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Teaching and learning of students needing increased support
Drake is a student that has multiple disabilities which include being on the Autism Spectrum, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Tourette Syndrome, all of which have an impact on his learning, resulting in a specific learning disorder. He strives in a school that understands him, hence why he moved schools in grade 4 as they were not meeting these needs. Drake’s mother and teachers, current and past, are involved in the case study. There are many strategies that teachers can factor into their classroom to foster collaboration and enhance communication for students (McDonald, 2013), particularly those with additional need.
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Drake has many strengths which include helping peers, having expressive language and can work collaboratively although his resilience and organisation are present as difficulties. An AAC device is not required for Drake as he can listen and communicate verbally. Drake receives ongoing support from his mother along with teacher and support staff assisting him at his current school, which was not happening at his previous one. He also receives support from his classmates along with providing them support. There are multiple levels of collaboration present to Drake, this includes peer group activities and seating arrangements. The barriers that are present to Drake is not being able to get to afterschool activities along with his tendency to speak over others.
There are many factors that can influence a students’ communication and foster collaboration in the classroom. The use of cooperative group work assists in both. Drake enjoys helping others therefore he can assist in the work while receiving guidance from other students on what to include in his work on topics he is uncertain about, although a student to assist Drake may be required in his group. The use creating a community within the classroom is a major impact, fostering both collaboration and communication. The final factors, which mainly links to communication is implementing a talking circle. This allows all students to have an impact on conversation while discussion certain topics in the classroom.
What are effective ways for teaching students to take turns to talk to have everyone communicate their thoughts?
To locate the articles found, multiple search techniques were included. I began by looking in my current books and resources at home to find suitable articles. I then went on to Monash Library and used main words in the question along with words that link closely to it to search for correct book. The search was conducted by refining the dates were used from 2014-current and using peer-reviewed journals. Once I found suitable articles by reading, I then looked at the references they used and I had access to, finding other suitable references.
Search terms that were used include:
- Students OR student
- Talking OR talk
- “effective communication”
From reading the case study regarding Drake, it can allow the reader to explore concepts surrounding inclusion in the classroom and teaching students the appropriate way to take turns and communicate their thoughts relating topics. Throughout, effective ways for teaching students to take turns to talk, allowing everyone to communicate their thoughts, will be explored to assist in collaboration and communication in the classroom.
It is crucial for teachers to create an environment that students feel safe and accepted in to get the most out of classroom collaboration and communication. Walker and Graham (2019) explain the importance of students adapting to the school environment. As explained by Drake’s mother, he did not like his old school, with the teachers not being inclusive in their classroom, usually secluding him when he could not change his behaviours, creating a “negative stigma” (Stegemann & AuCoin, 2017). Drake self-esteem was affected by this, and overall resulted in Drake wanting to remove himself from the class environment. This would result in minimal communication between himself and the teacher. Shan, Li, Shi, Wang and Cai (2014) conclude that there are many aspects to consider when it comes to the determinants of academic achievements; with past experiences with similar tasks and personality traits being two of them. Once moving schools, Drake’s mother realised that the change should have been done sooner as she could see the change in his mood. Her thoughts were also reassured by his new teacher as it was seen he was wanting to participate in classroom communication, occasionally over talking others. This supports research by Shan et. al (2014) that teachers create a sense of community, allowing for greater communication and collaboration. Strategies can be used to improve on allowing the classroom participation of all students in communication. This could involve using a talking stick; you can only speak if you have the talking stick. It may involve whole class or group work, with the stick moving around the circle. It is only when you have the talking stick that you can speak. This allows students to recognise other opinions while being able to share their own.
Teachers, predominantly in primary schools, need to assist in developing student speaking skills and taking turns. Speech is a type of communication (Savkina & Sheveleva, 2017) so it is important for teachers to develop oral and written speech in children so they can participate in communicative tasks successfully; explaining that it is necessary for successful socialisation (Wang, 2017). For someone to be socially competent, they have the following chrematistics (Mitchell, 2014):
- Social sensitivity
- Social insight
- Moral judgement
- Social communication
- Social problem-solving (p. 59)
All these are taught to students through social skills training, enabling students to choose what is appropriate depending on the social context. This would involve Drake learning what is appropriate in the classroom situation and teach him strategies to allow for others input, role-taking, and be able to recognise the emotions of those around him, moral judgement and social sensitivity. It is possible for students to create a long-term goal for social skills training, this would align with their current abilities and what they want to work towards. Drake could set a goal of learning what using the appropriate level to speak to others at in different settings or how to deal with problems after they occur relating to providing space, then apologising or forgiving at an appropriate time. Mitchell (2014) goes on to explain that there are four skills that link to social competence the most; conversation skills, coping with conflict, friendship skills and group skills. All these help with student communication in the classroom and learning how to let everyone have their turn in sharing their thoughts.
It is important to consider as a teacher that there can be many factors that can impact on a students’ communication in the classroom, all of which can be addressed when teaching students, the socially correct way, depending on situation. This may involve some students learning to let others speak, while others may need guidance in partaking in group conversations. It is important to teach students that their opinion can be communicated and that they need to listen to other thoughts also.
Where should my voice be?
Out of control
No one is talking
Implementing in the classroom – for teachers
PURPOSE: Allow the teacher/aides in the classroom to display to all students where their voices should be at. It will assist in developing students’ collaboration and communication while having a focus on creating a positive learning environment by assisting in developing their social training skills, having a focus on social communication and moral judgement.
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It is important to teach students the correct volume of voice to use to match the social situation, developing their social skills. This can be used in many situations in a classroom. It has both visual and written display for students to remember in the best way for themselves. Teachers can refer to the colours or the name of each section, depending on the social situation and what is suitable.
WHOLE-CLASS: A big display can be printed off and placed at the front of the classroom, it needs to be visible to all students. It will be explained at the beginning of implementation the purpose behind it and an example of each voice level will be given to students. This can then enable teachers to control the level of noise in their classroom while assisting students to recognise if they are using the correct level of noise, depending on the social situation. It can be referred to when required, both if it is too quiet, to encourage communication or if it is too loud, allowing others to speak or concentrate on their work.
GROUP/TABLE WORK: When there is group work, different levels of voice may be required for different groups. Teachers can print of smaller copies and each group can have their own. This will allow students to recognise if they can communicate, and if so at what level. This can assist in reducing the likelihood of noise distractions from other groups.
INDIVIDUAL: Some students may require extra assistance or reminding of the appropriate voice level to be using in social situations. Some students may have an education assistance that can carry this around, and when they believe is necessary, it can be used a reminder. Students may also ask what one they should be using if they struggle to recognise the social situation and voice level they should be using.
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