Written by Ang Lloyd a Clonlara School guest blogger (***Clonlara School does not endorse or recommend any product/service in connection with this author***)
According to Nichcy.org, about one million children (between the ages of 6-21) in the US have some type of learning difficulty. It’s therefore not uncommon for teachers to encounter children in their class who struggle with learning, whether the difficulties have to do with reading, writing, making calculations, listening, or attention. Dealing with learning difficulties in a classroom environment can be challenging, but it’s certainly not an impossible task. If you’re a teacher, here are three tips to keep in mind for your next lesson plan.
1)Identify the learning style – Everyone has their preferred way of learning, whether there’s a disability present or not. According to HelpGuide.org, there are generally three types of learning styles, namely visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Most learners will have an over-riding primary learning style, which will be based on sights (reading, diagrams, colour graphs and pictures), sounds (classroom discussions, spoken directions, music and languages), or movement (hands-on activities such as sport, field trips, and dance). Once the learning style is matched to the student, studying can be made a lot easier, as they’ll benefit more from the learning process.
2)Accommodate learning styles – These are small changes that can be made in lesson plans and instructions. This is particularly useful in a “normal” classroom environment, where most of the learners don’t have learning problems. You can accommodate students with learning difficulties by adjusting how instructions are presented, how students are expected to respond, and time limits. For example, teachers can break down assignments into smaller, more manageable tasks, and they can allocate more time for tests and quizzes.
3)Encourage blogging – Remember when your English teacher asked you to keep a journal? Blogging; a form of social media – works on the same principle; it”s just in a digital format. According to LDOnline.org, blogging can benefit students with learning disabilities in a variety of ways. For example, teachers can post assignments and notes on their blogs. Not only does this help the whole class, but it’s also useful for students with attention or listening problems. A class blog can also aid classroom discussions by giving students time to think before answering. Keeping a blog also encourages and improves writing, along with reading and language skills.
If the right approach is taken, students with learning disabilities can succeed in a classroom environment. If you’re a teacher, remember to accommodate students by making minor changes to your lessons, identify their style of learning, and either have a class blog, or encourage them to keep their own. If you’re not familiar with teaching students with learning difficulties, it can also be helpful to do an online course, which will equip you with the necessary skills and know-how.
Ang Lloyd writes for Now Learning, an education portal that promotes a variety of classroom-based and online courses in Australia, including education and social media courses.