The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was an insightful look inside the mind of an autistic boy in England. Mark Haddon’s book reminded me of a great book, Ida B : . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World, which also viewed the world from a child’s eyes. The things I really enjoy about both books were that they were written from the point of the view of a child. When a book is written from a child’s point of view readers can follow the thought pattern of the children in the book.

The book by Katherine Hannigan, allowed the reader to understand the thought process of a young girl in elementary school. The Mark Haddon book allowed the reader to understand the thought process of an adolescent autistic boy’s process, which is very relevant to anyone who is going into the field of education.

In my short experience in the field of education I have not yet taught a student who was autistic; this does not mean that reading this book was not invaluable. All students think differently, that’s what makes them unique. Christopher John Francis Boone is a genuine, honest, bright boy who is going through what other children his age have to go through; growing up, discovering truths about his family, navigating social situations.

His thought process is identified as different from others but one of education’s best practices is to teach all children regardless of their labels. Christopher thinks very literally and does not always understand subtle social cues. I am sure that all children have a problem understanding social cues.

I am teaching eight grade students right now and I have been having problems with classroom management. I just assume that students understand the “line” they are not supposed to cross. I have learned that this is the not the case. In fact, children rarely know when to stop and act differently when they are not following rules or are interrupting the class or are being disrespectful. I have had to give detention to students who were disruptive because they did cross the line and did not understand when to stop joking around.

I think looking at the way Christopher thinks is important because students must be reminded constantly of the correct ways to act in a social situation. It is not true that all students remember all the time how to behave or act. A good teacher should always remind his or her own student’s everyday what the correct behavior is. I have gotten into situations that I could have avoided if I had reminded students how to behave. Reminding students how to behave is a key element to classroom management which is one of the hardest things I have experienced during my teaching internship experience.

The one thing that caused me concern when I read the book was the relationship between Christopher and his father; their relationship was sometimes physical. When I was reading this book I asked a peer and classmate about what she thought about spanking. My classmate indicated that spanking is justified when a parent is not emotional or angry and makes sure the child understands why he or she is being punished.

I would agree with my classmate that if a parent chooses to use this form of punishment a child must understand everything; the child understands why he or she is being spanked and the parent is not emotional and acting out in a fit of rage. I felt that Christopher’s father took out his emotions on Christopher in an abusive manner. Looking at the home life of the Boone family certainly highlighted reason why their lives may be stressful which was very important in understanding the anger and frustration of the father.

The one person who really made a difference in Christopher’s life was his aide at school, Siobhan. Siobhan was essential in helping Christopher understand the world around him. This educator provided Christopher with important coping strategies and systems for facing situations that he would have to encounter in his life. Siobhan was with him for eight years before the beginning of this book which I imagine could be true of the duration of special aides with other children. Siobhan was a constant in Christopher life and she was more than just a person at school.

She understood Christopher more than his own family could and I believe her influence was beneficial and invaluable. Siobhan encouraged Christopher and counseled him when there was no one else in his life could understand. As I become a secondary content teacher I will remember the role that special educators and paraprofessionals have on the development and growth of a child. Understanding the role that such individuals have on a child is essential for me to teacher every student I may have in the future and the student I have know who have special educators and personal aides.

Another thing that I felt was important in this book was Christopher’s investigation book. For Christopher his investigation and book were ways to express him-self in a positive and constructive way. From all the readings and classes at Sage, one very important thing that has been ingrained into developing teachers is providing children creative and constructive outlets. Christopher’s book addressed his logical/mathematical intelligence because the book was an investigation which was very linear and straightforward. The book addressed Christopher’s linguistic intelligence by providing a forum for written expression. The book addressed Christopher’s interpersonal development because he had to interact with people in his neighborhood.

Christopher was put in a situation with Mrs. Alexander and he had to develop real life skills which weren’t taught to him by Siobhan. Christopher’s book also provided him with a way to develop his intrapersonal intelligence. The journey Christopher made was as much emotional as it was literally. Because of his book, Christopher uncovered family secrets and took a huge step of self reliance. Christopher was also discouraged by his father to stop writing the book on many occasions but he did not stop writing because he felt he had to keep going. I hope to provide my future students with a forum of self expression like Christopher had with his book.

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