I have a Bachelors of Science from Bowling Green State University. At one time I was certified to teach French and Political Science, or government. While I was looking for a job, I substituted in various schools in my area. At the time this was in Toledo, Ohio. The school who extended a teaching position to me was a school for the developmentally disabled. I remained in this field for the next 20 years!
I was born in the Netherlands and moved to Canada when I was eight. It was there I learned how to speak English. After that we lived in Spain, where I learned to speak Spanish fluently. We then moved to Ohio where my dad was employed as a professor by BGSU.
In college I participated in a program abroad and lived in France for a year.
I have observed many different styles of teaching both professionally and while moving around, attending many different schools. One of the problems I encountered was the failure of teachers to track how much the students were actually comprehending and the places some got lost, and as a result began having difficulty. Tests and quizzes reflect some of what a student knows but only in a general sense. Many teachers continue with their time line and do not analyze where students are losing comprehension. This is often caused by too many students enrolled in one class. Having ADD myself, I am sensitive to how others process and assimilate information I am presenting.
One aspect of learning is having to memorize seemingly useless information. I believe in demonstrating as soon as possible, the reason, the point and the plan of learning the material at hand.
Working with disabled people has taught me that there are many different ways people assimilate and process new information. Some are more heavily influenced by their existing frame of reference and may need to unlearn some things before being able to understand what is being presented to them. Others are very visual, or they concentrate best by listening, others by doing. By assessing how a particular person processes best and using this knowledge to teach new information and ensuring often that the student is at a 95% comprehension level is to be an effective teacher.
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