Learning Disability Observation Report

Summary of Observations

The student with learning disabilities was included in the mainstream class where he was learning with the other students without disabilities. The class had 25 students. The class was analyzed during English lessons and students were taught about different tenses including present, past, past participle and future tenses. The student and the classroom were analyzed for 40 minutes per lesson. The lessons were in the morning and mid-morning periods. To ensure that the student with learning disabilities benefited from the instructions, the students sat at the front of the class. This way, the student was next to the teacher hence the teacher could easily track his progress. The desks were made in a way that they were plain without any distractions. Nevertheless, for the student with a learning disability, pencils, erasers and rules were attached on the desk for easier accessibility. The student was seating in the middle row, not near windows or doors. The student was taught how to sit up, lean forward and to raise questions. Accordingly, the student was allowed to interrupt so as to seek for further clarification. The students would use physical signs to demonstrate either lack of comprehension or comprehension.

The teacher employed different mechanisms to ensure that the student’s environment was periodically changed. For instance, one time, the student used real objects which were placed before the students. The student interacted with the objects to enhance learning. On another time, the teacher used drawings. Drawings came in different colors. Aside from this, when the teacher got into class, she made sure that all the students including the one with disability removed unnecessary gloves, scarves, hats or coats. This was with the aim of ensuring maximum concentration without feeling sleepy. The teacher also employed the usage of visual displays to help the student follow classroom directions. Moreover, the teacher provided reminders to help the students remember routine activities like lunch and tea breaks.

Instructional Strategies

In the dissemination of instruction, the teacher used three different approaches, thus, direct instruction, employment of simultaneous, sequential structured multi-sensory approach and learning strategy instruction. The teacher also made sure that different students taught and explicated what had been learnt to the student with learning disability through group activities. In a study that was carried out, it was found that use of structured per-assisted learning activities enhances instructions delivery to students with learning disabilities (Gersten & Clarke, 2014). From a general perspective, the teacher broke learning into miniature steps. The teacher also administered probes, used pictures, graphics and diagrams to supplement the words used in instruction given in words. The teacher also considered instructional practices that were supported by the student with learning disability. In the instruction delivery, the teacher considered individual learning, individual progress and individual achievement of the student. The teacher employed the usage of intensive remedial, individualized and specific instruction.

The teacher used different method to deliver in lesson presentation including teach-pair share activities and hands on activities. To enable this, the teacher splits the tasks into smaller and easier to understand steps. When the students finished with any step, the teacher would ask for feedback. The teacher would incorporate the feedback gathered in the next task. The teacher also employed the usage of self-monitoring techniques. In this sense, the teacher set goals pertaining to a certain tasks and the goals were supposed to be accomplished within a certain time. This is in line with Virginia guidelines teaching students with disabilities, which demand that teachers should administer a test in divergent timed sessions of over a number of days. In the same lines, the teacher is supposed to provide a planner (Virginia Department of Education, 2014). The teacher subsequently checks whether the student with a learning disability has reduced, increased on maintained time used for a certain activity. The teacher also used highlighters to help the student identify key words in sentences. For instance, it was a class on tenses and hence a specific color was used to show a verb in a specific tense. For example, green was used for all present forms of verbs while pink for all past tenses of verbs. Moreover, the teacher also used auditory, visual and physical signals to redirect the student to as to help the student to stay on the task at hand. The student was heartened to vocalize or whisper the procedure and content. The instructions and activities were not continuous. The students were given in between breaks.

Games and videos were used to reinforce content delivery. The videos were mostly cartoons and animations which came in different sizes, shapes and colors. This was used to boost on the usage of visual and audio materials for content delivery. In accordance to Gersten and Clarke (2014), the use of visual representation is crucial for students with learning disabilities. The teachers also employed the utilization of mnemonics strategy to enhance the memory and level of information retention in the student. Moreover, the teacher integrated the use of modeling procedures, cooperative learning in which the teacher worked hand in hand with the student to ensure acquisition of knowledge and altered objectives and the methodology used depending on the progress of the student in the classroom (Vaughn et al., 2011).

While disseminating instruction, the teacher kept on looking at the student’s work. The teacher also asked the student different question to ascertain the level of comprehension. In situations where the student exhibited low level of comprehension, the teacher altered the curriculum to help the student adjust to the level of the rest of the student. This was done doing independent reading. In this case, the students displayed difficulties with respect to pronouns. The teacher engaged the student privately to enhance knowledge on the same. This helped the student to catch up with the rest of the other students. The teacher used different assignment, assessments and class question to determine the level of understandability of the student. While asking questions and administering tests, the teacher did not just consider the tenses, text comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonics and phonemic awareness were also considered. Research has established that considering all these aspects enhances the student’s language skills (Virginia Department of Education, 2014).

Classroom Management

The teacher knew that the student had memory related difficulties. Consequently, the teacher used structures, procedures and routines to reduce overloading of the working memory. The teacher also broke the class tasks into smaller tasks to enhance memory. The teachers also used sequential, simple and short directions to mitigate problems in relations to working memory. The teacher also modified the classroom environment by defining the learning areas, organizing the materials used for content delivery an ensured that these materials were available and accessible. The strategy used in executing this thwarted distractions and diminished interruptions (Virginia Department of Education, 2014). The teachers also implemented the behavior management strategies. The teacher made certain that the student took part in classroom group and pair activities. This was with the aim of escalation the student’s pro-social behavior. The teacher also takes into account some of the difficulties that might be affecting the academic and other spheres of life of the student and comes up with effective methods of dealing with the same.

The promotion of positive classroom based behavior intervention can pave way for the promotion of educational environments which thwart inappropriate classroom behaviors. The teacher praised the student when he engaged in positive behavior. The teacher also rewarded the students for example by allowing him to draw what he likes. Research has determined that the adoption of such contingency interventions diminishes chances of occurrence of inappropriate behaviors in the classroom (Virginia Department of Education, 2014). The teacher also promoted social skill through adoption of group activities as an activity for dissemination of instructions. The teacher also promoted independence, self-advocacy and assertiveness ion the student to promote self-determination. The teacher would allow the student to choose a task he preferred and execute it without little guidance. The student was also allowed to suggest what he wished to for the lesson in some of the occasions.

Evaluation

Through the methods used in the classroom, the teacher was able to accomplish different needs of the student. The student could not miss out due to his learning disability. The teacher also accorded the student special focus so as to enable the student catch up with the rest of the students. Moreover, the teacher also used different methods for instruction delivery. This helped the student to actively participate in class activities without feeling bored. In addition to the methods used in the classroom, more technology can be incorporated in the class. Thus, all students are supposed to be accessed to computers which use computer-assisted technology. This is with the aim of improving the language, communication and social skills of the students (Ploog, Scharf, Nelson & Brooks, 2013). This will also help the students to acquire skills that will enable them to maneuver through this digital world. Moreover, collaboration with the parents in relation to execution of assignments has to also be enhanced.

References

Gersten, R. & Clarke, B. (2014). Effective Strategies Brief: Effective Strategies for Teaching Students with Difficulties in Mathematics. Retrieved Nov 18, 2014, from National Council of Teachers of Mathematics: http://www.nctm.org/news/content.aspx?id=8452

Ploog, B., Scharf, A., Nelson, D. & Brooks, P. (2013). Use of Computer-Assisted Technologies (CAT) to Enhance Social, Communicative, and Language Development in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(2), 301-322.

Vaughn, S., Klinger, J., Swanson, E., Boardman, E., Roberts, G., Mohammed, S. et al. (2011). Efficacy of Collaborative Strategic Reading With Middle School Students. American Educational Research Journal, 48(4), 938-64.

Virginia Department of Education. (2014). Virginia’s Guidelines for Educating Students with Specific Learning Disabilities. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Education.

 

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