Kopfüber (B. Sahling, Germany, 2012)

SAMSUNGHow do children learn? Some in traditional didactic classroom models, others through experiential learning but “all knowledge begins with the senses,” so said Immanuel Kant. That is, if we allow the senses to work for us.

What did you like about this film?

What did you like about this film?

When a post-it went up in the “Like” category saying, “Elli” there was a unanimous agreement that Elli, the androgynous friend  of  the protagonist 10 year-old Sascha, was a character boys as much as girls liked.
Sascha is calm, caring and engaged when he’s with Elli and they’re making sound recordings at the construction site. Elli turns these sounds into music on her computer and they both assess the results of their work.

When he’s not with Elli, we see Sascha as the archetypical delinquent boy from a struggling single-parent household: bored or acting out in class, stealing, smoking, making a quick Euro..

Sascha and Elli recording sound.

Sascha and Elli recording sound.

His lack of reading proficiency is finally seen as a disorder. He’s assigned a counselor and a program, which includes medication for ADHD.  His counselor witnesses the boys mechanical and math skills for which he’s had only Elli’s recognition up to then.  The medication’s exhausting side effects stunt his after-school and home life and diminishes time with Elli.  Attention at school and grades increase for the first time, though, making mom, teachers and counselors proud but at the cost of laughter according to Elli.

Director Bernd Sahling presents a conundrum grappled with every child who does not do well in the traditional classroom model.  The director had been a counselor like the character in his film, so knows intimately the interior of this dilemma:  Are the conditions and context of the systems available to the unique child, home and school, adept enough to support him in his individual needs?

Was wisst ihr über ADHS? / What do you know about ADHD?

When asked what they know about ADHD, our 11 and 12 year-old respondents from the Wilhelm von Humboldt Schule posted their response below.  Only one out of seven had a notion of the disorder.

In these two rich characters, Sascha and Elli, Sahling presented a problem and solution to an ongoing discourse in Education.  He presents not only the value of peer education and individual attention but sensory education …all weighing in towards a shift of a one-size-fits-all education model to fostering the investigative and creative intuition of each child.

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