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Direct Teaching for Students with Special Needs

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This is one of those good for all but essential for some strategies for direct teaching. Direct teaching means being very specific in everything you do to ensure student learning occurs. All too many times we hear "Well I taught it, I don't know why they don't get it". The emphasis needs to shift from teaching to learning, when this shift happens, the result is improved student learning. Here are a few points to ensure that your lessons maximize student learning outcomes:

1.) Know your big idea or main essential learning outcome.

  • Can you state very precisely what the lesson outcome is?
  • What is the one thought or main idea of your lesson?
  • Are you certain that the student(s)is ready for this learning outcome?
  • How are you tapping into prior learning?

2.) Know your sequencing.

  • What is the step by step procedure for this lesson?
  • How will you make this lesson concrete?
  • What are all the resources you need?

3.) Remain concrete.

  • How will the skill be modeled?
  • What do your examples look like?
  • What prompts will you use?
  • Have you allowed time for guided practice?

4.) How will you check for understanding?

  • Checking for understanding is essential, it lets you know if your instruction works or if additional intervention or remediation or re-teaching is required.
  • How will the child demonstrate that the learning outcome has been mastered? Will you use questioning? Observation? Show me approach?
  • Many students with special needs have difficulty with self-monitoring, have you allowed for some opportunity for independence? The goal is to ensure all learners become independent, self-monitoring may require appropriate prompts from you, for example "Are you on task?"
  • What and how are you giving in the way of feedback to the student?

5.) Follow up

  • How will you record the student learning of this lesson?
  • What is the follow up to this lesson?
  • Is there a component worth involving parents or professionals for additional support?

In Summary:
Simply put, effective teaching/instruction means that learning has taken place. If learning hasn't taken place, the teaching and instructional strategies need to be re-visited.

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