Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Couple of Tips for SPED Teachers #spedchat

As a special education teacher, I find myself constantly in search of instructional strategies that are feasible and that are developmentally appropriate for my students. It would be of a great advantage if they can also be individualized for my very diverse classroom. Systematically analyzing how my students learn is part of my daily routine. Finding out the most effective instructional strategy to meet their needs, I think, is the most challenging part of teaching. Reading and research has been an integral part of my professional inquiry practice. I'm sharing a couple of tips to my colleagues that I recently found helpful...
1. Find resources that will help strengthen understanding of effective practices for students with IEP in a variety of areas like assessments, instruction and behavior supports.
Majority of the students in my classroom have spelling and reading difficulties. Although my school district has a prescribed reading intervention program for students who are struggling in reading, I still find time to do my own research about what works for them based on their individual needs. I have moved beyond the point of making classroom decisions solely based on what I think might work and have borrowed what works from other teachers too.
Fortunately, I am a member of several Professional Learning Networks online and I always find our sharing of resources very helpful. Also, blogging, Twittering and "liking" a Facebook page of a professional organization (of course, interacting with them and reading their relevant updates) has helped me tremendously. Technology has openned up a world of new resources to support traditional teaching methods!
2. Read books about innovative research based instructional practices that are effective for special education and general education students.

As students with disabilities are increasingly the co-responsibility of general and special education, innovative practices that are effective with both general and special education students are valued. The "art" of teaching has rapidly becoming the "science" of teaching, and this is a relatively new phenomenon according to Robert Marzano's book "Classroom Instruction That Works". The book answers most of the questions that teachers ask about their instructional practices: What works for my students? How do we know? How can teachers find out? How can educational research find its way into the classroom? How can we apply it to help our individual students? The book lists and discusses nine broad teaching strategies that have positive effects on student learning. What is great about it is the presentation of extended classroom examples of teachers and students in action, models of successful instruction, and many frames, rubrics, organizers, and charts to help teachers plan and implement the strategies.
We stand at a special point in time. Teachers in the 21st century have access to a host of cutting edge research about how students learn. We must be knowledgeable and be willing to apply such research to the classrooms. We must understand different learning styles and be able to identify them immediately.
Let's embrace 21st Century teaching and learning, and reap the rewards for our students!!

(This is a repost, content still holds true....)

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