Monday, August 21, 2006

Take Five ~ A Forced Change

Without going into much detail about my students, I am so humbled watching my almost deaf student raise his hand to comment, watch his sign language interpreter as well as me, and be right in there laughing at my silly comments. Student-centered learning is completely his world. He has had to adapt lessons his whole schooling and now does it with ease. I find myself slowing down, making certain that I give more visual cues, visual notes, and more opportunities for not only this student, but others to find meaning in my messages. I know I have only had 2 full days of class, but even with just this focus, I am making my classes more constructivist. I don't need to spew out information for my students, partially because I am worried he will miss it, but more importantly, because they need to create connections. I will steer them in the direction needed, but as I saw just today in teaching inductive thinking, students get it. When given the opportunity to stretch themselves, to take specifics and make generalizations, they can...and do.

I am so thankful that I have this special needs student in my class. It has forced me to think about my instruction, and to change it.


At 8:14 PM, Blogger Karl Fisch said...

I think we've all had students like this that make us realize that what we do for students with "special needs" is often very good for the rest of the students as well.

This reminds me of something I read somewhere that was talking about a class of students and how two-thirds of the class had a learning disability of some kind. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of "If two-thirds of the students are labeled 'disabled', maybe it's not the students that are disabled but the system."

At 10:05 AM, Blogger lgaffney said...

I know what you mean, Michele! It's amazing to me the connections kids will make when we allow them.
When designing our short story unit for English 10, Jared and I decided to introduce "Hills like White Elephants", a very difficult story by Hemingway. Jared was hesitant as he felt, and rightfully so, the story's meaning would be very difficult for sophomores to access.
We decided to take a chance and included the story. Not only did both my sophomore classes discover the story's meaning, they also pointed out insights I had never thought of.
They were so proud of themselves and left my classroom feeling empowered because they accessed the meaning in a college level text themselves; I merely facilitated this discovery.
How empowering to both student and teacher! It just goes to show that if we raise the bar and give them a chance to reach it, they usually will!

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Davis said...

Great job Lauren. I would love to hear more about your lesson and how you helped them create understanding. I bet they loved figuring out this story. Bravo!


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