Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Children with disabilities often have a hard time getting involved with the learning process. Merely listening to instruction is not enough. There are ways to enhance instruction and make learning fun.
In days gone by, the average teacher expected their students to memorize facts and processes in order to compete a task. Since every student learns differently, some students benefited from it, but others got left behind. For the most part, learning was boring.
In order to get the attention of all learners, including students receiving special education services, the instructor or teacher would have much more success if the students would relate the information to prior knowledge. This accountable talk would get the students involved by relating to real world experiences.
Students also gain knowledge when they actually do and activity that will allow them to move through a process step by step. Hands-on activities are a great way to demonstrate learning. Students also benefit from games that relate to the learning objective.
My students enjoy learning when games are involved. The same information come to life with little to no effort when the students are having fun. Simple vocabulary words can become the words for a hangman game or even a matching word game. Addition problems can become less of a challenge when they are turned into a bingo game in which the winner gains a reward. This could include free computer time or a free homework pass.
Arts and crafts can be integrated into a math or language arts class. Students can develop a project using markers, crayons, construction paper, paint, or color pencils. The learning begins when the students are allowed to get as creative as they want to be. In this instance, teaching is reverted from teacher led to student led. Once curiosity is achieved, students will begin to ask questions and apply knowledge to complete a task.
Students will also get a chance to work together. This will build social skills. Students are often intimidated by other students when they are not confident about their academic skills. Group activities allow students to build the confidence needed to work with others.
Games are fun. Learning can be made fun. It all depends on the presentation of the information. Some students learn by listening. Others learn by reading. The majority of students would benefit by actually doing the activity. Games can turn any lesson into a great learning experience.