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When teaching special needs students, we must search for the best way to instruct them

to ensure that they have the best education available. The following are just a few ways
in which we can insure that the students are getting the proper education. General
Guidelines The exceptional child's basic needs and goals for geography are not so
different from those of the "ordinary" child, but the means of achieving those goals and
fulfilling those needs may be different. The following general practices are crucial in
teaching exceptional children.
STUDENTS WITH ATTENTION-DEFICIT DISORDERS
Many learning-disabled students have difficulty focusing on tasks and maintaining
attention. Some of these children are said to have ADHD if the behavior occurs much
more frequently than in others of the same mental age and if the onset is before age
seven. Children who cannot concentrate are likely to have trouble learning. Teachers
who work with these students should reward on-task behavior and ignore
inappropriate behavior, ask students to paraphrase directions back to them, use
improvised study carrels to eliminate distractions, provide structure by adhering to
schedules and routines, make sessions short and use contract or progress charts.
When constructing a map, break the step down into smaller units. Chart each step
so the student knows where they are and what the next step is.
STUDENTS WITH MENTAL RETARDATION
The primary characteristic of mildly mentally retarded children is that they do not
learn as readily as others of the same chronological age. They are usually unable to
make complicated generalizations and learn material incidentally. This is due in part
to their slower ability to learn. If the instruction is slowed down, many MR students
will learn the desired material. Remember, "slow and steady wins the race." Break
steps down and allow time for the student to complete their work.
STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS
Teachers can make provisions for visually impaired children by adjusting lighting,
providing tape-recorded stories and books with large print, and reading orally to the
whole class frequently. They should refer children to visual specialists if they observe
symptoms as the following: squinting, closing, or covering one eye, rubbing eyes
frequently, or making frequent errors when copying board work.
STUDENTS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS
When providing instruction, teachers should speak slowly and clearly with adequate
volume, seat the child as far as possible from distracting sounds. (Ross 640-642)
VISUAL LEARNERS
Have a table set aside for students to work puzzles on. You can buy old puzzles at
garage sales which will be very cheap. If pieces are missing, have the students
create the piece that is missing. This will help the students see some of the
characteristics of the puzzle. This will help if the puzzle is of a state or country
because the students will have to use a map to find the pieces that are missing, and
then copy it on a piece of paper to replace the missing one.
Teaching & Learning Activities for Special
Needs Students