In a classroom situation I taught several students with diagnosed ADHD or ADD. As a private tutor, I have assisted even more pupils with one of these diagnoses, as a classroom situation generally does not meet all their educational needs. Both groups need the freedom to learn in untraditional postures and activities....standing, moving, spinning, sitting on one foot, tapping. Being allowed to moves assists them in focusing.
Children with ADD sometimes do best when allowed to complete a project before going on to the next. It can difficult for them to switch gears. Children with ADHD actually do better when allowed to break up activities with active movement, like a short walk, push ups, or a run up and down some steps; this applies to older students as well as children.
I have taught U.S. History at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. I have had much success teaching from the viewpoint of the people and what their lives were like during a time period, than listing a lot of battles and dates. Details should follow an undertanding of the mood of the time, and what the motivations were for specific events.
All well educated people should understand the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Understanding the economics of the South versus the economics of the North is crucial to understanding the Civil War. These are the types of concepts I convey to my students as I teach or tutor American History.
I have tutored several students who were diagnosed with Asperger's. They tend to be quiet, yet thoughtful, and work well in one-on-one situations. Having a quiet, well organized environment is important to these children, even if they are a bit disorganized themselves. I have found they work well with a step-by-step, layering instructional method, skipping no steps. They respond well to logical visual and practical information, and integrating subject matter when possible helps them grasp the material.
I completed 11 hours of college credit in Bible classes, including Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey, Bible Doctrines, and Evangelism. I have taught Bible as an academic class at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. The method of teaching Bible varies according to the age of the students. Children learn best from stories; teens and young adults learn well when topics are taught in a more academic format.
Dyslexia is a catch all phrase for many different learning disabilities. However, most of these children learn best in a tactile environment. In working with these children in the primary years, I use clay, salt in a tray, letter tiles, number lines that the child walks, a multitude of math manipulatives, and a number of other materials. Children with learning disabilities need to experience a concept physically before moving on to paper and pencil.
Older students benefit from learning how to "chunk" material, just covering one concept at a time. Typing is a great relief to many middle and high school students with learning disabilities.
I have 20+ years teaching experience at the elementary level, and have worked with children from preschool through 6th grade. These children are concrete thinkers, and as such, learn best when words are accompanied by pictures, videos, stories, and hands-on activities. These children stay focused best when the time spent flows, with as little downtime as possible; learning plans need to be prepared ahead of time, so as not to allow the child's mind to wander. Breaking up learning activities with little snippets of physical activity also help the child stay focused.
With a degree in elementary education, I have formal training in teaching children how to write. Having taught for more than two decades, I have first hand experience, both in a classroom and one-to-one tutoring situations, working with pupils as they learn to write, or seek to improve their penmanship. I have taught manuscript and cursive in three systems: Zaner-Blozer, D'Nealian, and Stevenson Learning Skills (a program designed for children who need extra verbal, physical and/or visual cues).
As a tutor, I have worked with young children as they first learn the symbols. Some of my penmanship pupils have come to me later in their educational journey, because their parents or they want to improve their writing or make it more efficient.
I have utilized a number of different phonics systems in my years of teaching. Some introduce vowels first, others consonants; I am able to work within any system with which I am presented.
For children who struggle with phonics, I have found the Stevenson Learning Skills materials to be very successful. Each phonetic sound and combination of sounds is accompanied by a story; the child is given mnemonic devices to assist him/her in assimilating the sounds.
Writing for the SAT or ACT requires the student to follow a "formula", a set method of writing. I can teach the student how to write the essay, and work with him/her throughout the writing process. This method of writing will assist the student in writing essays in high school and college, as well.
In the past 20 years, I have taught and tutored children with low IQ's, auditory processing issues, psycho-motor problems, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, cerebral palsy, partially deaf, autism, and a variety of undiagnosed learning issues. My experience has taught me to first identify the child's strengths, then build from those; learning needs to be interrelated, not compartmentalized. A child with learning disabilities can take what he has mastered and use it to investigate areas in which he/she has weaknesses. Presenting a child with a variety of tools and methods to tackle a concept, and assisting the child in finding the method that works best for him/her, is highly successful.
Assisting students in organizing their study plans and due dates is crucial. Pupils who require private tutoring are often lacking in this area.
Note taking is an important skill that every student should learn, beginning in middle school. Highlighting is another valuable skill.
I also like to present my students with a variety of different methods of studying for a test. Too many students think that studying for a test is just rereading the same material.