Tips for Regular Education Teachers for Teaching Exceptional ChildrenThe most important tip for regular education teachers in working successfully with EC students if for them to know the students IEP. Find out what the students strengths are as well as their areas of need. Know their modifications. You can't implement the modifications, if you do not know them. If you are creating diverse lesson plans to reach the diversity represented in your classroom, you are already a step ahead in reaching out to the Exceptional Learners in your room. Knowing your EC students IEP requirements is also a legal issue. It is not only the EC teacher that is accountable to the IEP. If a student is mainstreamed and in a regular education classroom or an inclusion classroom, the regular education teacher is legally accountable for the IEP to be followed and to assure that the EC student is learning. It is a team effort between the regular education teacher, the EC teacher, the EC student as well as the parents to help the EC student successfully access the general curriculum.
Teaching The Exceptional Learner
Two major interventions produce positive outcomes; Direct Instruction and Learning Strategy Instruction. Teachers who apply these kinds of interventions:
. Broke the lesson into small steps
. Administered clarifying questions, probing questions
. Supplied regular feedback. Used diagrams, graphics and pictures to augment what they weresaying in words
. Provided ample Independent, well-designed, intensive practice
. Modeled instructional practices that they wanted students to follow. Provided prompts of strategies to use
. Engaged students in process type questions like, "How is that
strategy working? Where else might you use it?"
Another successful intervention is Scaffolding. In Scaffolding, you start out with heavily teachermediated instruction = explicit instruction, then as students begin to acquire the skill, move down the continuum to more student-mediated instruction.
Consistent and timely assessment of individual students is needed to monitor their progress (or lack of)through the curriculum. This type of early informal and formal assessment can catch academic issues early on so that they can be address in a specific, directed, individualized and intensive manner. Catching issues early is the key to avoiding remediation.
Revisit concepts throughout the year...
A good teacher will not teach a concept once and never revisit it. You can't expect a student toremember a concept taught at the beginning of the year if it is never revisited as the year goes on. Revisiting major concepts, revisiting them throughout the year and including questions on previous concepts when testing on new concepts helps a student to better retain previously taught information.
Learning Disability Related Tips. Take initiative. If you notice a problem, talk to the student inprivate
. Provide a detailed syllabus and assignment descriptions
. Give directions in writing and orally
. Present material in a variety of ways; visual, aural, role plays, etc.
. Build skills gradually over the semester and give frequent feedback. Allow alternative testing formats and/or extended time whereappropriate. Avoid looking annoyed when a student asks a question you mayhave just answered. Keep student's attention through voice modulation, and gesturingto emphasize significant points. Help students to organize,m synthesize, and apply information. Consider putting a statement in your syllabus encouraging anystudents with special learning needs to discuss them with you. Do not assume that a student with a learning disability will comeforward by him or herself. Suggest possible resources the student can explore in order toaddress the patterns of difficulty if the student does not disclosehim or herself as having a learning disability. Build rapport with the student having a learning disability andestablish a good one-on-one relationship with the student. Do not ignore students with learning disabilities and think that youare sparing them embarrassment. Find out how much the student knows about his or her disability. Take advantage of students' diverse abilities and not overemphasizing their disabilities will help them to excel in
. Look for opportunities where the student can demonstrate
existing knowledge to help the student enhance his/her
confidence. Review major concepts and provide multiple opportunities to applyconcepts to new situations throughout the semester. Try to prepare students for papers and other assignments by givingthem questions to help them in their reading. Establish explicitly the parameters of successful answers to theassignments. Avoid giving questions or instructions that are grammatically orsyntactically complicated as they only serve to bewilder the studentwithout testing actual information important to the class. Help the student by targeting the student's area of difficulty andsuggesting a strategy to compensateSSuccessful Homework Strategies for Teachers: Homework should be purposeful and reasonable. Communicate to parents in the first meeting of the year or in correspondence, appropriate areas in whichparental involvement can help reinforce their child's learning rates, performance, and confidence. Include suggestions on how parents can provide homework assistance.
. Compare the amount of time the students required to complete homework assignments withanticipated completion time, and modify assignments as needed.
. Learn students feelings about homework assignments by talking with them and modify assignments as needed.
. Plan with other teachers in terms of length and frequency of homework assignments, adoption of similar homework practices, such as a standard style for headings.
. Assign activities that are age appropriate, interesting and interactive when possible.
. Assign activities that are relevant to the child outside of the classroom. Assign homework that enriches, reinforces, or supplements classroom instruction. Do not assign homework just to assign it, or for punishment.
. Randomly reward homework completion. It may just be an extra five minutes of free time, but it reinforces the positive aspect of completing assignments.
. Use a homework planner. Students should have a place where they write down all assignments, and where they can check them off as they are completed. A planner can also be used for communication between teachers and parents.
. Communicate with parents regarding the amount of homework you plan to assign, and the approximate time required for completion. If there is a discrepancy between the child's performance and your expectations, treat this as diagnostic information.
. Suggest activities that parents can do with their children to enhance learning.
. Review homework promptly and provide students with feedback and additional instruction as needed. Do not assign homework and then not review it. Homework is another assessment tool and tells a teacher where their students are succeeding and where they need help.
. Explain the purpose of homework assignments and ensure that the assignment is understood. If the students understand the purpose of the homework, they are more likely to do it.
. Teach study skills such as note taking, strategies to increase reading comprehension, and use of mnemonic memory devices.
. Homework assigned to students with learning disabilities may result in greater acquisition of independent study skills and increase time spent on academic skills...if it is purposeful and reasonable.