Feb. 8, 2019
Sometimes you need to experience something to understand it. Over the last several years, guided by Malathi Rajagopalan, our Director of Learning Support, we have improved our ability to differentiate instruction to address the learning needs of the range of our students. Last week, a hands-on lesson helped me better understand how learning challenges affect children.
Educator and educational diagnostician Wendy Taylor of Learning Essentials
ran an informative session at last week’s Wednesday faculty meeting that highlighted a handful of learning challenges that are common in a K-8 population, including language processing, visual and spatial perception, and processing speed. Wendy provided activities that forced teachers to decode different symbols and trace shapes and letters using mirror images, all with tight time constraints. Some teachers coasted through the activities, impressing us with their remarkable ability to decode unfamiliar symbols or reverse images to complete a task. Others, myself included, found the tasks to be confusing and frustrating. Wendy reminded us that some of our students experience that confusion and frustration daily when working on the tasks we design for them.
Our follow-up to this experience will take place during our professional development afternoon on March 1, when teachers will look at the planning process again. Our learning support specialists, Malathi and Lisa Woodward, will guide us in considering how we plan for the range of learning styles of the children we serve. As a progressive school, our job is to provide scaffolding for every type of learner to reach the next level and their fullest potential as students. We are all life-long learners, and positive experiences motivate us to keep growing.