Renay is looking through some early drafts of an upcoming book but we’re going ahead with this week. But she did want to convey thanks to everyone who checked in on her last week.
With the end of the year looming and all the end of the year events changing nearly daily. But for those of us who have just returned to campus, things are more than just ‘hybrid’ of online and in person. It is a hybrid of both returning to school expectations—like the beginning of the school year—and things winding down—school wide testing and discussions about graduation. It feels very odd considering some of us ‘just got here’.
Echoes in the Room
A polite reminder about over prompting. Especially for our students whose minds wander a lot more than we can imagine. All our students, not just those with attention-based disabilities, are struggling to be in a place and having attention either on the board to a person or to a screen. They are not used to splitting their entire attention in this manner and now they are in person, there are other people to draw attention from. It is certainly not in the same way as prior to Distance Learning, but there are some differences especially if your student was not quite a teenager when the last you saw them prior to returning to campus.
So the over prompting? Yes. When a single instructor gives a specific instruction, count to twenty, wait for the adult, even in a general education class, to redirect and check in with that student. The challenging part—some teachers used to do this subtly, perhaps even walking around the classroom. Subtly from a distance is not something that catches most people’s attention, even as an adult, Renay admits to fumbling many times.
When you re-prompt within the time it takes for a student to loop their mind into the instruction, the student usually does not learn to listen to the first instruction. For some students, they internalize the repetition and then you get an echo of all responses. Give the student that chance to respond. Give the student that connection to the teacher.
For students using AAC this is perhaps the most challenging time for them to be using their device. The world is not slowing down so they can catch up.
It is the time of year that most students are challenged anyway with attention. Outside is so nice and it is not just about being outside. The students we have in front of us are very different than the students we had just three months ago, even the squares that are nothing more than a name are different.
Certainly some students are watching videos and not paying attention in class. And many students have not learned the habits of moving from class to class or activity to activity. Most have spent the last months mostly being in one area, perhaps some of the students have not had to move many of their items between spaces.
Natural consequences is the default educator during Spring. If a student is late to class, then whatever they have to do to come in late to a class the student needs to figure that out. It feels harsh at this time of year under the circumstances because a large population of students are not used to coming to class at this point, however, be direct.
- Give one warning about when to start packing up. Even for a slow packer.
- Just leave the class. The constant reminders will not necessarily change how things unfold for the student, especially for an older student.
Over prompting is literally the number one complaint about paraeducators with students with disabilities. Some students then over-rely on their paraeducators. For even students who will likely be adults with support their entire lives, being over prompted does little to increase the potential of trust. It is not enough that the student has a chance to learn to make a choice we, adult educators, need to respect the amount of time it will take for a student to build the skills they know their voice is respected by people around them. This is one instance where we can build their self-esteem and mutual respect between an educator and a student.
Over prompting is literally the number one complaint about paraeducators with students with disabilities.ParaEducate
All of the skills we utilize with students at this point of the year are supposed to be building the capacity of that student for ‘whatever is next’. If they need to learn to navigate campus, then give them a little bit more space to get to class without support. If you don’t know what might be ‘next’ for that student by grade level, ask around, your campus might have a general education profile of what they expect students to do by that point in the fall. Realize that there might be a lot of sliding back on the part of the student when you only look at one or two specific behaviors. But overall, have faith that the student will be able to do things and they will figure it out. It feels frustrating because some staff might be using ‘regular’ scheduling in their minds with students, but even with the way things have played out in the last year, there are lessons to still learn at school.
Just in Case You Missed It
Renay had a banner three weeks of publishing for Inclusion From Square One. Inclusion From Square One will return in July 2021.
Do you have any comments about this week’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during the academic school year on Mondays, unless a holiday or announced day off. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.