Unit planning and transparency

lesson planningWhile secondary students do not need as much rigid structuring of their school day as their elementary counterparts, it is still important for those with LDs to have a clear understanding of the aims, outlines and expectations of their courses. The keyword for secondary educators should be transparency, in that the daily functioning of the class should be communicated clearly in order for students to keep their focus on learning and production of work. It is essential for teachers to provide a course outline at the beginning of the semester that explains the tasks and assessments that will be completed. This should be supplemented daily with learning aims and outcomes in all lessons in order to keep students on track and working towards a goal (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2009).

While behaviour management is not usually as big a focus in secondary school, it is also important for teachers to outline expectations for work habits, as well as what their vision is for a functioning classroom. Building structured breaks into a daily classroom routine can be a helpful way to keep students with LDs on track and motivated. Try to post your expectations and routine somewhere in the classroom to provide reminders for students needing visual support. These guidelines can also be posted on Google Classroom or Edmodo so all students have easy access to them and can remain accountable for their work and actions.

While your learning expectations and outcomes should be clear, it may be necessary to discuss these with individual students in regard to accommodations needed to achieve them. Students may have to explore alternatives in learning activities and assessments to best suit their learning needs. For example, a student may request that they be permitted to use a laptop in class to take notes in order to keep up and stay organized. A student may provide a verbal response to a comprehension question rather than write a full answer. Teachers should work with students with LDs to help ensure expectations are achievable and manageable. This helps to strike a clear balance between independence and support in the learning process and maintains the integrity of the course credit.