As an Educator, I’ve had the opportunity to teach several students who have Learning Disabilities. I understand the importance of accommodating the student in a way where they are not set apart or centered out in front of their peers. Youth and adolescence is hard enough without the added stress of being teased or isolated by their peers due to something that is beyond their control and already, unfortunately, has a negative stigma attached to it.
I have found that many of the strategies used to help assist and accommodate those students with Learning Disabilities are actually beneficial to the entire student population. Below I will address some of these strategies in hopes that educators and parents will not only gain some different techniques to use, but in hopes they will use these strategies for their entire classrooms or helping all siblings at home with homework. No differential treatment, yet the student/child with a Learning Disability receives the help they need to be successful… to me it’s a win/win and a confidence booster! It’s worth a try is it not?
To start, I believe it is important to explain to students:
1) Why the material is important,
2) What the learning goals are, and
3) What the expectations are for each level (teachers out there will be familiar with the exemplars provided in the curriculum and there is no reason not to share these rubrics with your students).
Teachers should develop an easy to understand guide for how the children will be assessed before the task is assigned. Creating examples of Quality work yourself is a great idea. Never single out a student and show their work to the class as an example! This is a big no -no in my book, even if you are using it for praise, you do not know if the student feels embarrassed by this or whether or not his/her peers will react negatively to them (ie: “teachers-pet”). Some children will begin to realize who the “smart” kids in the class are and instead of assessing their own work based on the criteria and their own goals and personal improvements they could develop self defeating attitudes rooted in perceived incompetence.
In my next blog post I will discuss study skills that are essential for success.
What strategies have you used for assessment in your classroom? What has worked for you? What hasn’t?