Navigating Learning Disabilities: Unveiling Frustration, Anxiety, and Tension in Education - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-12-11
Navigating Learning Disabilities: Unveiling Frustration, Anxiety, and Tension in Education - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Learning Education Motivation
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1176 words
10 min read


Education is a critical phenomenon in contemporary society as it is viewed as a foundation for securing a promising and productive future (Salvia et al., 2017). However, many students suffer from learning disabilities, which deters them from reaping and achieving the aims of education (Clearwaters, 2018). For example, approximately 6% to 10% of children in the United States of America today suffer from learning disability a range that affects hundreds and thousands of individuals and families (Clearwaters, 2018). Learning disability is a genetic or neurobiological condition that alters the function of the brain, hindering cognitive processes, and comprehension related to learning (Clearwaters, 2018). In the film, “How difficult can this be? The F.A.T city workshop,” Richard Lavoie, a director at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, Connecticut, uses an audience from different professions to demonstrate the difficulties and pressure that many children with learning disabilities experience in contemporary American schools (Clearwaters, 2018). According to director Lavoie, understanding learning disability requires the application of an exclusion strategy, that is, a learning-disabled child is an individual who is not mentally disabled and retired, emotionally disturbed, modality deficit, deaf or blind, but still has difficulty functioning in school (Clearwaters, 2018). The film prompts a deep understanding and comprehension of the phenomenon of learning disability by focusing on Frustrations, Anxiety, and Tension (F.A.T) and their impact on a student’s learning abilities and cognitive processing. Therefore, assessing the fascinating and astonishing elements in the film “How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T City Workshop,” and its particular relation to recent experiences, prompt a deep understanding of the learning process of a learning-disabled child.

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Interesting Elements in the Film

Learning disability is not only a school problem, but a social element that an individual child may have, which prevents the child from processing information at the same pace as the peers (Clearwaters, 2018). Richard Lavoie interestingly reveals that while ridiculing or pressurizing a learning-disabled child may instigate short-term fun in class; it can create an internal conflict between the teacher and the child since a student can hold it as a grudge for a whole day or two (Clearwaters, 2018). As the teacher gives classroom instruction, adopting an accommodating strategy that allows the learning-disabled children to participate in the class equally is vital rather than alienating them or giving them an easy way out (Salvia et al., 2017). For instance, in the film, Lavoie denotes that accepting the answer “I don’t know” only encourages learning-disabled students to give up and believe they are incapable of high academic achievement (Clearwaters, 2018). Moreover, I found it interesting how frustration and anxiety hinder learners from thinking. Although the audience in the video are professionals from different fields with high-quality certifications and work experiences, their ability to think critically through simple educational phenomena becomes complicated when they are subjected to a specific amount of pressure, and they become anxious (Clearwaters, 2018). Moreover, I was astonished when the video revealed the avoidance tactics common among humans and people’s reactions to avoid facing difficult situations. For example, Lavoie denotes that like the audience present in the video, learning-disabled children quickly adopt avoidance tactics that “if I cannot see the teacher, the teacher cannot see me;” hence they look away from the source of anxiety, which is the first human reaction to anxiety (Clearwaters, 2018).

Surprising Elements in the Film

Furthermore, it is surprising that although the audience comprises teachers, psychologists and social workers, among others, when exposed to pressure, frustration, tension, and anxiety, they are unable to process information, but it is the same thing that mainstream teachers do to many learning-disabled children in schools (Clearwaters, 2018). While many educationists understand that learning-disabled students may have difficulty in reading or doing math, it is astonishing that they neglect the slow processing that such children have with language (Clearwaters, 2018). For example, while normal students are often quick to answer an easy question like “Who was the first president of the U.S.A.,” learning-disabled children frequently take more time to process the question rather than the answer (Clearwaters, 2018). For children with learning disabilities, listening or speaking is a cognitive task rather than an associative task forcing them to perform one action at a time Clearwaters, 2018). Therefore, when conducting evaluation, assessors should uphold inclusivity to understand all students and their abilities (Salvia et al., 2017).

Additionally, Lavoie’s depiction of the misconception about motivation is significantly surprising. Motivation has been continuously held to improve learning and academic achievement, but Lavoie contradicts such preconceived knowledge by ascertaining that motivation is only vital in inspiring a student to do what they are already capable of doing (Clearwaters, 2018). Although many mainstream teachers have held that motivation is critical in overriding learning disabilities, Lavoie opposes such a preconceived position by highlighting that learning-disabled students have perception problems rather than motivation problems (Clearwaters, 2018). The problem arises because students with learning disabilities often have difficulty assigning meaning to objects or behaviors (Clearwaters, 2018). Therefore, even with the highest level of motivation, they are still unable to improve and comprehend certain academic elements because of their inability to perceive (Clearwaters, 2018). The film surprisingly challenges the preconceived ideas and principles that I, as well as many educationalists, uphold in mainstream classroom teaching. Therefore, individual children require different levels of support to achieve academic success (Salvia et al., 2017).

Application to Personal Experience

I acknowledge that the film depicts the difficulty that student with disabilities faces as they succumb to frustration, anxiety, and tension in school. Watching the film reminded me of my weaknesses as an educator who has worked with children who depicted signs of learning disabilities. Like many people, I believed motivation and positive reinforcement were the cornerstones to helping such students excel in academics. However, regardless of my efforts, some students kept failing. I now realize the children did not have a motivation problem but rather a perception problem that hindered them from conceptualizing numerous concepts we covered in class; hence my motivation strategy was unproductive and inappropriate. The film exposed me to critical elements that are vital in promoting efficient instruction strategies and assessment approaches that benefit all children in the class. The video has substantially changed my perception and equipped me with the knowledge to help students with learning ability and understand the importance of eliminating frustration, tension, and anxiety, which inhibits student’s learning abilities.


Conclusively, the film, “How difficult can this be? The F.A.T city workshop” reveals significant elements that hinder productive learning among students with learning abilities. It highlights the role that frustration, anxiety, and tension play in inhibiting cognitive processing among learning-disabled children. Therefore, as teachers develop instructional and assessment formulae, they must be sensitive to the difficulties that learning-disabled children face in class.


Clearwaters, J. (2018). How difficult can this be? The F.A.T city workshop. YouTube.

Salvia, J., Ysseldyke, J., & Witmer, S (2017). Assessment in special and inclusive education. 13th edition. Cengage Learning.

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