each of your classes that deals with a barrier to learning. Can you tell? Most likely it is hard to tell. Just because a student has to learn in a different way than you, does not classify them as special or different. I will proudly say that I am one of many that have a barrier to learning, but that does not change who I am. I am Courtney Harrington, and I’m just like you.


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