Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Children receiving special education services often have disabilities that require extra help in retaining information. Effective instruction can aid the student in retaining the information. There are two types of information. They are essential and supplemental.
Essential information is the basic knowledge needed to build upon. This information can be used to scaffold. Scaffolding is like a building block. Each block builds upon the last. Essential information is the starting point of learning. Learning can be made exciting by integrating activities and fun games. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing. Activities that involve hands on activities will increase the chances of retaining the information.
Organization of the information is needed when planning effective instruction. Effective instruction begins with the end in mind. Determining what the expected outcome should be will aid in the determination of what should be taught.
Organization of information can also be beneficial when students organize information into advance organizers. Information is more easily retained when it is organized into categories. It should also be presented in the simplest form to the student. The child should be able to see a clear relationship between the new information and prior knowledge.
Supplemental information can be added once basic generalizations have been taught. This information is built upon the basics. It is extra information, but not necessary to teach the objective of the lesson. Adding supplemental information too soon can have a negative effect on learning. It is essential that the basic information is clearly understood first. It takes much effort to change the method of thinking once something is learned. It is best to learn it right the first time. It is also effective to model the end result in order for the student to understand what is expected of him or her. This can be a visual of the report, paper, presentation, or project. Modeling can also be used to present unfamiliar words or vocabulary in order to create a visual. An oral speech can be modeled by the teacher in order to give an accurate example of what is expected from the child.
Instruction can be delivered effectively by presenting information that is essential for scaffolding. Once the basics have been taught, as well as connected to prior knowledge, supplemental information can be added to enhance learning. Effective instruction can make learning fun and productive. Accomplishing small milestones along the way will boost motivation and self-confidence for the child. A little motivation can go a long way.