Accomodations in the Classroom
Helping One Another Achieves More
Why Accommodations are Important in Your Classroom
Teaching today has become a task that is trying at times, especially since there are so many different learners in one class. Most educators are familiar with the word differentiating instruction. This word is in fact, not new to the education profession but one which has become more useful for teachers of students who are now included in regular classrooms. When teachers differentiate and accommodate the differences in their classroom everyone in the class benefits.
One of the most pressing issues facing many special needs students lies within the fact that they have low self esteem. Many lack a positive sense of self worth and are quick to doubt their abilities. As a teacher, it is very difficult, although not impossible, to improve the learning disabled student’s self esteem. This task can be just as trying as teaching academia to the student. However, learning what motivates the learning disabled student is essential to undoing the negative self image that has followed the student throughout his or her life. In the essence, this low self worth perpetuates the self fulfilling prophecy that he or she is a failure and cannot do anything right and thus the student either resorts to using this as a crutch or fails to attempt to achieve.
Due to attitudes such as this, it is of utmost importance to accommodate and work with learning disabled student’s so that they may achieve greater self worth, higher levels of self esteem and in the end become more academically focused. If the learning disabled student continues to experience situations where this does not occur than we have failed him or her in his/her educational pursuits.
As educators, it is not only our responsibility to provide knowledge to students, but it is also our responsibility to give our student’s the social tools that they need to be successful in life.
Classroom Strategies and Accommodations for Learning Disabled Students
There are many ways in which educators can accommodate or differentiate instruction to effectively meet the needs of all students in their class. One way in which this may be achieved is through encuring that your classroom is structured. Teachers and students benefit when the classroom environment is structured and distractions are not able to be an impact upon the education of all students. One disruption in a classroom can throw the whol class off balance and certainly make you day chaotic. Students make often complain when you are requiring them to follow certain rules but in the end they appreaciate classes where structure is an important part of the day. It demonstrates to them that you care about their education and value them as people. It also creates a safe environment for students who may not normally come from homes where it is safe.
Another way that learning disabled students can be accommodated within the general education classroom is through a shared responsibility of classroom expectations. It is important to establish a baseline set of rules for your students by making classroom rules together and allowing them to be a part of the process. The students should feel as though they are involved in the process in order to take ownership for their own education. In my teaching experiences I would always start the year by discussing what classroom rules were needed and why they were needed. Once that had been established, students were encouraged to help me create classroom rules and consquences. Most students enjoyed this process and even created the posters to be placed around their classroom. It gave them a sense of ownership and made them feel empowered to act when others were disrupting their learning.
Lastly, another way learning disabled students can be accommodated within the general education classroom is by providing activities which are interesting to your students (Lerner, 2003). By asking the students and getting to know what their interests are, a teacher can gauge what types of activities to include in their planning. To many teachers this may seem like you are allowing the students to be in control. However, the teacher still has the final say in what is taught. This is simply a way to make the students feel like the teacher cares about their likes, needs and wants and makes them want to achieve success. The more interesting an activity is to a student, the more vested he or she will be in his education. Providing students with the ability to take some control of their learning makes them feel empowered to want to learn. In my classes I would always start by giving my students an interest inventory and use this to determine how I would teach that class. If a class was more interested in learning via projects, I would incorporate more projects. Meeting the needs of all students and differentiating the instruction to fit each class is crucial to your success as a teacher.
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