In Summary: A Better Way To Teach Students with Learning Disabilities

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Jo Boaler Learning Disabilities
By Vicki Abeles – Dr. Jo Boaler, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30774468

Time Magazine published an article by Jo Bolar and Tanya Lamar entitled A Better Way To Teach Students with Learning Disabilities on 29th February 2019.

Below is a summary of how they contend that a mind shift is needed by teachers and schools so that students can move from a disability to a difference.

This article appeared in Time Magazine and was published online at A Better Way to Teach Students with Learning Disabilities | Time

  • 50 years ago there was a belief that humans had a fixed brain, either from birth or at least by early adolescence.
  • This belief has dictated the process of today’s approach to schooling
  • New research indicates that with careful teaching students with learning disabilities may develop new neural pathways in their brain.
  • The brain is constantly changing
  • Instead of ‘working around areas of weakness’ scientists think we should be strengthening pathways with targeted support.
  • “A short period of time with careful teaching can help rewire students” brains
  • Significant change can come about when teachers use various methods to engage students.
  • Schools push a narrow way of thinking where teachers show methods for students to memorise, copy and replicate.
  • Maths, for example, often takes the procedural approach where students must memorise methods rather than develop a deep understanding
  • Those who struggle with memorisation or just repeating methods ‘taught’ often end up incorrectly feeling that they are “bad’ maths students.
  • Targeted teaching where students used methods such as conjectures, problem-solving, communicating, reasoning, drawing, modelling, making and connections saw significant improvement in student outcomes.
  • Students need freedom (and time) to think
  • Removing labels from students help them to develop beliefs that they can learn and grow.
  • What is your school communicating? That only some students can be successful?
  • “Struggle” should be celebrated because it is the most productive time for the brain.
  • What is the language used at your school? Learning disabilities or learning differences?

This article appeared in Time Magazine and was published online at A Better Way to Teach Students with Learning Disabilities | Time



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