Teaching & Instruction
Teaching and effective instruction for students with learning disabilities requires specialized knowledge in the areas of spoken language, reading, writing, and math. This section contains readings that reflect knowledge of best practices and evidence based instruction within each area.
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Mike Kersjes spent more than a decade teaching students with learning disabilities. His first special education teaching job was in an inner-city school in a cubicle that "barely fit five people," ....a "pitiful excuse for a classroom" that sent "a message to the kids who were taught there: You are worthless." Mike later began teaching at Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
When Mike Kersjes, a high school special education teacher and football coach, read in 1987 a magazine article about Space Camp, he knew his students would love to go. Located at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., the camp allows students to spend six days training and living like astronauts.
Ms. Vorenberg has a BA from the University of New Hampshire and a MS in Early Education from Wheelock College. She has worked extensively in independent schools in the Boston area. A special interest is the effects of the media on children. She is a Felton Media Scholar who has made a video program for children "On My Own - Kids' Learning Adventures." A Shady Hill School teacher featured in the video "ADHD and the 21st Century," Ms Vorenberg is now the head of the lower school program at Shady Hills School.
We report the perceptions of a first-year teacher of students with learning disabilities. The teacher describes her first-year challenges and successes; presents her views on assessment, accountability, and inclusion; and makes recommendations for new teachers entering the field. In addition, she suggests steps that teacher educators, school administrators, and experienced teachers can take to ensure the success of first-year teachers. We conclude with observations on teacher retention, first-year teaching experiences, and teacher-education programs.
Carol-Ann Kinane graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY in 1989 with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Education. She became dual certified through a Marist/Vassar College program for elementary and special education.
Blanche Podhajski, Ph.D. is the founder and President of the Stern Center for Language and Learning in Williston and White River Junction, Vermont. She is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.
When the student technology match has not worked, what key questions should be asked?
Management of APD should incorporate three primary principles: (1) environmental modifications, (2) remediation (direct therapy) techniques, and (3) compensatory strategies. All three of these components are necessary for APD intervention to be effective. Learn more about what can be done in the classroom to help students with auditory processing disorder.
Both students and educators become frustrated when students beyond 3rd grade display reading difficulties. These research-based reading strategies can build a foundation for reading success in students of all ages.
This month our mentor teacher is Jane Quenneville, an assistive technology specialist for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Jane, was most recently chosen as teacher of the year for the Special Education Annex, an itinerant group of professionals who serve students with disabilities. Jane began her career as an occupational therapist.
Mr. Self comes to teaching math to adolescents with learning disabilities from an unlikely route. He began in the business world. After his last child finished college he decided to follow his passion-teaching students to understand the concepts of math.
Handwriting is a complex skill that is not often taught directly. It is not unusual for some students with disabilities to have difficulty with handwriting. These students may also have sensory integration problems. Handwriting Club is a format that provides direct instruction in handwriting combined with sensory integration activities. This article describes all the steps and materials necessary to organize and conduct a handwriting club.
Out of frustration, many high school teachers today ask 'why test?' This book chapter describes authentic ways to evaluate student progress and, thus, the true effectiveness of instruction. Other topics are a discussion of grading students with disabilities, their participation in high stakes assessments, and making accommodations and modifications in testing.