Knowing Your Students

The section in the text on students with physical or developmental disabilities emphasizes the idea that students may not succeed due to poor accommodations regardless of their skill level. Mainstreaming content and peer tutoring has been found to be superior to segregated or special classrooms. The text cites L. A. Yang: “Mainstreaming tends to improve grades and raise students’ self-esteem through enriched programs and contact with peers”. These strategies have a positive effect on academic performance as well as student confidence. I am a big fan of this approach, as I have seen in my field experience how effective it is in creating a positive classroom space where all students can succeed with the help of their peers. I think the social aspect of peer engagement here should also be noted as it can boost self-image and respect in the classroom.

Mainstreaming can also be coupled with accommodations that foster student success. Simple accommodations can go a long way. Cutting down information into smaller sections and providing hands-on opportunities for learners can be positive for all students. The text notes varied instructional modes that appeal to students of different levels and including “visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli”. I think that frequent evaluations as suggested by the text are a good idea for all students. Positive feedback and progress reports seem to be a great idea all around instead of just being reserved for students with disabilities. I also like the thought of using concrete or hands-on materials to help these students learn, instead of relying on abstract tools. One caveat of this, however, could be the limited amount of resources provided to teachers.