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My Life as a Sped Teacher: How to Accommodate Students

I have been employed in the field of education for over 7 years and have dual licensure in special/general education as well as a BA.

Every individual is different. As a result, every individual needs different tools to access and participate in educational activities.

For instance: Two college students attend the same class. One may need to take tons of visual notes (using pictures and diagrams) and study using flashcards. While another may just need to hear the lecture to understand and conceptualize it. The first student is a visual learner who needs to "see" information to understand and apply it. The second student is an auditory learner who can hear, capture, and remember auditory information more easily than others.

In other words, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It's how they play to them that determines the outcome.

In this article, we will cover the four styles of learning; hearing, seeing, feeling, and reading/writing. In all of my years of teaching, I have found real strategies to help students whether in special education or not. We will talk about everyday tools that could help students with these styles thrive in any environment.

Hearing

Students who learn best by hearing the content and key information need access to a lecture or audio version of the curriculum. They may learn better during read-aloud time than during independent reading.

Helpful tools for students such as these may include:

  1. Noise-canceling headphones during computer time
  2. A voice recorder
  3. Video or audio directions/tutorials/books/etc. (such as Khan Academy videos)
  4. A seat near quiet students
  5. Permission to give oral presentations instead of written essays
  6. Small group work so that they can hear content-specific vocabulary during discussions

These strategies and tools will help students who learn by hearing be more successful.

Next up, let's talk about students who learn best by seeing.

Seeing

Students who learn best by seeing the content and key information need access to a visual/text version of the curriculum. They may learn better during PowerPoint presentations and labs than during lectures. Visual aids are key for these students.

Helpful tools for students such as these may include:

  1. Graphic organizers
  2. Visuals such as graphs, charts, and illustrations
  3. PowerPoint presentations
  4. A seat near model students (students who learn by seeing may find it helpful to see and replicate what their peers are doing)
  5. A visual notebook/notetaking

These strategies and tools will help students who learn by seeing become more successful.

Next up, let's talk about students who learn best by feeling (sensory).

Feeling

Students who learn best by feeling the content/manipulatives, etc. need access to hands-on activities that correlate with the curriculum. They may learn better during active role-playing, building, sensory and lab activities than during reading or lectures. Hands-on activities are key for these students.

Helpful tools and strategies for students such as these may include:

  1. Fidgets
  2. Games
  3. Role-playing
  4. Hands-on/building activities
  5. Art projects to show what they know

These strategies and tools will help students who learn by feeling the material become more successful.

Next up, let's talk about students who learn best by reading and/or writing.

Reading and Writing

Students who learn best by reading and/or writing the content and key information need access to a text version of the curriculum and note taking tools/instruction. They may learn better during independent reading and/or writing assignments than during lectures. Providing a cohesive text is key for these students.

Helpful tools and strategies for students such as these may include:

  1. Graphic organizers
  2. Independent reading time
  3. Notebooks
  4. Opportunities to share what they have read in writing (book reports may be more effective than verbal presentations)
  5. The use of a computer to type and organize notes (Google docs is a great way for students to take notes and be able to access them from any computer)

These strategies and tools will help students who learn best by reading and writing become more successful.

For More Information, Please Read

  • My Life as a Sped Teacher: Parents
    As a special education teacher, I have worked with many challenging parents. This article covers strategies for effectively working with these parents. Teaching students is our joy. Their parents are the reason we work 60 hour weeks.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Miranda Hoepfner