All Students Can Learn

When I was teaching, one of my greatest assets was believing that all students can learn. No matter a child’s IQ, no matter what type of narrative was presented with a new student; I believed each student could and would learn. Something I miss about teaching is the creativity that came with problem-solving. When a student struggled, my team and I would collaborate and think outside the box until we found interventions that worked.

In the video below, one of my favorite students is reading. As he is reading, you can tell he has memorized the words to the story. Watch, though, as he goes back to self-correct when he is not pointing at the correct word as he reads. At the end of the video, I ask him reading comprehension questions. These are not questions I had rehearsed with the student prior to this recording.

Beside him is a behavior tool that helped him monitor behavior. On the top of his folder are written rules: 1. Follow directions. 2. Ask before you leave. 3. Quiet voice. 4. Answer your own why and what questions. This was a student who continually asked, “What’s your name?” or “Why are you…” when he already knew the answer. We were teaching him to use conversational skills other than his rote/learned conversational questions. The bubbles on the bottom of the folder were “popped” when the student did not follow one of the rules. At the end of the day, if bubbles remained on his folder, a para or I blew and popped bubbles with him.

I realize this is not a positive behavior support. I know I was taking something away, instead of the student earning towards something. This student, however, cognitively understood this system much better and he learned to self-monitor (to a degree) using this system. This emphasizes my philosophy that if all else has been exhausted, use what works!!

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