3 Tips For Being A Successful Distance Learning Instructor 11 Strategies For Graphomotor Problems Schools Have More Severely Disturbed Students What S A Teacher To Do School Violence A Deadly Pattern Calls For Action
Are you looking to teach an online course for the first time? Or have you already taught online but are looking for some tips to help you become more effective?
The world of online learning is expanding at a rapid pace.
More courses are being offered and more students are enrolling every semester. And while teaching an online course can be done while sitting at your computer in your pajamas, being an effective online instructor requires a good deal of practice and preparation.
Of course, teaching online does take away the face to face involvement with students. Nothing can take the place of seeing a student smile after finally understanding a difficult concept.
But online teaching can be even more rewarding than on-campus teaching, when done well.
What makes an effective online instructor?
While good teaching involves a large number of qualities and techniques, effective online teaching centers on three main points:
1) You must be clear about your expectations!
Since students are not sitting right in front of you, it is extremely important to be very clear. Since you cannot see the students, you cannot see them sitting with a puzzled look while nodding their head in agreement.
How do you know if you are clear enough?
1. For children who have difficulty with orthographic coding, it may be helpful to tape an alphabet line to the corner of their desk for easy reference.
2. Students with graphomotor problems should be given extended time to complete written assignments and/or a reduction in the volume of written output. For example, if the exercise given is to correctly capitalize and punctuate sentences or a passage, these should be provided to the student in typed form so that he/she has to only correct the work, rather than write it and then correct it. Also, if the assignment is to answer the questions at the end of the chapter in social studies, the student should be required only to write the answers, not both questions and answers. Additionally, he/she should be allowed to state answers in short phrases. In other words, if the subject matter being assessed is knowledge of information presented in the social studies chapter, it is this that should be assessed, not how competent the student is with the physical act of writing, or how much writing interferes with his/her ability to demonstrate his/her knowledge of social studies.
3. Children with handwriting difficulties may need to be given the opportunity to provide oral answers to exercises, quizzes, and tests.
4. Learning to type is helpful for these students. Writing assignments should be done in stages. Initially, the child would focus only on generating ideas. Next, he/she would organize his/her ideas. Finally, the student would attend to spelling and mechanical and grammatical rules. There are computer software programs available with spell and grammar checks.
5. Students with graphomotor problems may need to be provided with information presented on the board or on overheads in written form, such as teacher-prepared handouts or Xerox copies of other students’ notes.
6. Children with handwriting problems should be provided with written outlines so that they do not have to organize lectures or class materials themselves. This becomes particularly important in junior high grades.
7. Parents should be given the opportunity to purchase an extra set of textbooks for the purpose of highlighting, particularly for content area subjects. Also, notes may be made on Post-Its and then the Post-Its could be attached to a larger sheet.
8. It is often necessary to use alternative grading systems for children with graphomotor problems. One grade would be given for overall appearance and mechanics of writing, and the second for content.
9. When writing reports, it may be helpful for the student to identify his/her own errors and to correct these after learning specific strategies to do so. He/she would then list his/her most frequent errors in a workbook and refer to this list when self-correcting.
10. It should be stressed to school personnel that slow work habits are often a result of graphomotor difficulties and do not reflect deficits in motivation.
11. Electronic devices, such as the Franklin Speaking Spelling Ace may be helpful for students with handwriting problems.
Teachers and Counselors: Does it seem to you that you are seeing more and more seriously emotionally disturbed kids than ever before? The problem may not be with your perceptions. The problem may be that in fact, you are seeing more disturbed children and youth than at any time before.
This article covers some of the updated mental health information we give out in our popular Problem-Kid Problem-Solver Workshop (https://www.coolwebtips.com It’s data that all teachers and counselors can use.
There are a few explanations for what you may already have noticed. First, many settings such as schools and Job Corps, are accepting youth with increasingly serious emotional problems. Second, mainstreaming has shifted many kids from sheltered or specialized settings, into mainstream classrooms, sports teams and scouting troops. Third, and perhaps most important, there may be, in fact, more and earlier serious emotional disturbances developing in children. Or, perhaps we are just getting better at identifying these problems.
Late last year, you may have read in your local newspaper a summary of the US Surgeon General’s report that noted that an amazing 1 in 10 children may have a serious mental health disorder. This report noted that the typical wait for troubled children to gain an appointment with a mental health professional was 3 to 4 months. Some communities lack children’s mental health services entirely, the report also noted. This report quotes a study that indicated that many children with severe emotional problems don’t gain proper school services until age 10. The report emphasizes that many of these troubled children will wind up in jail, in part because their problems went unnoticed, or were addressed way too late. The report advocates for more mental health resources for children, and better training in children’s mental health for everyone who works with youth.
The Bottom Line: If you are not a mental health professional, but you work with kids, you may need to acquire a basic mental health background in order to fully understand your changing population, and to best serve their changing needs.
This background will also help you know when to access help from a mental health professional. There is no substitute for the expertise of a mental health worker, and if budget cuts have reduced this option at your site, that is quite serious. A class like our Breakthrough Strategies Workshop (https://www.coolwebtips.com can help you get the basics, but with the incidence of severe childhood emotional problems apparently on the rise, it makes relying on that counselor, social worker, or psychologist perhaps more important than ever before.
If you are a mental health professional you may also want to check your skills too. We are always surprised at our workshop how many mental health professionals confuse conduct disorders and thought disorders, for example, two basic and essential mental health concepts.
We also need more groups like IYI in Indiana, and the Family Resource Centers in Kentucky IYI, the Indiana Youth Institute, brings hands- on training to everyone involved with youth including scout troop leaders, faith-based professionals, after school workers and everyone else involved with kids. Kentucky’s Family Resource Centers are in just about every school in the state, ready to assist the student, family, teacher, counselor or anyone involved in the child’s life to help that child succeed in school, community, family and life.
Sadly, most of us lack a Family Resource Center worker or an IYI to turn to. Your challenge becomes, how do I provide my service to a child with serious emotional problems? Here are a few key do’s and don’t’s, but be sure to also upgrade your basic mental health skills if needed.
** Strike the Balance
Especially in this age of widespread, mandated education performance testing, teachers can feel pressured to get students to perform and produce. But tests don’t “understand” that a child has a serious emotional disturbance and make allowances, but you can. Strive to balance your school or agency’s mission with the child’s special needs. Keep the goals, but don’t accomplish them at any cost.
** When I’m Not Sure What to Do
A good general guideline for anytime that you just don’t know for sure how to work with a child, is ro ask the child. That child is the expert on that child. If you get no useful response, a fall-back plan is to consider what would work or not work with you if you were in that situation.
** But I Have to Be Fair
You may worry that if you give a troubled child extra time to complete a task, for example, that the other kids will complain that it is unfair. In the work world, bosses are required to accommodate employees’ special needs from providing a ramp for a wheel chair to a sign language interpreter. The ultimate mission of most youth-serving sites is to prepare the child for the real world. In the real world, providing some accommodation is either legally mandated or a common courtesy. Most schools even attempt to give a bigger desk to a bigger student. Simple human courtesy and common sense should never be viewed as unfair.
** They Can Take It
Some youth professionals will tell you that the child can “take it.” The truth is that you have no way of looking into a child and accurately gauging their resilience. Since kids do not generally announce that they were beaten last night, or that they haven’t eaten for two days, you don’t know how fragile or strong a child actually is. You don’t know whether or not a child can “take it.” There is a risk that a harsh, embarrassing, aggressive act could harm or undermine a child. While it is never okay to yell, demean or humiliate any child for any reason, it is especially true with children who are severely troubled.
** These Children Are Manipulating the Adults
While some emotionally disturbed children are very adept at manipulation, many emotionally disturbed children do not manipulate at all. There are many types of emotional disturbances, and each has its own unique dynamics. Because an adult works differently with different types of students, tailoring their methods to fit each child and that child’s unique circumstances, does not mean the adult has been manipulated. It means that the adult has a sophisticated understanding of different types of youth and they choose the correct tools for each type.
For more specific techniques to use with troubled youth, consider our “Child’s Guide to Surviving in a Troubled Family.” Find out more about it via our web site (link below).
Are schools safe? Considering the number of tragic events that have occurred at schools across the country in recent years, this is one question every parent, teacher, administrator and community member is having a hard time answering.
The recent shooting in Red Lake, Minn., put another act of classroom violence on the map. This tragedy, as well as other high-profile school shootings such as the one at Columbine High School in Colorado and others in Tennessee, Oregon and Michigan, clearly show that school violence is not limited by geography or demographics.
This deadly pattern has stirred concerns about school safety, gun control and the need to address the roots of such violence in the nation’s schools.
To raise awareness of school safety and security issues and to help make schools more safe, the National Crime Prevention Council, best known for its 25-year-old beloved icon, McGruff the Crime Dog, developed the Be Safe and Sound initiative in collaboration with National PTA. This public education effort, funded by the Allstate Foundation, Assa Abloy Group and the Security Industry Association, mobilizes parents to work with school officials and policymakers in creating an environment where students feel safe.
The initiative distributes publications that help parents and others learn the ropes to becoming involved in school safety issues. Its “Caregivers’ Guide to School Safety and Security,” for example, outlines specific actions they can take to help improve school safety and includes an overview of security guidelines.
Another helpful resource is the “School Safety and Security Toolkit: A Guide for Parents, Schools, and Communities.” This guide gives parents and community members the tools they need to work with school administrators and policymakers to assess the safety and security of schools and plan for improvements.
“Until we put school safety at the top of the community agenda, our schools – and our children – will continue to be vulnerable,” said Alfonso E. Lenhardt, president and CEO of the National Crime Prevention Council..
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