You’ve probably heard the term “grit” thrown around a lot recently in relation to teaching and raising successful students. Grit is the new buzzword, synonymous with perseverance, passion, happiness, and success. But, it might not cut it for students with learning disabilities.
For students with learning disabilities, making progress in the classroom is typically challenging. Further, keeping that momentum up over the weeks and semesters of the school year can seem like an almost impossible task. Imagine, then, how difficult it must be for a child who struggles with a learning difference to retain during the summer all the information he or she has learned throughout the year.
Dyslexia is the most notorious of all the learning disabilities—perhaps because of how frustrating it can be to live with it. That isn’t to say that other learning disabilities, such as ADD, aren’t equally challenging, but dyslexia presents a unique set of challenges.
Every college is unique. This is why you will hear college counselors, this one included, talk about the importance of finding the right fit. Part of their uniqueness includes how they offer academic support. Some colleges will offer accommodations for classroom/lecture hall environments and testing situations while others will offer a varying amount of tutoring. The tutoring may be offered by peers who scored well in last year's class or had up to 14 hours of tutor training while other schools may offer professional tutors who have master's degrees. Some colleges have tutoring that is centralized within a learning center and others have tutoring run through the academic departments.
As education continues to evolve, becoming ever more competitive and fast-paced, our framework as educators must evolve along with it. Equally as important as ensuring solid educational foundations is the challenge of building healthy, lasting habits.
Over the last year, I have traveled across the United States touring studio spaces and makerspaces in high schools, colleges and universities, and community literacy centers. The objective in my traveling was to meet students and teachers and community leaders working with a variety of media in preparation to help lead our own school toward designing a new innovative, student-centered learning space. While each space I visited proudly showcased a variety of technologies, including 3D printers, laser cutters, cardboard, cubelets, raspberry pi, and more LEGOs than one person could ever count, the common thread among these spaces is the teachers and facilitators implement a pedagogy that advocates for the adjacent possible. The learning diversity model with which we approach teaching and learning at Eagle Hill emphasizes the adjacent possible both in and outside of the classroom as we purposefully engage our students and faculty in conversations and activities that move us toward recognizing and acting upon new ideas.
Stress is, unfortunately, a part of everyday life—we all experience it. Whether at our jobs, during our commute, or trying to plan a big trip, stress is a natural element in our lives. It’s no different for children in school, and this is particularly true for children who struggle with learning disabilities.
It is important to understand that two different laws govern the assistance that students with learning disabilities receive in high school versus college. In high school, students with learning disabilities are covered under the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). There is no special education at the college level. When students matriculate to college, they are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are significant differences for what this means for students. The link below is an excellent resource outlining the most significant of these:
As the 3:11 bell rings and the last class is dismissed for the day, most students look forward to an activity-filled afternoon with friends, sports, and the moments that will become lifetime memories. What they may not realize, however, is that when the school day ends, programming has been carefully crafted to provide for their continued learning for the remainder of the day.