Adapting the learning environment to cater for students who learn differently
Primary level focus
Dyslexia, specific learning disabilities, self-esteem, different learning styles, early identification and intervention
Does e-Learning enhance the learning environment for students who learn differently?
- The 10% of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) perceive their classroom environment in a different way to the rest of their peers.
- They scored themselves lower than the rest of their year group on all scales of the learning environment survey.
- As Year 7's, they are aware of how they learn and the differences the physical aspects of the classroom can make to their success as learners (eg. lighting, desk size and placement, teacher and peer support).
- They like using technology to help them find and present information, as it does not depend on them physically writing to present their work neatly, which they find difficult (i.e. using digital pictures, drawing programmes, movies, power point as
alternative ways of presentation).
- They increased the quantity of their writing online, as they gained confidence in their ability to communicate in writing. This was due to the time allowance to process what they wrote (not being face to face and knowing it wouldn't be corrected,
and knowing they would get a response) anyway.
- The drill and practice type of over-learning required for the dyslexic to become more competent in phonics and other language skills becomes more engaging using ICT, because of the fun aspect and the immediate feedback.
- Students with SLD need to be identified as early as possible in their primary years so that intervention can be implemented, before they become "learned helpless", lose their self-esteem and become behaviour problems or withdraw from society as te
- Schools need to have a screening system in place (SNAP assessment, Reid, 2004) and use trained teachers, available through SPELD NZ, for one to one tuition on the underpinning difficulties (recommended over 2 years) - maybe a cluster of schools co
uld employ a teacher between them to work over the week. The discrepancy between potential (IQ) and progress (output) is the first indication of a problem, so it is important to do an intelligence test as part of the assessment.
- Colleges of Education and existing staff, starting with RTLB's need training in all Specific Learning Difficulties and how to identify them. All classroom teachers need to be aware of the differences the classroom environment can make to the succe
ss of their students learning.
- Agencies such as the Health, Social and Education services need to integrate their services to give a more holistic overview of the child as a learner.
- Computer Assisted Technology needs to be made more easily available to more SLD students for use within the classroom, to increase time management skills and recording opportunities.