2. Instruction – The teacher uses research-based instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.
3. Differentiation – The teacher acquires and uses specific knowledge about students’ cultural, individual intellectual and social development and uses that knowledge to adjust their practice by employing strategies that advance student learning.
I really enjoyed taking the course, EDSP 6644 Educating Exceptional Students. Throughout the course I was able to examine the learning needs of students with a wide variety of disabilities and learn strategies for inclusion of these students in my general education classroom. In addition, through classroom reading assignments, instruction, and blackboard discussion I gained a deeper understanding in how to support students with specific learning needs, more explicitly how to modify lessons, provide classroom accommodation (environment) and implement appropriate social behavior skills.
One assignment that helped me really closely examine how I can do this in my own classroom was the peer-reviewed assignment. This assignment required me to research a special education literacy topic from two or more peer-reviewed journals, evaluate the content and then summarize how it could be applied to teaching instruction. I spent about a week trying to narrow down my research topic and had the opportunity to read through many peer reviewed journals and articles.
I believe this was the most significant learning portion of the assignment. Not only did I learn where to locate online professional resources, but also read many different articles about supporting students with learning needs! The benefit of reading through so many articles was that I saved these articles and placed them into my literacy unit folders as a way to reference support strategies for students when creating lesson plans.
The literacy topic I ended up researching was handwriting support for elementary students with learning disabilities. The article I read Teaching Handwriting to Elementary Students With Learning Disabilities: A Problem-Solving Approach, written by Shawn Datchuk explored how teachers can more effectively support students with learning disabilities improve on their handwriting skills. The article gave a very specific and clear problem solving approach that included: how to evaluate student work, collect evidence, and target specific handwriting problems in order to provide specific handwriting support to each student. I have started using the problem solving approach suggested in the articles and have actually passed it on to the first, second and third grade teachers in my school.
In conclusion I learned that, while educating exceptional learners can be a difficult challenge for the general educator, with the right knowledge, tools and resources it is can be done and done well. The peer-reviewed assignment was an excellent way for me to narrow down a broad topic like handwriting support for students with learning disabilities and explore it in greater detail and depth.
To read my peer reviewed assignment please link to: york.peer.review
Datchuk, S. (2015). Teaching Handwriting to Elementary Students With Learning Disabilities: A Problem-Solving Approach. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 48(1), 19-27. doi:10.1177/0040059915594782