Friday, February 12, 2016

Using Our Differences to Enhance Student Learning

After taking a look at many of the articles posted on The Best of Ontario-Educators Daily, there was one article that really resonated with me. I find that when learning about special education we often learn to accommodate and modify our instruction and assessment for specific children with specific exceptionalities... but what if we take these valuable differences each and every one of our students possess and use them to enhance the learning for everyone?

In an article by Shai Williamson, Sanela Ljumanovic is a teacher who agreed to teach Zejd, a young boy who had come from Bosnia and was deaf. She realized she along with Zejd's classmates were unable to communicate with him and that he did not know sign language himself. Rather than work specifically with Zejd, Ljumanovic used this experience as a valuable teachable moment. The whole class learned sign language together so that all students in the classroom could communicate with one and other. 

Collaboration is an essential skill for the 21st century classroom, so though it is important to accommodate and modify for individual students, sometimes the changes we may make to our instruction or assessment may benefit the entire class, rather than the individual student.
Sign language is something I have always wanted to learn. The students in Ljumanovic's class have now gained a valuable skill they can take with them beyond the classroom for the rest of their lives.

Give the article a read: 
Entire class learns sign language to communicate with deaf classmate

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