A new cadre of student teachers start their special education placements this week. Teaching a classroom of students with a multitude of needs is difficult for the most experienced teacher. So, for novice teachers, it can be overwhelming. But there are some effective teaching strategies in special education that student teachers can add to their toolbox to help meet the needs of their new students. However, since student needs vary widely; flexibility is key.
Check out the list of strategies to try with your students that need a different approach to learning, struggle with change or have short attention spans. For some kids, the recipe for success may change daily. Thank you for working so hard to help all kids shine!
Vary Approach to Learning
- Simplify and repeat directions as needed.
- Sequence learning tasks from simple to complex.
- Add visual supports and cues (charts, pictures, color coding)
- Give repeated opportunities to practice skills.
- Provide immediate, positive, descriptive feedback.
- Use manipulative and sensory materials that are developmentally appropriate.
- Offer choices so children can follow interests and strengths.
- Use concrete material or examples.
- Be sensitive to schedule changes: time for transitions, reminders of schedule changes, order of activities, length of activities.
- Provide time to process learning.
- Develop easy-to-use monitoring tools that are needs-based.
- Design teaching aids and lessons that are flexible.
- Add creativity to lessons and homework.
- Develop lesson plans that can be modified to fit each student.
- Develop a set of resources and interventions that work.
Short Attention Spans
- Establish consistent everyday routines.
- Share ideas with parents to help with homework.
- Open dialogue with parents to share “what works and doesn’t” at home and school.
- Set clear expectations for all students.
- Break assignments into smaller pieces.
- Add routine breaks into work time to create shorter periods.
- Use visual and auditory reminders to transition from one activity to another.
- Develop a reward system for desired behaviors: completing work, class participation, good behavior.
Coming Soon: Strategies: Communication and Language, Social/ Emotional and Physical/Motor Development.
Learning occurs in day to day activities. So, look for and create learning opportunities throughout your day. Stay safe and be well.