Remote learning is asking teachers to dramatically rethink how they structure and teach their lessons. To help students do their best work, it is important to provide appropriate structure and support—from both teachers and parents.
For example, students with dyslexia can be strong writers, while also struggling with things like spelling, reading out loud, or writing quickly. Proper supports can help students through these issues.
Below our intrepid middle school correspondent shares a day where she struggled to keep pace with writing assignments that lacked the structure she needs to succeed.
We started off the day with English where we were doing Shakespeare. The teacher put us in groups, and the goal was to rewrite a Shakespeare monologue in modern day English. There were a couple problems with this. First of all my group was very quick to jump at any spelling mistakes or incorrect words that my voice dictation might have put in. Secondly, our group was meant to communicate over a video call but it was hard to communicate with my group about what I wanted said. Also most of us were unclear about the instructions because the teacher never gave clear instructions, which didn’t exactly help.
Shakespeare is challenging at the best of times, especially for students with dyslexia, but plunging them in without support is a recipe for disaster. This student is actually a whiz at using voice dictation, but hearing other students criticize her typos prevented her from having equal input. There is a time to focus on spelling (such as when turning in an edited draft), but not during group discussion. These students would benefit from directions around what is and what is not important during group work.
In these remote learning times, we are hearing a lot about students not understanding directions. Without a clear understanding of what is expected and the steps to get there, students will be frustrated and may simply stop working. Help students understand what they need to do by providing different ways to ask for clarification and taking time to check their understanding of the directions before breaking into groups.
Hard days are probably inevitable during remote learning. These days might be even harder for our students with learning differences, which means we must be extra vigilant. A little extra direction could make all the difference.
- Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director
This post is part of our Real-Life Experiences with Remote Learning series.