Subject-Specific Pedagogy: Students With Special Needs Essay
One student activity from the outline of plans that could be challenging for the student
Many outlines of teaching schemes have diverse activities that students are required to undertake. Not all such activities are easy while the student is handling them. Students encounter inevitable challenges when they are left to participate in some academic activities. Julie’s case that forms the basis of the arguments of this study is a working illustration of the above position. In fact, one of the students’ activities that are likely to be very challenging for Julie is activity number three. This involves discussing, presenting, and writing an essay. From the student description, Julie has difficulties in focusing. Although she is able to read the text at her grade, she has difficulties in writing and communicating verbally.
Reasons why the activity above could be challenging for the student
In this activity, learners are expected to discuss the pre-Revolutionary wartime and the Revolutionary wartime. After the discussion of the pre-American Revolution and the American Revolution itself, the learners are expected to do an oral presentation and a written essay. With her difficulties in oral communication skills, Julie may have challenges while communicating to the class during the presentation. Oral presentation requires the communicator to have fluency and confidence. It is embarrassing for one to fail to communicate verbally in public. Due to her aggression when dealing with other pupils at her level, Julie is likely to be appointed to present the findings of her group. The group is likely to score low marks since Julie will take time to explain points hence making the audience unable to follow her. For people with verbal difficulties, it is difficult to make out the meaning of their words since there is little or no coherence. Public speakers ought to be very fluent and entertaining. Julie does not have these skills. Her classmates who are said to dislike her aggressive behavior may also feel uncomfortable to listen to her.
The other difficulty will be the writing of the essay. It is a requirement of the students’ activities that learners write an essay after the discussion. The essay is also supposed to be written by individual students. Julie has difficulties in writing. This will therefore be a big hurdle for her. It is also worth noting that, in the previous students’ activities, learners were allowed to work in groups. However, when writing the essay students are supposed to do individual work. Her classmates could have helped Julie during the discussion and presentation of the findings. However, essay writing may prove very difficult for her especially when working alone. With her difficulties in writing, writing a whole essay may be very difficult for her.
Essay writing requires a clear comprehension of the subject before writing. Julie has a problem focusing on various issues. It may be challenging for her to focus and/or write about two broad issues: pre-revolutionary and revolutionary war times. Putting all the factors together, differentiating them by timeframe, and writing about them may be very challenging for a learner with difficulties in focusing. Essay writing also requires planning. Julie will be required to come up with a draft of the whole essay before embarking on the actual writing. Pre-writing also requires focusing skills. The writer has to have a bigger picture of the whole essay before writing. Such a step will be an uphill task for Julie. Coordination of points and events to achieve a true flow of the essay may also be very challenging. Separating one idea from the other in a paragraph is also likely to be challenging for Julie. It is therefore possible that Julie will fail in essay writing and that she needs special assistance in this area.
It is also projected under the activity that learners will operate in teams to investigate the origin of occupational modifications in the course of (as well as after) the revolutionary period of war. These groups are also supposed to be cooperative in finding the answerers and presenting them in class. However, from the description, Julie is very aggressive when dealing with her peers. She is said to dominate whole-class discussions and groups during learning. Such behavior may make the other learners uncomfortable with her. It is also difficult for other learners to express their opinions openly and freely. Too much domination especially by a person with difficulties in speaking may be boring and demoralizing to other learners. The learner herself may not be able to learn anything from the rest of the group since they will believe that she is an all-knowing individual. It will also be difficult for such a learner to accept positive criticism and correction. Therefore, Julie may not be able to work well in a group situation too. Working with such a learner requires a lot of patience. In fact, her peers are said to be frustrated by her behavior. This makes Julie a poor team player.
How I would adapt the activity to meet the needs of the student
It is possible to tailor the student activity discussed above to meet the learner’s needs. This can be done through various teachers’ intervention measures. For example, in order to solve Julie’s challenge of being aggressive in the group and dominating group and class discussion, the teacher will closely supervise the group. The teacher will also appoint a group leader that can be able to regulate the contribution of Julie in the group. Learners will also be required to follow a certain interval of turn-taking when responding to various discussion questions. The presentation problem will also be solved by teaching the other learners to be supportive to students like Julie who have verbal problems especially when they are doing the presentation. Learners will be required to appreciate the efforts of students with speaking problems and to encourage them to improve their oral skills. On the problem of writing, the learner will be encouraged to do writing practice in order to gain confidence and to perfect the skills. The teacher will also use her learning mates to correct her constantly whenever she makes a mistake in writing. Individual learners will be required to read each other’s work and correct it.
How my adaptation would be effective for the student in making progress toward achieving the learning goal(s) of this unit
Ensuring that the teacher supervises the learners during group work will enable the student with special needs to learn to work with others. The teacher will watch over the happenings in the group during the discussion and move swiftly to correct mistakes. Whenever Julie seems to dominate the rest of the group, the teacher will play an extra role in regulating the discussion. The student with special needs will get close monitoring to learn that other students’ ideas and opinions are also important for a healthy discussion. Close monitoring will also make the group successful since the teacher can correct errant members through punishment and reward good participants. Julie will also learn to obey the rules of every situation in a bid to ensure success.
This discipline will also be transferred to the field and other social places. The learner will learn to appreciate other people’s opinions. The use of strong group leaders will also enable the effectiveness of the learning process. Since Julie is very aggressive when working with other students, a strong group leader will be able to moderate her contribution. Such a leader needs to be very charismatic so that he or she is able to create a pattern of responding to issues and questions. Such a move will give every learner an opportunity to express him or herself while still taking care of Julie. Julie has been dominating learning discussions in class and even outside classroom activities. It is also possible that she will also dominate if there is no strong control from within the group. With difficulties in focusing, Julie may continuously divert the attention of the group members to irrelevant matters. For a special needs student like Julie coordinating events and years may be a challenge. Hence, the rest of the group through their group leaders should be able to correct her.
Adoption of constant writing practice will also enable Julie to improve on her writing skills. While writing, practice and constant corrections enable learners to improve gradually. The adaptation will also bring the student close to the teacher. Therefore, she will be able to learn more from the extra attention. Julie requires two hours of extra attention each day. Therefore, this should also be translated into her writing skills improvement. Oral skills will also be improved through socialization in groups and with the teacher. The learning mates should be able to correct the learner whenever she makes a mistake. The teacher will also be able to correct the learner during her constant monitoring. For example, during the presentations, both the learners and the teacher will be able to listen to Julie as she makes her presentation and corrects her immediately. All these efforts will enable the success of the lesson and the achievement of learning goals.
Additional instructional student activity from the lesson plan that could be challenging for the student
It will also be a challenge for the learners to operate in some mutual teams while making a visual aid that reveals the quality of life in the course of the revolutionary period of war. It will also be difficult for her to cooperate with the entire class to make a full record of such features. In addition, while working alone, the student will have difficulties in finishing a Venn chart weighing against the two records of the features.
Reasons why the activity could be challenging for the student
It would be challenging for Julie to work in small cooperative groups. The learner in question has a problem of being very domineering during group discussion. It is also worth noting that even in whole-class discussion Julie is also domineering in them. It will therefore be difficult for Julie to cooperate with her classmates. The group is supposed to be cooperative, which is difficult for Julie. Julie would want to dominate the group with her individual ideas and findings. Poor ability to focus on various ideas will also make it difficult for Julie to list the defining characteristics of life during various time lines. While developing a comparison chart, the learner is supposed to have the ability to focus on various issues. Julie may not be able to focus on the characteristic of one issue and then move to another related issue.
The group is also tasked with the responsibility of working together and developing a complete list of characteristics of various war times. Such an activity would require cooperation among the group members. The problem with the learner in question is that she would want to take over the discussion and dominate it. This will give little room for other learners to contribute to the discussion. A complete list would suggest that learners brainstorm, use various resources like textbooks, the internet, and the encyclopedia exhaustively before coming to a conclusion. However, Julie may be very impatient with the ideas from other learners. She is likely to dismiss them and dominate the discussion with ideas that she believes to be correct. Such a move will give little room for other group members to share their findings. The result of such an act will be the development of an incomplete list. The ideas that will be developed are likely to emanate from one student; Julie. On the other hand, if the group members endeavor to ignore Julie and her aggressiveness she is also likely to be disadvantaged. It is also likely that such a learner with special needs may feel unappreciated by others in such a group. It will be difficult for Julie to work in this group if the environment gives her little or no room to exercise her domineering behavior. In fact, if the leader of the small cooperative group may be very strict on her moves, Julie may completely withdraw or become angry. This may explain why she has always been left to dominate group and class discussions.
Another challenging task for Julie will be to draw the Venn diagram and to compare the two war times. Julie has a problem with focusing and writing. It will therefore be very difficult for her to focus on different epochs of the war and come up with the distinguishing characteristics alone. Working alone in selecting different characteristics and putting them across the board may be very challenging for Julie. A lot of concentration and focus is required especially when differentiating items and groups. Julie will be required to differentiate between occurrences, war course and causes, the period of fighting, intervention measures, and the impacts of war. Each of these episodes can be challenging for a student with special needs. For example, differentiating between various war times and the exact time of starting and ending may be difficult for someone with difficulties in focusing.
Drawing of the Venn diagram will also be a difficult undertaking for Julie. Since Julie has difficulties in writing and focusing, it is likely to be challenging for her to come up with the Venn diagram and even to fill it correctly. Filling of the Venn diagram will require that the learner focus keenly on related matters. It should be easy for the learner to draw a distinguishing line between the two war times. Such differences will be made concerning time and occurrences.
How I would adapt the activity identified to meet the needs of the student
Activity number two discussed above can be adopted to meet the needs of a learner with special needs like Julie. The teaching activity discussed above will be adopted through the development of well-integrated groups. Since learners are supposed to work in cooperative groups, the teacher will ensure that discussion groups are composed of learners of different abilities. This will enable learners to share ideas and opinions hence assisting those with focusing problems such as Julie. When groups are well integrated, learners like Julie will be able to learn from their classmates. It is also less likely that students with special needs like Julie will dominate a group made up of new or strange students. With less ability to dominate the group members, Julie will have an opportunity to learn from the rest of the students. It will also be possible to discuss. The ability to control and moderate the group will also be made easier. Hence, learners will benefit. It is also possible to enhance the ability of learners to work as a whole class. For example, in this activity, learners are supposed to operate as a team to come up with an inclusive record of the striking features of the revolutionary time of war.
The teacher will moderate the discussion of the whole class so that learners with special needs like Julie who have been dominating in the past will also benefit. For example, the teacher will pick answers from different quotas of the class. Such a strategy will ensure that learners with special needs and their counterparts participate equally in voicing their findings. It will also be possible to create a full record of identifying the features since various students will be given opportunities to express their findings. Chances of having answers originating from a single person will also be reduced. The learners are therefore likely to have complete answerers. Learners with focusing problems will benefit by getting different answerers from the findings of different people.
Learners with special needs will also learn the art of working together with other students in groups instead of always wanting to dominate. Learners will realize that working in groups is likely to elicit more answers than working alone. The teacher will also customize the discussion to the topic of the day in an effort to prevent the students with special needs from straying out of the main topic. It will also be an opportune time for the teacher to correct the learner with difficulties in oral skills. The teacher will immediately correct the mistakes that these students make. In addition, the teacher will also learn the nature and the academic development level of this student when put in a group. The dividing of questions by groups will also make all the students active participants rather than having one student dominates the lesson. At this point, the teacher will appreciate both the right and wrong answers in order to encourage every learner to participate in the discussion.
How my adaptation would be effective for the student in making progress towards achieving the learning goal(s)
Adopting the lesson to ensure the inclusion of all learners will also enhance the achievement of learning goals. For example, by having the teacher moderate the classroom discussion learners will be able to describe the roles played by Americans, British, and Indian leaders during the American Revolution. A moderated group enables the participation and contribution of all members. It is through such control that the teacher will facilitate the creation of a good environment for learners to discuss with each other in a moderated way. For example, one learner will contribute to the role played by Americans during the revolution while another one contributes to the role played by the British and the Indians. In the discussion when one student makes a mistake the others can calmly correct him or her. The student with special needs will also contribute to the debate as the teacher moderates the discussion.
During the group discussion, leaders will ensure the active participation of all members. With good cooperation among the group, members of all the learners will be able to identify the turning points of the American Revolution. This will be made possible if the group leaders will be able to regulate the contribution and participation of every student. For example, the other group members will direct a student with difficulties in focusing such as Julie towards identifying the turning points. This will be made possible through the enhancement of cooperation in the group, which will provide a good environment for the slow learners to learn how to move from one point in history to the other. Since the war was in a sequence of events, the learner with focusing problems will be slowly explained how the war progressed from one point to the other. It will also be interesting for the learner to realize that her classmates are able to remember and narrate the sequence of events during the revolution. In a bid to compete with their classmates to narrate and memorize the sequence of events in the American Revolution, the students will have a better understanding of it all. Hence, the learning goal will be achieved.
Learners are also required to be able to compare the state constitution that was created after the independence with the current constitution. Such a goal will be achieved through enhanced group research on the internet, on the textbooks, and the constitution itself. Use of monitored group discussion where the teacher observes the learners closely as they discuss and make corrections will enable the lesson to achieve this goal. Showing the learners how to complete the Venn diagram that is used for comparison will also enable the achievement of this goal. Comparison of items and occurrences requires a high degree of focusing and attention. Having shown the learners how to relate events and occurrences will enable them to compare the two constitutions.
Progress monitoring assessment I would use to obtain any evidence of the student’s progress towards one or more learning goal(s)
To monitor the student’s progress, I would use class discussions, written reflections, cooperative group work, and presentations. These strategies will be efficient since Julie will be exposed to a situation where she has to participate or perform in an effort to prove her comprehension skills in one or more of the goals set for her. For instance, in a discussion, Julie will have to give her opinions concerning the subject under study. Her ability to defend her opinions will reveal how well she has understood and hence forming the basis of declaring her as well or badly progressing.
The rationale for my choice of assessment
Classroom discussion will enable the teacher to evaluate the ability of the learner to contribute to the discussion and to cooperate with other learners. The teacher can observe from a distance to monitor whether the learner still dominates the group or is controlled. In the case of over-reactivity, the teacher will move in and correct the situation. In order to make sure that Julie is able to draw and to fill the Venn diagram, the teacher will ensure that Julie does enough exercises before the lesson. With such a problem, the drawing may also be difficult. The teacher will also constantly encourage Julie to be confident when filling the diagram before turning in the paper. The teacher in charge will also go around the class and supervise the students’ writing activities. During supervision, the teacher will check on how Julie will be filling the diagram and offer support. It will be possible for the teacher to guide him in the process of filling the diagram since she has difficulties focusing. For example, the teacher will illustrate to him how to relate ideas, how to separate timelines, and how to record the results on the Venn diagram. All these efforts will be meant to ensure that even the students with special needs benefit from the lesson.
Cooperative group work will enable the teacher to monitor the performance of the learner in the group. Learners with special needs like Julie are very aggressive and domineering in groups. The teacher will be able to monitor the participation of the learners. The teacher will control the groups in case the student is very aggressive. Working in a well-coordinated group may prove very challenging for a learner like Julie. When working with the whole class, Julie has always dominated the discussion. The worst bit of it is that she has a problem with her oral skills. The teacher will therefore be able to monitor this behavior by observing her interact. Learners in the fifth grade may not be very patient with such kind of student. Impatience among the learners may result in arguments or worse still a fight. Aggressive students like Julie are easily angered. The teacher will therefore observe the emotional reactions of the student and act on time.
The teacher will also monitor the satisfaction of the learner’s needs through her presentations. The student has a problem with oral communication. The teacher will evaluate whether she is improving through listening to her during her classroom presentation. During the presentation, the teacher will also learn the areas of difficulties and correct them. When working individually, Julie will be required to focus all her attention on the issue in question. The extra time that the teacher puts in for her to keep track with other learners may not be there for the session. Julie is therefore likely to have trouble when working alone. The teacher will therefore observe how she write and differentiate issues. Chances are that she will leave unfilled gaps and that her handwriting will be poor. However, it is crucial to note that such mistakes will be easy to notice and correct.
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