Lifelong learning starts before birth, when intelligence is manufactured in the unborn child. (MacBeath, 2000). Intellectual and emotional growths are at their highest potential in the preschool years when the capacity and desire to become a lifelong learner are seeded and grown. He shares the views of Norton & Wilburg (2003) that learning is a social activity in which ideas are born, memories are shaped and intelligence is created. The attraction of schools is their sociability, a place where students can meet and share their ideas, knowledge and dreams. In order for all students to become confident learners they need a safe learning environment in which to extend their thoughts.
It is the creation of a safe learning environment that will enable these SLD students to feel secure enough to offer their thoughts and have a go, without the anxiety of being seen as a failure by their peers or of being left out. It would appear from my findings that these SLD students do indeed perceive their learning environment differently to their peers, and that the teacher can have a significant effect on their ability to be a successful learner.
I'd like to use pictures but we're supposed to use words mainly - descriptive
words using our senses. I like to use pictures and words because I did a plan
last night and I did a bit of writing and a picture.
Kirsty, aged 11
Technology allows the students to work at their own pace and gives them the freedom to experiment with presenting their work without the threat of constant correction and repetition to get an acceptable result.
On-line communication gives them enough of a time delay to enable them to have the confidence to say what they want to without the horror of red pen scrawls correcting all the spelling mistakes. Spelling and grammar checks allow self-correction, text language on cell phones allows fast written communication, and digital movies and photos allow the use of pictures to tell a story. Computer games create a positive environment with immediate feedback for drill and practice activities, which are a necessary part of remediation for SLD students. Digital photography allows information to be presented pictorially; movie making includes presentation skills of a different kind. Learning becomes entertaining for all students, no matter how they learn best.
The use of wireless laptops, for portability into classrooms, contributes to a user-friendly classroom environment, making technology more accessible to more students within each class. Students can work cooperatively or independently on projects of their choice, under the guidance of their teacher as a facilitator and adviser when required. Students can be connected on-line with the right mentors, who can pass on their knowledge to the student for further investigation.
When I'm working in a small group its easier. I don't mind working by myself or working
with the teacher when she comes around and she'll explain everything again to me. That's
one of the things I like about her. I like reading things out loud to myself. I ask her to do
that but sometimes she just comes around.
Nicki, aged 11