How can Teachers Teach Kids With Learning Differences in the Classroom
It’s no secret that not every student will learn the same way or at the same place. While learning independently can be hard, it may benefit certain bright students in your classroom. Self-directed learning helps your classroom to retain information and to stay engaged, just at their own pace. Engaged students will learn better and more as there is no room for distractions. Ultimately, the switch to a student-centered classroom can take some time. However, it will allow your students to be more effective at critical thinking, asking questions, and staying attentive at the tasks at hand. All of these things can benefit them in their studies and in the real world too.
Types of learning styles
We all have a way in which we learn the best. Chances are that every student in your class will have a different learning style. This can make it hard for you to be effective at ensuring that your entire class retains your lesson. By incorporating different methods into your classroom, you may be able to help your students retain the most.
Here are the three major learning systems:
- Visual: Visual learners prefer to see or observe things. They like to see things on a projector or chalkboard. They also like to highlight or color-code their notes to organize them.
- Auditory: Someone with this learning system likes to listen. They like to engage in conversations about the subject matter or to watch videos about the topics at hand.
- Tactile/Kinesthetic: This type of learning requires a physical experience such as with science experiments. They will like to perform a task related to the topic. They require a more hands-on learning approach.
Make your classroom a safe zone for investigating and asking questions
Student-centered learning requires more than just a change in the way that you teach. It makes them active participants in their learning. Encourage your students to ask questions. Help them to understand the information that is available for them. Listen to their ideas and guide them to other topics that correlate with these thoughts. Encourage them to do their own research and to report back to you.
Set learning goals
Learning goals help your students create their own path to achieving excellence. Give them a list of tasks and a timeline for completion. Also, discuss some goals for the unit that they’re studying. Provide resource materials for each of the goals perhaps videos for K-5 students on a variety of science topics from Generation Genius. After each goal is completed, provide feedback to each student and give suggestions on how they can grasp the topic more freely, or if they have mastered it, lead them to the next task.
How to engage students in the learning process
Your students need to understand that as learners they need to understand their own needs in a self-directed learning environment. Have a discussion with your students on what instructional methods they like the best and maybe some qualities about their favorite teachers that made them their favorite. This opens up the door to knowing what you need to incorporate into your own classroom for them to experience the same positive and engaging learning environment.
Deep approach to studying
A deep approach to studying is ideal for a self-directed learning environment. This allows students to understand things for themselves and to apply this knowledge to real life. This allows them to retain the information at hand in their own personal way. Variety keeps things interesting and if you incorporate this in your classroom kids will feel more excited to come to class and their minds will be more open to whatever the lesson is.
Working memory limitations
Working memory is a system that temporarily holds information while it is processed. This is where we will store data or things that we don’t need anymore. However, some children with learning differences, may not be able to properly store this information. This makes them more likely to be distracted during class. This also affects their ability to be able to remember instructions, to get started on an assignment or even to copy information from the board to their notes. To ensure that your class can retain information more effectively, keep instructions as simple as possible.
Implement prevention strategies
Most classroom management pertains to prevention. This includes routines, rules, and structure. All rules should be simple. Routines should include regular breaks. Instruction should use a variety of activities that will engage different learners in your classroom. Recognize strengths in each of your students and celebrate that with them. This will help all students to feel empowered regardless of their learning differences and/or struggles with their lessons.
Empower your class
By creating a positive, fun, and engaging learning environment, your classroom filled with different learners will have a more successful experience. This means that they will retain more information, perform better, and also be more engaged in the topics at hand.