My Practice

My Approach

I strive to increase each student’s knowledge and understanding, while having FUN!  Yes, learning can be fun.  I continually challenge students; scaffolding (see below*) them when necessary, and leading them toward independence.  I make it a priority to nurture self-esteem, and create a trusting and authentic relationship with each student, which is the key to helping an individual to reach his or her potential.  Honoring each student’s truth is imperative.

I recognize the importance of using a variety of tools to successfully support students in ways that suit diverse individual learning styles. I support Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence, and incorporate multi-sensory teaching techniques when working with all students; whether they are typically developing, English language learners, gifted, “at-risk,” or have “special needs.”

I utilize the following skills and techniques (prior to, and throughout the formal learning process) to inform and maximize my teaching success.

Introduction

  • Initiate open, honest, and respectful relationships with students.
  • Engage students in informal conversation.
  • Ask open ended questions.
  • Actively listen.
  • Proactively request clarification when necessary.

Assessment

  • Observe and evaluate each students
    • communication skills (expressive and receptive)
    • knowledge
    • learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, experiential, etc.)
    • personality
    • self-confidence
    • values
    • interests
    • self-esteem
    • energy level 
    • focus
  • Discuss – classroom learning (current assignments and activities), and student self-perceived performance levels (strengths and challenges).
  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) – evaluate (distracting and desirable) behavior, which serves as a form of communication.  Determine the context and function of each behavior.

Planning & Preparation

  • Determine goals and several means to achieve them.
  • Plan objectives, which will enhance learning in all domains (Communication, Cognitive, Social, Emotional, Fine/Gross Motor).
  • Prepare engaging content; tailored to each student’s personal interests, and skill level.

Teaching

  • Incorporate opportunities for active learning, and support guided discovery.
  • Encourage curiosity and a love of learning.
  • Respect and consider each student’s personality, interests, learning style, strengths, and challenges.
  • Utilize multi-sensory techniques to reinforce concepts.  Learn more.
  • Provide customized exercises, which challenge learners; and address lagging skills without intimidating or overwhelming them.
  • Encourage students to ask questions, and provide feedback.

Adjusting – personalize, customize, and differentiate

  • Respond moment to moment to each student’s learning process; adjusting lessons accordingly.
  • Remain flexible, and welcoming unexpected teachable moments.
  • Collaborate with teachers, service providers, administrators, and parents or caregivers.  Share knowledge and experience.

Extending Learning Beyond the Lesson

  • Cultivate the courage to…take risks and make mistakes
  • Emphasize the advantages of learning from failure.  
  • Stimulate resilience and persistence; enabling students to pick themselves up, and try, try, again
  • Extend learning beyond the initial intention, connecting concepts to one another, and augmenting critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Support development of soft skills.
  • Build self-esteem.
  • Lead students toward independence. 

* Learn about Scaffolding and Differentiation
* Learn how The Zone of Proximal Development relates to Scaffolding

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