As many schools, teachers and students prepare for a remote learning environment, it is worth giving consideration to the neurodiversity of the learners we are engaging with. There are a number of things you can do to retain the quality teaching and learning that would normally be occurring in your classroom, whilst ensuring that all learners have equal opportunity to access and understand the lesson materials.
So, what can we all do to support all student learners in the remote learning environment?
· Maintain a personal connection with your students, despite the geographical distance. Student learning is grounded in social interactions and rapport with their teacher so audio and video conferencing will be an important tool. This is particularly true for students with disabilities as they may experience increased anxiety about their learning without the usual face-to-face support.
· Establish an online routine with your classes that promote stability and familiarity for students. Knowing what’s expected of them will promote positive engagement in the new learning environment.
· Communicate with parents/guardians to ensure students are engaging with their learning. This will also be helpful to gauge the wellbeing of students in a time of great change.
· Provide a variety of learning mediums for your students to access. This can include a combination of written material, voice recordings, video clips (with subtitles) and practical exercises. Variety is easiest to achieve when collaborating with your faculty members or associations to share resources.
· Be conscious of the amount of reading required to access your curriculum content. Try to limit this by using accessible language in written instructions or explanations, or accompany the written material with a pre-recorded audio track of what you would normally say in the classroom.
· Students with written expression or language difficulties may be hesitant to email you as they find it difficult to convey their meaning. Endeavour to offer multiple appropriate formats in which they can make contact with you.
· Where possible, incorporate tasks that encourage physical movement or outside activities that all your students are able to engage in. This will increase blood oxygen levels and concentration.
· Contact your school’s Individualised Learning staff for further strategies on the best way to engage all students in your classes.
· Notify the appropriate school staff if you have any concerns about the wellbeing or academic progress of students in the remote learning environment.
From Pivot’s Pencil: Jade Mete, Strategic Individualised Learning Australia.