Beyond The Four Walls Of An Inclusive Classroom

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An inclusive educational setup poses numerous advantages that will hone the students not just academically, but also as human beings. By being an inclusive classroom, the said teaching space houses various types of students—regardless of their differences or similarities. Together, this diversity of students interact with each other and are educated together.

Lilla Dale McManis, PhD defines inclusive classroom as, “The school and classroom operate on the premise that students with disabilities are as fundamentally competent as students without disabilities. Therefore, all students can be full participants in their classrooms and in the local school community.”

By opening the doors to diverse kinds of students, an inclusive classroom acknowledges the differences among these learners. Together with the educators, an inclusive education system develops a structure wherein students from general education programs and special education programs are placed together in a similar learning environment.

With the goal of enriching these students, different strategies and tactics are employed to ensure that all the needs of the students are met and that they are imparted and skilled with sufficient knowledge to nurture them and help them grow holistically as responsible members of the society.

The advantages presented by an inclusive educational system reach beyond academics. The following are some of the best benefits beyond the four walls of an inclusive classroom:

 

  • Understanding And Valuing Diversity

By being inclusive, the class is welcome to house different kinds of students—physically, mentally, culturally, and others—said learners can witness firsthand the varied diversity that exists.

By experiencing and having had direct contact with such diversity, students can understand the real differences between individuals, and in time, they will learn how to value and appreciate such diversity.

Melissa Gomez, EdD shares that, “In my class I ask students to investigate, question, and reflect on their own biases from a place of nonjudgment. Therefore, I must be willing to do the same and share the results of
my personal inquiries.”

 

  • Acceptance Of Differences

 

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 The exposure of students to such a variety of population opens their eyes and minds that people look different, speak differently, think differently, and act differently, among other differences.

At a young age, students come to the realization that these differences are non-changeable. They learn to accept these differences and make the most out of them.

 

  • Patience

By being witness to such dissimilarities, students may realize that some of their peers work slowly or may need more time to understand the lesson. An inclusive classroom teaches that patience is a virtue and make these learners recognize that each individual employs his or her own pace in learning and that it is entirely acceptable and understandable. “Whether [the] child is naturally patient or not, you can do a lot to help her learn by starting early,” says Claire Lerner, LCSW

 

  • Increased Friendships And Social Interactions

An inclusive classroom significantly widens the network of its students. An interaction with physically, mentally, and culturally diverse people broadens the connection between the students and develops unique friendships among themselves. This helps to improve the student’s skills on social interactions and public speaking, among others.

 

  • Enriched Collaboration

Increased friendships and social interactions caused by inclusive education pave the way for enhanced and improved collaboration among students. Differing minds lead to a broader spectrum of ideas and open the door to enriched teamwork and group effort among students.

 

  • Respect

Finally, inclusive education teaches not only the understanding and acceptance of differences. It mostly highlights the importance of respect—most especially the respect for differences. It emphasizes that these differences, albeit sometimes uncomfortable and unfamiliar, can be the source of strength and power.

As a united group, we acknowledge each other and know that each and everyone is equally important.

 

 

 

 

Items That Make A Classroom Look More Inclusive

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The idea of inclusive education is viewed as a better way for children to put down barriers set up by racism. In an inclusive classroom, children with and without disabilities learn together the basic concepts and necessities of life. The goal is to avoid discrimination, where no one gets above the rule regardless of the physical or mental capabilities. “Successful inclusive education happens primarily through accepting, understanding, and attending to student differences and diversity, which can include physical, cognitive, academic, social, and emotional,” Lilla Dale McManis, PhD explains.

One of the challenges for teachers all the time is the shy and intimidated behavior of students once they hear the word ‘school.’ When it comes to inclusive education, there is an added burden. After resolving the “I don’t want to go to school” tantrums, the challenge is for these children to mingle with each other without the shyness and classmate-to-classmate intimidation.

Aside from the stereotypical look of a ‘teacher,’ what scares the children generally is the unfriendly setting of the classroom itself. In an inclusive environment, teachers should keep in mind the needs of special children. These kids are still learning. Inclusive education, however, doesn’t mean that they should be expected to perceive things like their normal peers.

Check the items below to find out what can make an inclusive classroom look more engaging, non-discriminating, and friendly.

 

Large Pads And Colorful Sets Of Papers, Pencils, Crayons

Children are generally attracted to colorful stuff, and this is a fact. Inclusive classrooms, however, don’t need too many bright-colored items as they may lead to the all-time distraction of students.

Large sets of crayons have been proven to be effective in engaging the children to be more creative and to unleash their artistic skills. These large and colorful materials get their attention to keep them occupied at times and avoid ‘bored’ tantrums.

 

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 Elaborate Visuals

It is always much better to accompany lessons with something that will grab the students’ mindset. “Visual aids arouse the interest of learners and help the teachers to explain the concepts easily. Visual aids are those instructional aids which are used in the classroom to encourage students learning process,” Naqvi Hamad PhD and co-authors wrote. Visuals or manipulative teaching materials can ignite these children’s curiosity and show real interest in the subject being tackled.

Moreover, kids with special needs may have a hard time comprehending any verbal activity. A good set of visual or simulation is much better to demonstrate what needs to be taught – without prioritizing anyone from the mixed group of students.

 

Highlighter/Reading Strips

Aside from being an added attraction to invite a child to read more books, these reader trackers can help those with disabilities avoid skip lines and texts of a page. This can also aid in their reading comprehension ability.

 

Gadgets

There are a lot of available educational apps that can be found online for free! Technology can pass as visuals and more often than not, they have the power to engage a child in the usually dull subjects in school (Math for example).

 

Wall Decoration

As for the walls, it is best to keep it simple and not too cluttered with bright colors. Teachers can set up or post a reward bulletin on one side, giving each of the children awards for where they excel in. Moreover, educators can also post a set of short rules on one part of the wall.

Also, note that the color of the wall (or anything that will be put on it) will not give off any gloomy vibe or lousy lighting to the whole room.

“Young children spend a lot of time — usually the whole day — in the same classroom, and we have shown that a classroom’s visual environment can affect how much children learn,” said Anna V. Fisher, Ph.D.

It is also important to keep in mind that inclusive classrooms are not there to cater to the special children’s needs explicitly. There should be no segregation of kids – everyone gets the same instructions. Inclusive classes, after all, are the best miniature of a racism-less world.

 

 

 

Interventions For Children With Learning Disabilities

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Unfortunately, there is still no permanent cure for learning disabilities. However, there are still therapeutic ways to mitigate the effects of it. It is essential to detect early the condition for better academic coping of the child. When left untreated and unmanaged properly, the child may not cope, and it will affect his daily living. Also, the treatment programs for these children will depend upon the kind of disability and the severity of the issue on the child challenged by it.

Continue reading “Interventions For Children With Learning Disabilities”

A Therapist’s Guide To Dealing With Exam Stress

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Have you ever felt so stressed and anxious about an upcoming exam? You know you have spent time studying and pouring your heart to a specific course, but that dreadful feeling about this particular exam just won’t go away. Familiar, isn’t it?

“The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail — since it’s beyond your control — you only get more stressed out and feel helpless,” wrote Margarita Tartakovsky, MS.

Here are some tips from therapists that talk about how you can deal with exam stress to achieve the best possible outcome.

While your time and effort are a natural part of studying and answering exams, too much stress can damage your ability to do well. These methods will help you how to stay in control and how to obtain grace under pressure.

Reviewing Techniques

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For some students, exams are sometimes just like a breeze, and they can review and revise with their eyes closed. But for others, it is just a difficult thing to do. Here are some handy tips you can follow for reviewing before an exam.

  1. Make a timetable. It will help you organize the subjects and topics you would need to study. Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, PhD, LPCS, advised, “Plan out a time each day to study, even if you don’t have an assignment due. By being one step ahead, you’ll be better prepared and feel more in control.
  2. Try to read and memorize entirely. Memorizing gets way smoother, especially when you fully understand the context of what you are reading.
  3. Create summary notes. Rewrite and reorganize them to a shorter version. You might think it’s a waste of time, but rewriting notes can be an effective way to clarify what we understand. Also, try listing keywords for each topic that would make you remember its meaning or context. Post-it notes usually help a lot.
  4. Review with a friend or join a group study. It does not work for everyone, but for some, this method helps them exchange ideas and understand topics more.
  5. Similar to the third tip, you can ask your friend to do a Q&A with you. This approach will help you recall information and answer questions just like an exam, but verbally.
  6. Make flashcards. Write specific topics per card and write a short definition that would be easy for you to memorize or recall. Flashcards are handy and time-efficient because you can bring it with you even when you are just walking, on a bus, or just killing time.
  7. If you are uncertain about a particular topic or subject, you may go directly to your professor for further explanation. At the same time, if money and time allow, you may hire a tutor to help you prepare for an exam.

Exam Preparation

  1. Get a good night sleep. Your brain will need to rest to be able to absorb and digest all the information you have put to it.
  2. Prepare all the things you would need the next day. Sharpen the pencils, and make sure your pen has enough ink. Arrange any other specific things you would need for a particular subject like calculator, compass, ruler, etc.
  3. Set the alarm clock because the last thing you would want to happen is to be late on your examination day. In addition to that, eat a hearty breakfast. A full stomach helps you concentrate.
  4. Before the exam, try putting things in perspective. Remember that it won’t entirely decide for your future and it will serve as your stepping stone.
  5. To calm your nerves, treat the exam day just like any other typical school day. Don’t feed on the thought that this day is a different one and try to go with your routine.
  6. Anticipate the end of the day when you will finally finish your exams. The thought that you won’t have to do any reviewing anymore will lighten your mood and calm your nerves.
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Managing Stress Levels And Mindful Breathing Exercises

  1. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, don’t take it out on yourself. What you are feeling is normal. Give yourself what you would give to your friends – support, understanding, and love.
  2. Try to maintain a mindful way of breathing. “Mindfulness can be of great aid in promoting self-compassion because rather than teaching us to ignore painful or worrisome thoughts and feelings, it encourages us to be mindfully aware of them – this enables us to be more self-compassionate with ourselves. At the same time, we learn to avoid being swept away by these emotions, so we can find positive outlets for them,” wrote Barbara Markway, PhD. When we get tensed or stressed, we tend to breathe in a quick and shallow way. Sit comfortably and bring attention to the way you breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly. If you focus on it, you would be able to have a sense of awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
  3. With relaxed breathing, you would be able to feel the relaxation and calmness. It will help you focus more on how to answer and tackle the questions on your exam.

Remember, different reviewing techniques work differently for some people. It also depends on what subject is on the line. Try to develop your own set of method or approach that you think would best suit you.

Deal With Learning Challenges

Dealing with the hardships in learning is not often easy as it seems. That’s especially to those middle and high school students. Though some of them may find it encouraging at times, others don’t always feel that way. Other individuals’ immediate positive result from hard work doesn’t represent the totality of all students. And sometimes, even if they tried almost everything to learn, all else seem unworthy and slow-paced. A therapist online would agree that that dealing with the situation is the only ideal thing to do. But do these individuals have the characteristic to handle an unfortunate situation in school such getting rejected from a graduate school, bullying, social problems, financial inconsistencies, and relationship issues? Is there a possible way to overcome the difficult challenges to become successful in life?

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Significance Of Grit

A lot of people typically believe that success only happens to a few. That these individuals blessed with a unique characteristic such as having an above or high IQ, social intelligence, and good looks are the only ones to become successful. However, people often disregard the underlying reason why most leaders nowadays are successful. And that is because of their grit. It is the passion and perseverance for long-term commitment and goals. It involves working persistently hard towards every learning challenge whether at school or life experiences. It allows a maintaining effort into students’ interest in learning despite adversity, failure, and hindrance in progress. It’s notable to say that persons who are “gritty” picture and approach every situation as if it is a marathon. There’s a buildup of internal and external motivation where these individuals often look forward and believe on the end goal of the task they are taking on. But although passion and perseverance may be the top characteristic that leads to success, it is essential to know that other internal features help as well. These include optimism, open-mindedness, and mentorship. All of these get associated with individuals’ lifelong achievements.

Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. explains that, “There is also a strong correlation between grit and other traits such as psychological well-being,  optimism, life satisfaction.  People scoring high on grit are also much less likely to commit suicide.  And, of course, grit is also strongly related to academic performance and lifetime career success. ”

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Growth Mindset

With all of these positive traits, how can most students become gritty? Well, that depends on these individuals’ growth mindset. “A growth mindset is simply the belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work,” Tchiki Davis, Ph.D. explains. Since the ability to learn is not static, learning is fluid and can be attained by mostly anyone. Fortunately, those people with a growth mindset often believe that abilities get developed by hard work, practice, and perseverance. Therefore, individuals with a growth mindset understand the importance of failure and look at is a part of learning. As a result, this type of way of thinking makes learning more enjoyable and fulfilling. It also fosters and builds resilience. Alternatively, those individuals with a fixed-mindset only believe that abilities are stagnant and cannot be improved or altered. As a result, the negative state of mind creates an invariable urgency to prove their worth continuously. Fixed mindset feeds on negative emotional and mental traits. It pulls down every positive characteristic people have. Yes, developing a growth mindset is sometimes draining and challenging situation. But, it is not impossible to do. As long as people encourage themselves to change their way of thinking, all things will reach a positive result gradually.

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Things To Ponder

As learning challenges become part of every person’s life, every individual must always remember. The view they adopt for themselves can significantly affect the way they lead their lives. Meaning, the more they picture out failure, the higher the chance it can happen. But the more they build themselves up to reach success, the more they can find bits of solutions equally essential for overall development. And as long as these individuals love what they are doing, they will always seek out reasons to continue enjoying it despite difficulties and challenges. If there’s constant learning and improving, there’s a guarantee of success in the future. “Your values form the foundation of your life. They dictate the choices you make and determine the direction that your life takes,” Jim Taylor Ph.D. added.

There’ are two things that these students can get in life; that’s hardship and success. Valuing and enduring hardship is a vital process of living a dream. It is important to note that in every situation, whether negative or positive, all things come to an end. Everyone can experience setbacks. But, it doesn’t mean they have to compare their failure or successes to others. People may not be able to handle or control the situation they face, but they can always create a mindset that can help endure learning challenges.

Counseling 101: Finding The Right Counselor

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to finding the right counselor who will help you overcome your issues and problems. Take note that several professionals are engaged in the field of psychology, which includes counseling. As such, it can be challenging on your part to search for the best counselor to connect. Do not worry because there are certain ways of how you can make this happen. While the task may be complicated, everything is going to be easy as long as you know how to observe specific guidelines.

 

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Before anything else, it is highly essential for you to know the significance of searching for the perfect counselor. You cannot just randomly select someone without looking into certain factors. Always keep in mind that the professional service fees charged by a counselor are usually expensive. It is the primary reason why you need to be careful in making a selection. Moreover, there is also a necessity to work with the right counselor because he is the key to improving your life.

 

In this article, allow us to provide you with a list of the things that you can do to ensure that you will end up with the best counselor:

 

Know What You Want

 

The advancements in the field of technology have already improved the way people do things, even in the area of counseling. In the traditional way of engaging the services of a counselor, a client needs to go to the physical office of the latter. However, because of the Internet and gadgets, people are starting to experience convenience when it comes to counseling. As such, do not be surprised if you can now see professionals who are providing online services to interested clients. Hence, you now need to choose whether you prefer traditional counseling or online counseling. Do whatever makes you feel happy.

 

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Conduct A Research

 

Researching is vital if you want to avoid making mistakes in the decision-making process for choosing a counselor. As already emphasized above, the field is already saturated with effective counselors. Because of this, it becomes more challenging on your part to choose which among them is ideal for your case. Fortunately, it is now easy to research specific topics or even people through the use of the Internet. All you must do is to read about the services of the counselors. Check the reviews of their former or existing clients so that you will have an idea of how great they are. However, never forget to verify the sources that you use online to avoid being duped.

“A good therapist is nonjudgmental, accepting, and patient. Otherwise, our patients are just getting what they grew up with,” Don Turner, MD said.

Look For Referrals

 

Do you know someone who has an existing relationship with a counselor? If yes, do not hesitate to ask for a recommendation from the same person. “You can ask for a referral so that you can have an idea on who is the best professional counselor to call. If you have a friend or a friend’s friend who is a therapist, ask them for a referral,” Elvira G. Aletta, Ph.D. adds. Therapists refer to one another all the time. The crucial thing about referrals is that you do not need to keep on searching for a long time. All that you must do is to get the name of the counselor. Once you already have the contact information, you can immediately book for a preliminary appointment or call the office to ask for questions.

 

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Always Ask Questions

 

Another crucial or vital thing that you must do is to ask questions or inquiries before you choose who to connect with. Feel free to call the office of the counselor or check the website so that you can get essential information such as the rate for the service or the availability of the latter. Do not be ashamed to keep on asking questions. “Notice whether the two of you are able to develop a shared understanding of what is the matter that rings true to you, that was not already evident to you,” Jonathan Shedler Ph.D. suggests. Just remember that what you are doing right now is for your good. Failure to do this can make you regret your decision in the future. Keep in mind that it is better to keep on asking instead of making assumptions, which can be proven to be wrong someday.

 

Now that you already have an idea on how to look for a counselor make sure to follow the guidelines. As long as you do the steps in the right manner, everything is going to be okay. May you find what you are looking for in a counselor.

 

Parents’ Guide To Helping Your Children Be College-Ready

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I have been a college teacher for nearly 20 years, and I’ve met a lot of students who had difficulty transitioning from their family life to the college life. Not only because they had no idea how to wash their clothes or be punctual in class, but that they were not emotionally and psychologically ready for college – and dorm – life.

Continue reading “Parents’ Guide To Helping Your Children Be College-Ready”

Beyond The Classroom: Why You Should Attend The 2014 New York Educational Conferences 

Learning is nothing if we don’t go beyond the four corners of the classroom and that’s why we have events such as the 2014 New York Educational Conferences! They say students learn best when they’re exposed to the real world and that’s why we have activities like educational trips, forums, symposiums, and many more! 

A New Learning Perspective
The 2014 New York Educational Conferences are just some of the many Alternative Learning Programs (ALP) available for teachers, coaches, and parents. These conferences are great avenues for mentors to equip themselves with better guidance, training, and knowledge to improve the methods and approaches to learning.  

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Continue reading “Beyond The Classroom: Why You Should Attend The 2014 New York Educational Conferences “

Teacher’s Guide: How To Keep Your High Schoolers Engaged

 

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From time to time, as a teacher, you might encounter a class that’s just difficult to keep engaged. It seems that no matter what strategies you use, these high schoolers won’t budge – and they literally show you how bored they are!

Well, you and I know that when students are not in their best-behaved selves in the classrooms, they are not actually ‘in’ the classroom. Thus, the lesson you’re sharing with them isn’t absorbed.

To try to change that, we’d like to help by sharing these effective teaching strategies that perhaps might work in keeping your high schoolers focused and engaged.

 

Teaching Strategies That Work

 

  • Associate Some Lessons To Real-Life Situations. Creating a topic that is connected to their day-to-day life gives a better comprehension of what they need to learn. Some students, especially high schoolers, ask their teachers why they should learn difficult topics in math or English, and the usual answer they get is, “Because you need to.” It would be more believable and engaging if you tell them, “Because soon you’ll be writing proposals and checks to the bank and purchase things for your property. It’s for your future.”

 

  • Utilizing Games When Teaching. Even the not so young loves games, so why don’t you perk up the mood in the classroom by playing Jeopardy or Memory? You can even join in for a round of Pictionary during an English or Science subject. They won’t realize they’re learning while they’re playing until the next class is up.

 

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  • Let Them Use Their Gadgets For A Few. Phones and tablets are what they breathe every day, so why don’t you spend around 20 or 30 minutes of your lesson using a smart board or a computer that they can answer from in front of the class? This will get them engaged and excited for their turn. Maybe you can give a class quiz using the smartboard and let each one type in their answer so everybody can participate.

 

  • Provide Them With Choices. High schoolers, like middle school students, still love to make their own choices about topics that they want to learn. Give them something that they want to learn more about. Create a list of topics related to your subject, some easy and some advanced. That means there is equal opportunity for learning, plus it’s not forced unto them, thus giving them more freedom to learn what they want to, and less pressure in the need to learn aspect.

 

  • Make Sure There’s Interaction. You know very well that students are used to listening while the teacher is talking, which is quite boring if the setup would be like this the whole time. Utilize the interactive style of learning with the use of the jigsaw cooperative learning method. This is done by engaging your students to work as a team and finish their assigned task. The student is encouraged to do his part by thinking of ways in which he or she can provide the right answer on his own.

 

Source: wikipedia.org

 

To Sum It Up

So overall, the key is to involve the students more in active participation. Encourage them to talk about the subject or ask questions. Instilling knowledge to your high schoolers can be a learning experience for the teacher as well if you only let them share a part of themselves with you!