Recently psychologists and teachers together with doctors mark steady increasing number of children with learning disabilities.
I attended a general class in Rowen elementary school, first grade of student that includes several children with learning disabilities. The features of these students were either a low level of knowledge, as a result of low intellectual development, absence of informative interest or frequent admissions of lessons or some pupils demand an individual approach because they are from asocial families. The teacher organized this class in such a way that to make the students with the disabilities more comfortable or successful among the classmates.
She did not divide pupils of the class into several groups, in order not to point on those pupils with learning disabilities directly. The class worked as a whole, but each student had tasks he could manage. It is contrary on what we used to learn about working with not excellent students. As I know, the class is usually divided on groups with one or two pupils with learning disabilities in each. This method of not dividing the class, but working with all pupils was successful at that lesson, I have to say. Think it was so because there were not many people in class. To large classes, even that teacher says, it is better organize group work but with individual tasks.
To continue the lesson, the teacher formulated the new material in an easy language with short thesis and bright explanations, so each student understood the new topic. The pupils acquired only that part of knowledge they could handle with. She used “cards-informants”, “cards-abstracts”.
For others, the additional material was recommended. While they were looking through this material, the instructor worked with pupils who were not so good in subject. Once more she explained the subject of the lesson and asked them questions to find out those who still did not understand something.
After the explanation, the teacher started practice. To make students with the disabilities more comfortable and successful in this class, she prepared tasks with an answer choice. Then she applied cards for individual work. That gave the opportunity for all children to participate in class activities, so all were interested in the process. I liked the teacher used the practice game and physical minutes. At the end of the lesson, she put marks with explanation and evaluation.
The instructor did trainings with us to teach how to handle with special education students. She marked main principles for making students with physical or learning disabilities full participants of the learning process. For this purpose the teachers should do the following:
- Not to put a child with learning or physical disabilities in a situation of an unexpected question and not to demand a prompt reply to it, to give to the pupil enough time for considering and preparation.
- It is desirable that the answer was not in oral, and in writing form.
- It is impossible to give a big and difficult material for mastering in the limited time. It is necessary divide it into separate information pieces and to give those gradually, in the process of mastering.
- There is no need to force such pupils answer on questions of a new material, it is better postpone poll for the following lesson, and give the chance to pupils to work at home.
- By correct tactics of polls and encouragements (not only an estimation, but also type remarks “perfectly”, “good fellow”, “clear head” and etc.) tutors should form in those pupils confidence of their own abilities, of their knowledge, of possibility to study. This confidence will help the pupil in extreme stressful situations.
- It is necessary to estimate more carefully failure of the pupil since he concerns it very painfully.
- During preparation to answer it is necessary give the student with disabilities time for checking and correction of written.
- The teacher should distract the pupil in the minimum degree, not to switch his attention, to create quiet, not nervous conditions.
So we played a role game where a part of students were playing a role of children who were not good in the subject and another part was teachers. Those who were children with learning disabilities had been informed about the reason they did not study well. Thus, the teachers had first to understand the reason of their backlog, than to make the plan of work with each pupil, to describe the encouragement method they would use and to choose a didactic material. This practice game helped us to understand the working methods that would help us at our lessons.
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For me, one question arose – this is concerning the role of conversations with the pupil and his parents. If I could go back, I would ask more about the parents’ influence on children’s attitude to study.
To break into conclusions, I admit the teacher has good skills and accommodations she made for her work in class. I think, for such children a friendly atmosphere in the class – is the most important thing to start learning. I wish, not just the teacher I observed, but everyone in the society follow wise pieces of advice and combine scientific researches and my vision of an ideal lesson for students with physical or learning disabilities. Only together we can help them to be successful and happy in studying and everyday life. Therefore, now I feel confident that I could learn how to accommodate the special need of students with physical or learning disabilities.