?

Log in

 
 
02 April 2006 @ 11:28 am
Article on twins in the classroom  
Got this link from a mom in my local MOMs group - found it to be very interesting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/24/national/24twins.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=09f69f3942e10c93&ex=1144040400

From other reading I've done, and the responses, thoughts are pretty split 50/50. Another mother mentioned that the school district where the girls would go are, for the most part, respectful of the parents' choice - that the parents know their child's learning style better than anyone in the school district.

So, have any of you even thought about this yet? At this point, I would tend to keep them together, at least in any preschool/Mother's Day Out program we would choose, but I know that I have a long way and many different personality changes to go through before a real decision can be made.
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Sarasunmoonstars75 on April 2nd, 2006 11:34 am (UTC)
posted it below
Elizabeth: babiespleiades829 on April 2nd, 2006 11:23 am (UTC)
Very interesting!

At this point, I think it's too early to tell for my girls, but I would be inclined to keep them together. I'm glad that some people have made efforts to give us the choice.
Sarasunmoonstars75 on April 2nd, 2006 11:32 am (UTC)
Here's the article:

When Kathy Dolan, a mother in Queens, sent her twin boys off to kindergarten, she had one wish: that they face the new hurdles of numbers and alphabets in the same class. With her own parents seriously ill, and her sons close to them, "the boys had enough chaos and turmoil in their life," Ms. Dolan said, "without being separated."

Her request was denied, she said, until she produced a note from the boys' pediatrician recommending that they be kept together. She faced the same resistance, though, when they entered first grade last September.

Fearful that she would continue to do battle with school administrators in the years ahead, Ms. Dolan gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition to her state senator demanding that parents of twins, triplets and even quadruplets have the freedom to decide whether their young children should be placed in the same classroom.

Parents of twins and triplets are challenging longstanding and, they say, outmoded educational practices that often require their children to be separated in classrooms, in part to foster their independence. The debate is polarizing families and school administrators across the country, and drawing the attention of lawmakers who say cases should be evaluated family by family. Advocates of parental choice point to studies in the past few years that have suggested that twins, for example, may actually benefit from being left together in their early years.

Since last year, when Minnesota became the first state to allow parents to decide how children of multiple births would be educated, similar legislation has been introduced in Illinois, where a resolution recommending that school districts take parental preference into consideration passed in the State House yesterday. Parents in Texas, Massachusetts and North Carolina have also begun working to introduce statutes. Demographics are responsible for the increased attention to the issue of how best to socialize and educate multiples. Since the introduction of in vitro fertilization in the 1980's, the number of twin births in this country has risen by nearly a third. Delayed child bearing, even without assisted reproductive technology, also increases the chance of multiple births. In 2003, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of twin births reached a record high of close to 129,000. The number of triplet births has more than doubled since 1990, with more than 7,000 in 2003.

"We're not saying we all want our kids together," explained Becky Zavala, president of Bellaire Area Mothers of Multiples, a group outside Houston. "We're just saying we want flexibility and input and options, and we don't want kids arbitrarily placed apart."

Ms. Zavala, 38, who has 3-year-old twins, is working to get the Texas Legislature to put a parental-choice bill on its docket.

Parents of twins and triplets often argue that the bond between such children is intense and thus privileged. Some believe that separation during the early years for siblings who may insist on sharing a bedroom or dressing alike poses unnecessary anxiety. Some simply maintain that their twins and triplets are happier and more confident when they are with one another rather than apart and are, consequently, abler learners and better friends to those around them.

(Anonymous) on April 2nd, 2006 11:33 am (UTC)
Many of these parents cite new research that challenges old assumptions. When Heather Beauchamp, an associate professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Potsdam, reviewed literature on twins three years ago, she found that opinions regarding the advantages of separating them were based on perception rather than data, of which there has been very little.

Since her review, two studies ? one in the Netherlands and another, a joint project of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in London and the University of Wisconsin, that compared 878 pairs of twins from ages 5 to 7 ? found that twins separated early were observed to be more anxious and emotionally distressed than those who remained in the same class.

This was especially true for identical twins, the British-American study noted. That study also found that twins separated later had lower reading scores than those kept in the same classroom.

Nancy Segal, director of the Twins Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton, has been a proponent of this new research, writing letters on behalf of parents fighting for legislation on classroom choice.

"In our culture we appreciate uniqueness," Dr. Segal said, "and people wrongly equate twin closeness with a lack of individuality." The insistence on separating twins, she added, flies in the face of what psychologists know about friendship.

"There's research that suggests that when friends are in the same class, they're more exploratory, they cling to the teacher less," she said. "So if we're worried about individuality, why do we let best friends go to school together?"

Psychologists and educators on the other side of the debate maintain that multiples can present themselves as a de facto clique, upsetting the social dynamic of a classroom. It is not uncommon, for instance, for identical twins at a young age to speak in their own private language. It is also not unusual for one twin to act as an ambassador for the pair.

"What we find a lot with twins," said Sandra Bridges, principal of Public School 234 in Manhattan, which has 10 sets of twins, "is that one is generally more verbally dominant; one will do the talking for the other."

Some see the wish of mothers and fathers to keep twins together as an extension of the trend toward parental micromanagement. "They can, in essence, be trophy children," said Bonnie Maslin, a psychologist in Manhattan. "And parents of trophy children are unusually focused on outcomes and the belief that they can control them."

"A huge part of education is not just developing individual difference but learning to be part of a group," Dr. Maslin added.

Jesse Dingle, principal of Wildwood Forest Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., said that the decision to place twins together or separately is often rooted in the need to create the right gender, racial and socioeconomic balance in a classroom, which twins may disrupt. The school has nine pairs of twins and one set of triplets among its 976 students.

One argument parents use in seeking to keep their twins or triplets together is that the trauma of premature birth, a heightened risk for multiples, and its various attendant health problems demand that parents be permitted greater say in their children's schooling.

"Mine were born very, very, young," said Dan Bailey, a father of triplets in Schaumburg, Ill. "They were in neonatal intensive care for 100 days. They've always gone to physical therapy, occupational therapy. They've had feeding issues. No one knows them better than we do."

Mr. Bailey, part of a 109-member triplets group in Schaumburg (one of 11 triplet groups in Illinois), spearheaded the move for a parental-choice bill when he was first told that he could not keep his two daughters and a son in the same class.

That Illinois bill was defeated in its original form, in part, because various factions said it would leave parents of multiples with greater rights than others. When Representative Paul Froelich, who supported it, modified his proposal so that it merely advised schools to take the wishes of parents into account, the Illinois Association of School Boards agreed not to fight it, Mr. Froelich said.
Sarasunmoonstars75 on April 2nd, 2006 11:34 am (UTC)
Rather than submit to school mandates, some parents in extreme cases, have pursued educational alternatives. After variously winning and losing the struggle to keep her identical twins, now 14, together from 5 to 10, Catherine Musick, of Williamstown, N.J., finally decided to home school them. She recalls that after a successful year in the same third-grade class, the boys were separated in the fourth. One son, Ryan, did well academically, she said, while the other, Timothy, floundered.

"Timothy started biting his knuckles until they bled," Ms. Musick said. "Ryan felt terrible for his brother. Timothy watched his brother stay with their third-grade teacher and excel while he suffered."

In some instances, especially with triplets or quadruplets, parents concede that keeping children together simply eases the pressures of maintaining a reasonably organized household. The mother of 7-year-old quadruplet girls, Gabriella Mackin pulled her children out of a public school in Houston when the school refused to place them in the same class, transferring the girls to a Catholic school.

"This isn't for them so much as it is for me," Ms. Mackin said. "I also have a 5-year-old son, and I work full time. When you have four or five different teachers with four or five sets of homework, all for children too young to do the homework on their own, it's impossible."

Of course, there are legions of parents happy to keep their twins, triplets or quadruplets separated because they do not want their children's strengths and weaknesses so explicitly measured against one another day in, day out. As her twin girls approached school age, Miriam Schneider, president of the Manhattan Mothers of Twins club, became convinced that her children should be placed in different classrooms.

"They have different skills, and we didn't want them constantly compared," Ms. Schneider said. The girls had been kept together during pre-school. When kindergarten came and they were separated, Ms. Schneider found they related more harmoniously in the evening than they had before.

"When they were together all day, they fought too much at home," she said. "They were like two old married women."