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Christine recently relocated to Jacksonville and holds a keen interest facilitating learning experiences. Chris holds a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University in reading and learning disabilities. During her professional career she has been a teacher, reading specialist, educational consultant, owner of a learning center, training manager, and non-profit executive director. She believes in a very interactive approach to learning which provides much reinforcement and practice of skills being learned.
As a former teacher of learning disabilities and the parent of a child diagnosed with ADD, I have had to learn adaptive strategies to help students and my son achieve success in the classroom. Some of these strategies are:
1) Seat the student facing me to minimize distractions.
2) Provide many activities that are kinsthetic in nature which allow the student to be actively involved in the instructional process. (e.g. Having the student skip while spelling words.)
3) Write important information down where the child can easily read and reference it. Remind the student where the information can be found.
4) Divide big assignments into smaller ones, and allow the child frequent breaks.
Such strategies must be utilized to ensure that the student achieves success in learning. the ultimate goal is to teach the student self-control and to learn techniques that allow him/her to manage their own impulsivity.
My master's degree is in learning disabilites. I have taught students of all ages who struggle with the reading process because of auditory or visual difficulties in processing the written word. I focus on teaching of sight vocabulary and comprehension strategies which allow the student to more quickly get what is needed out of the written text.
I began my professional teaching career as a third grade teacher. I received my master's degree in reading and learning disabilities and went on to be a LD and reading specialist (elementary level) for twelve years. During this time, I learned these core principles which must guide the instruction during this critical period of time in assisting students to reach fullest academic and social potential:
1)Offer Direct Experiences
Young people learn from what they do. Teachers must incorporate meaningful learning experiences into the classroom setting. The key is that these activities must be meaningful.
2)Be a Good Role Model of Learning
Students watch those who teach them. if you do not find excitement and joy in the learning process, your students will sense this and close down to you instruction. You must frequently share with students how you continue to learn as an adult and how valuable learning has been in your life.
3)Allow Youth to Discover Through Their Own Experiences
Never tell students something they can discover for themselves. Case studies and role playing can lead to valuable discussions that engage students in deep, meaningful learning.The environment must be conducive to the expression of doubts and questions that lead to growth and understanding.
4) Use a Variety of Teaching Methods
Young people are social creatures and require interaction. Varied teaching methods enhance the teacher's ability to communicate the content. Incorporate games and many interactive strategies in daily teaching so your students never get bored.
5)Make the Lesson Relevant
Knowing what issues matter to the student guides the teacher in the preparation of the lesson. Many young people may perceive much of what they need to know as irrelevant or unimportant. Teachers must learn to teach at varying levels, so as to engage to allow students of varying levels to learn and grow in their academic and social skills.
While none of these strategies are magical or guarantee all students will achieve success, they do create a learning environment which is conducive to quality instruction and improved student achievement.
I taught a course on study skills to post secondary students at the Community College of Allegheny County for three years. I always begin by telling the students that I will assist them to "study smarter not harder". The topics that I would emphasize with a student are: Creating A Proper Place for Study, Developing a Weekly Study Schedule, Managing Study Time Effectively, Using the SQ3R method for Reading, Using Graphic Organizers, and Tracking Grades and Progress.
I would utilize the textbooks and materials that a student is using in class to demonstrate application of the techniques described above. I would ask the student to give me weekly feedback on how such techniques are assisting him/her to master the study process.
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