Robert P. Echter
We will shift from speaking to writing. We will exchange notes in my office, in their regular classroom, in the cafeteria, etc. Twice a week I’ll write each a note to each child and ask each to send me back a note. Also, I’ll ask them to write a note to another child. Then I’ll ask them to write a note to their parent, or another relative.
I will walk into the regular classroom, position myself so as not to make the special education students feel singled out, depending on our relationship and their relationship with their regular education class. I will make a place, so to speak, where the students I am servicing feel comfortable and start working with them from there. This might be next to them at their seat, with non-special education students, between a special education and a non-special education student, at a table at back of the room with or without regular education students, at a computer, seated on a carpet, etc. Then we will begin to work with where they are (skill wise) in the regular education assignment in their class at that time. It varies from class to class as to the noise level, whether the regular education teacher is lecturing to the class, etc.
Then I will walk around, making myself available to other students as a regular education teacher does, troubleshooting in the classroom as a whole, demanding that nay particular students abide by courtesy, respect and rules of the classroom in accord with guidelines I have worked out with the respective teacher in our working relationship (a key concept), giving particular care to pointing out tot he class as a whole positive features of what any students or their teachers do, giving credence and value to select behaviors modeled
in the context of the classroom.
I can sit with students, explain vocabulary they don’t comprehend, get them to match their writing against what they were trying to say, or spell, look for opportunities to have students formally eligible for special education service contribute something to the learning of other students as well as vice versa, teaching them t learn together in effect. Making a more explicit and fuller awareness of learning in the concrete is always at the top of my agenda. So I am going to be silent and let students figure out something together if I sense it improves their learning. It is as important to not get in the way of learning, as it is to generate it. It is part of the same thing. I may take an instruction sheet and have them substitute words and rewrite it so they understand it.