What is child-led learning?

What is child-led learning?

Child-led learning is a term used to describe education programmes in which children are responsible for deciding what to learn. In some cases, it extends to kids being in control of how long they spend on a particular lesson and the methods and materials used for study. Quite often it is undertaken in a home-school environment or in a private tutoring context.

While this movement typically stands in opposition to a fixed curriculum, some schools offer individual classes or after-hours programmes that take a more child-led approach. There are also situations in which giving a child a greater role in deciding how much and what to learn is more appropriate, such as sessions for kids who struggle with learning difficulties.

Developing spelling skills in learners

Developing spelling skills

Spelling skills are not something people are born with – we learn to spell at the same time as we learn to read and write. For individuals who struggle with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, spelling can pose a particular challenge as it requires the ability to split words into sounds and then match those sounds to letters and letter combinations.

This is easier said than done because in English there are many ways to spell the same sound. There are also plenty of silent letters, words that break the rules, and foreign words with unintuitive spellings.

Note-taking skills for kids

Note-taking skills for kids

Writing information down facilitates its transfer into long-term memory and provides an opportunity for learners to engage with content on a deeper level, including through review.

Common Reading Problems

3 Common reading problems for students

Developing strong reading skills in students is one of the key goals of every early education program. It is through reading that students expand their vocabulary and learn about the world. Reading is also the key to success in spelling and writing.

And while 6 and 7-year-olds are fluent speakers, they require instruction in how to navigate print. If a student is having problems with literacy skills, it can affect their performance across the school curriculum and have a negative impact on motivation to learn and self-esteem.

autism and reading comprehension

Autism and reading comprehension

Research on reading has shown that children acquire decoding and reading comprehension skills at the same time, but that each skill develops independently of the other. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) typically perform at average or above average levels when it comes to decoding written language.

However, they are generally better at sounding out and identifying words than understanding what they have read. This may be because comprehension is a more abstract skill than decoding. It relies on a reader’s sensitivity to story structure, ability to pick up on referents, make inferences and use prior knowledge of the subject to makes sense of the text.

Attention and working memory are also implicated, as metacognitive monitoring strategies ensure the reader is following along.

Orton Gillingham reading instruction

Orton Gillingham reading instruction

The Orton-Gillingham approach is a multi-sensory way of teaching reading, spelling and writing skills to students who struggle with language-based learning difficulties, including dyslexia. Lessons focus on mastery of the smallest units of language first, including phonemes and graphemes, and then build to whole word, phrase and sentence level instruction.

Many current reading methods and courses are grounded in this approach, including Touch-type Read and Spell, and it can serve as a guide for tutors who offer literacy skills support for individuals with specific learning difficulties.

Because Orton-Gillingham focuses both on enhancing phonological awareness and teaching English language rules, it can also be useful for English Language Learner (ELL) students.

strategies for dysgraphia

9 Strategies for dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is a specific learning difficulty that impacts on writing skills. While no two individuals will experience the same set of symptoms, it is a brain-based disorder that can cause difficulty with forming letters, spacing words and even organizing text into complete sentences. Students with dysgraphia may struggle with taking notes in class, completing homework and long-term assignments, and performing well on traditional assessment measures.

For these individuals writing is often both difficult and painful, causing everything from cramping in the muscles of the hand to excessive sweating and high anxiety. Over time, this can lead to poor performance and falling behind in lessons due to an inability to take notes. It may also result in avoidance of school and extra-curricular activities that involve producing written work.

Fortunately, there are strategies and classroom accommodations for dysgraphia that can help, including allowing the use of audio-recorders and learning touch-typing so computers are used as an alternative to handwriting.

Encouraging children with learning difficulties to succeed at school

Encouraging children with learning difficulties

Specific learning difficulties like dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia can make it difficult and sometimes impossible for a child to achieve the same results as his or her peers in a traditional classroom setting. Some children face a constant struggle with reading and writing and many are at risk for developing low self-esteem, particularly when their condition goes undiagnosed and/or untreated.

The thing to remember is that there are alternative learning approaches, strategies, and tools that can help students with learning difficulties achieve their full potential at school. Moreover, a positive attitude and plenty of encouragement from parents and teachers can do wonders when it comes to inspiring these children to stay motivated and persevere.

Strategies for students with autism

Strategies for students with autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a broad term used to describe various forms of autism, a brain-based condition that impacts on behaviour and affects the way individuals communicate.

While many of the challenges children with autism face in the classroom are related to developing social skills and interacting both with their peers and their teachers, some autistic students may struggle when it comes to literacy skills.

More often than not, the issues present as problems with reading comprehension vs. the actual decoding of language. Teachers may observe children reading fluently only to discover they have not understood the text that was processed.

Fortunately there are a number of strategies that parents and teachers can implement to help kids with ASD strengthen reading comprehension, including visualizing the story, integrating multi-sensory learning to bring words and concepts to life and acting out dramatic renditions of a text to enhance understanding of social interactions through the use of gesture and facial expressions.

What motivates students to learn

What motivates students to learn?

Teachers and parents recognize the power of motivation in enhancing learning outcomes and helping students to achieve their best at school. A motivated student might do his or her homework without being asked to, go above and beyond the requirements of assignments and participate in classroom discussions without being prompted.

More importantly, he or she may be more able to view a poor exam result as a learning opportunity instead of as an academic failure. So what motivates students to learn and how can we encourage them?

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