John R. Osner - Mentor Teacher

By: John R. Osner

Q. What are effective strategies you have found?

A. I make a real effort to focus on a student's strengths. In class we build on strengths and self-esteem by creating a lot of "hands on" projects. For example, when I am teaching fractions we use visual building concepts of blocks and pictures to help students understand. We try different strategies if one does not work, another will. I have a very strong background in the Slingerland adaptations of the Orton-Gillingham simultaneous multi-sensory approach for children with specific language difficulties.

Q. How can teachers learn new skills?

A. One of the most important things teachers can do is to go to conferences that offer training in new techniques. I learned this as a new teacher. Each summer I present teacher training sessions to help teachers learn better teaching strategies.

Q. What is the most difficult thing to teach?

A. For a child who has poor rote memory skills teaching can be difficult. If you try teaching in many different ways, however, a child has a better chance to learn. It is very difficult to help remediate spelling problems. This is especially true when rote memory is weak.

The Slingerland adaptation for classroom use of the Orton Gillingham aproach.

The Slingerland courses are post-baccalaureate, upper division courses designed to introduce and futher familiarize teachers to the multi-sensory classroom instructional approach appropriate for the prevention and/or remediation of Specific Language Disability (dyslexic) students. This approach is based on the works of Orton -Gillingham. Each course has daily demonstrations of teaching approaches with SLD students and supervised one-hour tutorials for teacher trainees. The workshops also teach parent conference strategies.

About the Mentor Teacher:

Math Instruction

Math instruction using visual models

When you walk on the campus of the Charles Armstrong school you see the work of John Osner. School yards with complicated geometric designs created by his students for math projects and other projects reflect the passion of his teaching and of his students. John as tught children with dyslexia for over twenty years at the Charles Armstrong school. He also has been a member of the faculty senate of the Slingerland Institute. He often presents teacher training workshops. Two of his favorite topics are: "Visual Models of Mathematical Operations" and "The Language of Mathematics." His active, interactive style of teaching can be seen in math projects that look at the stars or circumferences around trees. Another favorite is the Readathon in which students arrive in the pajamas to read stories for an entire day. To envision an active, func learning enviroment for students with dyslexia, visit the room of John Osner.

Readathon Play and Learning

"Readathon"…one of the many projects students love Let's all work together. The campus has many examples students working together using math to create places of play and learning.

Fun Learning Circumferences and more

The angles of stars can also tell us a lot about math. Fun learning for all even though school work extends beyond the normal day. Circumferences and more...

John R. Osner (2001)