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NAU ESE 625 - Study Notes

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50Section Three - Learning and Barriers We know that students have many ways of learning. We have common sense and research that assures us that we do not learn in the same way, find interest in the same things and that we have different ways of approaching how we learn. At present, our system of education sends out two conflicting messages. • the individual really matters and • we teach subjects, not students. That incongruity heightens when we look at standardized testing. By the time a student gets into high school, the gap between what an individual student is able to learn and what that student had better be learning can be quite a chasm. The situation is made more difficult by pressures to use one set of scores to decide who is teaching and learning, and the pressure for everyone to have a diploma to be considered for employment. If a student who does not learn in the typical way. It can feel rather like trying to get into the swim of things with a killer whale circling the iceberg. Since the educational climate isn't likely to change, we need to be the professionals who find a way to serve our students. We cannot coax a student to jump off the cliff without the skills to succeed. At the same time, we can't leave them teetering on the edge, unable to dive in and find success. Every student is precious, so it makes no sense to take a "survival of the fittest" stance either. The cost of failure is high - high for the student, the family, the community, and our own sense of hopelessness and inadequacy. So what can we do? We support the student while we prepare them. If the student cannot learn to read, we teach coping, shortcuts, support systems, assistive technological advances. Not able to learn math? We utilize calculators, computers, peers, manipulatives. Short attention span? We help the student find ways to focus more efficiently If a student has difficulty learning as most teachers teach, if entrance exams will be failed and doors closed because the student does not know how to learn, then we must teach the student how to find and use power tools. This next section addresses the possibility that we can expedite learning for students who have previously been thwarted.51 I am a teacher, and I believe in teaching and learning. I believe that great teachers teach what a student needs to learn, is prepared to learn, is excited about and motivated to learn. A great teacher does not teach to the test for the sake of scores -- a master teacher teaches the student what he or she can learn for the sake of the student. And a student's skills are honed so that student can be all he or she is and share that with other youth, and ultimately with society. I believe each of us has strengths and hard places when we are learning, but I believe in seeing what will work, not what will look good. Low scores = not able to work comfortably at the same pace and on the same material as peers. They may signal learning problems, or missed skills, but they may also tell us that the student is just not ready to process that information. They may let us know that math is not a strength, but they do not tell us that math is a disability. They may tell us that the student is not ready to learn math as it is being presented, but they do not tell us that the student is not ready to learn math. They may tell us that the student is not ready to learn math today, but they do not tell us that a student is not ever going to be ready to learn math. Low scores do not = learning disability Remember the big picture --- today the student is not learning, so how can you empower him to learn tomorrow? The student may not do well on the tests --- how can you prepare him to do well in life? The student may not be able to do everything in school .... at age 50 .... not so far away .... what will s/he be able to contribute to the community? Today you set the foundation for that contribution or unfulfilled promise.52 When we look at what is working, we find a key. When we look at what a student can do - likes to do - is passionate about doing, We find a learning ability. When we recognize what a student: • cannot do • puts off, • refuses to work on, • gets poor scores on, • finds frustrating and confusing, that is the key to allowing us do a better job of helping the youth. We view it as a challenge - an opportunity. Because we honor the name, TEACHER, when we find something a student cannot do, we find a challenge rather than a disability. Our challenge is to find what will work, what ought to come next, to prepare the student . . . TO DO and To Succeed When we find something a student may never be able to do - we move on to what they can do rather than labeling the student as disabled. Can't carry a tune? Then that is not your strength, so we focus on what you can do. Can't memorize times tables? We will help you memorize something else, and give you a calculator. Can't see colors? We will help you adapt and work on what you do well. Dr. J's Socratic Creed I believe that each person whom I teach will be a wiser person and a better human being for having been my student. I believe in the moral, intellectual, emotional, social and physical upward development of every human being. I believe that my presence as a teacher can promote and facilitate rather than retard this complete development. I promise I shall never use my position of authority to belittle another human, but rather I shall always relate to the students under my care with the respect and the dignity they deserve, as the highest form of earthly life; capable of becoming more noble, perhaps with my help. I promise to continue in my own upward development as a whole person and to devote my professional life to the practice of this creed.53 Reading issues and dyslexia "I can't read that." "Do letters move around when you try to read?" "Yeah, I read the directions!" "This is stupid." My dad makes a ton of money and he didn't graduate! * * * * * * * * * * * * * Definition: Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability in which a person has trouble reading words, sentences or paragraphs. Both oral and written language are affected. The Definition of Dyslexia as adopted by the Research Committee of IDA, May 11, 1994 and the National Institutes of Health, 1994 is... Dyslexia is one of several distinct


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