Supporting Exceptional Students Through Student-Centered Learning Strategies

May 1, 2020

In our recent Future Ready webinar,  Supporting Exceptional Students Through Student-Centered Learning Strategies, sponsored by All Covered a division of Konica Minolta,  Leslie DiChiara, Sharon Plante, and Ace Parsi shared their expertise on the unique approaches educators and leaders can apply to ensure that students with disabilities have the resources they need to engage in personalized student-centered learning. Leslie and Sharon both bring expertise from their work supporting general education and special education teachers while Ace shared his knowledge on policies and procedures that are designed to support equitable opportunities for students with disabilities with it comes to technology enhanced learning. Avril Smart Goggans, moderated the conversation, touching on various aspects of student-centered learning from different instructional approaches designed to address the distinct learning needs of students with disabilities to using Universal Design for Learning. Each panelist offered very pointed recommendations with equity at the center and ended the conversation with words of encouragement to teachers currently doing all they can to support student during remote learning. The webinar was an excellent primer for educators and leaders to begin a deep dive into how to best support exceptional students with instructional approaches that are designed with their abilities in mind.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leveraging technology for learning is not one size fits all. Be thoughtful about choosing a tool to supplement learning that is accessible to students with a variety of learning abilities. For example, ensuring that the tool has text to speech and speech to text functionality is a basic component that makes the technology tool applicable to students with disabilities.
  • Do not retrofit student-centered learning or remote learning processes for students with disabilities. Starting with students who are at the margins, those experiencing the most challenges in learning, when planning and implementing student-centered learning ensures that your approach is engaging for all students.
  • Generating buy-in among teachers is essential to making student-centered work. Keep teachers at the table for discussions on technology tools, professional development and implementation strategies for a new initiative. In addition, when teachers see the value of student-centered learning and its impact on students, they are willing to increase their professional growth to implement this strategy with fidelity.
  • Universal Design for Learning has been around for years but is even more crucial when designing a lesson for students at either end of the learning spectrum.  Lessons created with UDL in mind make room for students regardless of the ability to be engaged, to demonstrate their learning in different ways, and access information in multiple formats.
  • Providing ongoing support and training for teachers is critical to the sustainability of student-centered learning in the classroom. When teachers are able to “fail forward” and grow professionally they become more invested in the process. So much so that they become more in tuned with their students’ needs and are able to recommend new approaches and modalities to instruction based on their student’s ability.

For more on our conversation, please check out the full webinar below!

Join us for more conversations with future ready educators across the country who are engaging in student-centered learning on Twitter or Facebook.

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