Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teaching Dilemma: Students Who Need More and/or Different Help

Every teacher knows the situation. You teach the mainstream curriculum with additional activities for review and enrichment. Right from the start of the year you notice that there's a few that just can't keep up. You see the confusion and worry they present, and you understand why they're experiencing issues and how to help. The tricky part is finding the time in a busy classroom to pull those students aside to give them the targeted, focused teaching, review and help. Typically students like this require small group or one-to-one help that takes time, concentration and quiet.

I'm not a fan of year-long grouping of these students as often their challenge might exist in one content strand rather than all content strands. Plus, these students also profit from working with a diversity of student skill and ability during the year. Instead, I'm a fan of utilizing the resources in a building well to target responsive instruction. So when a few fall from the mainstream for a content strand, there is the trained staffing and time to pull those students aside for the quiet, targeted teaching and review they need until they master the goal.

Tonight I start a developmental math class, and I'll make the questions I pose above a focus of my learning during the course.

Also I'll continue to look for ways to use student tutors to help these students. I'll also make the time to pull these students aside for extra help, and utilize our upcoming RTI in math to help service their needs.

Let me know if you have some strategies that can help me with this perennial teaching dilemma.  I know the students that struggle can learn, and I also want to make sure that they experience the curriculum with confidence and positivity.  I look forward to your response.