Creating a Better Classroom Environment for Students with Learning

Jenny Mizrahi
Education 702.22
Spring 2010
Creating a Better Classroom
Environment for Students with
Learning Disabilities
Statement of the Problem
Literature Review
Statement of Hypothesis
Statement of the Problem
There are many issues regarding how to
approach a good teaching method in classrooms
with students with learning disabilities (LD’s).
The belief that all children learn the same way
and at the same pace is false and therefore this
belief system needs to be re-looked at. Educators
today are trying to find successful ways to
teach students with learning disabilities. Is there
a “best” approach when teaching students with
learning disabilities?
Literature Review
Current literature provides different
techniques in which teachers can create a
better and easier learning environment for
students with learning disabilities.
One specific, but broad, technique teachers
have been incorporating is the use of
current technology tools.
Literature Review
Research has found that the use of
technology within the classroom and at
home has helped students become more
independent when making their own
decisions, and students are more actively
engaged within the lesson (Kugelmass,
1995; Jeffs, Behrmann, Bannan-Ritland,
Literature Review
Jeffs, Behrmann, & Bannan-Ritland (2006)
add that technology can be just as effective when
used at home with the help of parents, if done
correctly. They found that children were
gaining a sense of independence. The use of
technology along with the use of the internet has
given these students more reading and writing
opportunities they were unable to receive with
any other text.
Literature Review
Other examples of integrative technology
that can be used in the classroom and/or
at home include:
– KidTools. This is a system that helps
students with learning or behavior problems.
Includes strategies and templates especially
for the student, teacher, and parents (Miller,
Fitzgerald, Koury, Mitchem, & Hollingsead,
Literature Review
– Computer based reading and spelling.
Students with specific reading and writing
disabilities were able to improve their
disability by constantly copying specific
words from the screen. Although copying
words from a computer screen has helped
children improve their writing skills, it
should not replace formal handwriting(van
Daal & van der Leij, 1992; Berninger, Abbott,
Augsburger & Garcia, 2009).
Literature Review
Another technique includes the use of
verbal interaction between peers and
Examples of interaction within the
classroom include:
– Educational games, i.e. word puzzles, board
games, card games (Charlton, Williams, &
McLaughlin, 2005).
Literature Review
– Class-wide peer “tootling” is a positive peer
reporting. Almost as if students are tattletailing on each other but with something
positive (Cihak, Kirk, & Boon, 2009).
– Encouragement. Show students how the most
frustrating things can be easy to deal with,
allow time for students to reflect with each
other, allow time for a read-aloud, use of
audiobooks (Sanacore, 1999).
Literature Review
– Whole Class Lessons. When conducting a
whole class lesson, teachers need to make sure
that students with disabilities are involved
because many times, they will not involve
themselves in the discussions (Berry, 2006).
Literature Review
Note to Teacher: steps that can help
create a positive learning environment for
your students:
– Create a positive student-teacher relationship
– Reflect on yourself (i.e. biases, perceptions)
– Create roles for students in the classroom
– Be creative with given resources
(Regan, 2009).
Maria Montessori is one practitioner whose work
continues to be used worldwide today in the education
system. She believed that (a) all children can learn,
even those classified as “ineducable,” (b) children should
be in an environment where they can “pick up the
challenge and to judge their own progress.” Children
should be engaged in the lesson, (c) Educator is an
observer rather than the teacher. Students become their
own teachers (informal education).
(Smith, 1997, 2009).
John Dewey is a famous theorist who believed
that education should be engaging and create
special experiences for students. Dewey believed
and was passionate about having an education
system where everyone involved can have a
similar experience. He also believed that the
environment and interactions played vital
roles when teaching.
(Smith, 1997, 2001)
Statement of Hypothesis
As an intervention, I will attempt to find out how much
the use of technology (i.e. computers and/or internet)
can help students with learning disabilities achieve in
school. I will conduct this research at P.S. X in a thirdgrade classroom over a five-week period, twice a week for
about 30 minutes each day. At the end of the five-week
session, I will give the students a written questionnaire
asking them how effective the use of technology was for
them and how much it has affected their school work
and their attitudes towards school.
Berninger, V. W., Abbott, R. D., Augsburger, A., Garcia, N. (2009). Comparison of Pen and
Keyboard Transcription Modes in Children With and Without Learning Disabilities.
Learning Disability Quarterly, 32 (3), 123-141.
Berry, R. A. W. (2006). Teacher Talk During Whole-Class Lessons: Engagement Strategies to
Support the Verbal Participation of Students with Learning Disabilities. Learning
Disabilities Research and Practice, 21 (4), 211-232.
Charlton, B, Williams, R. L., McLaughlin, T. F. (2005). Educational Games: A Technique to
Accelerate the Acquisition of Reading Skills of Children with Learning Disabilities.
International Journal of Special Education, 20, (2), 66-72.
Cihak, D. F., Kirk, E. R., Boon, R. T. (2009). Effects of Classwide Positive Peer
“Tootling” to Reduce Disruptive Classroom Behaviors of Elementary Students with and
without Disabilities. Journal of Behavioral Education, 18 (4), 267-278.
Jeffs, T., Behrmann, M., Bannan-Ritland, B. (2006). Assistive Technology and Literacy
Learning: Reflections of Parents and Children. Journal of Special Education
Technology, 21 (1), 37-44.
Kugelmass, J. W. (1995). Educating Children with Learning Disabilities in Foxfire
Classrooms. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 28 (9), 545-553.
Miller, K. J., Fitzgerald, G. E., Koury, K. A., Mitchem, H. J., Hollingsead, C. (2007). KidTools:
Self-Management, Problem-Solving, Organizational, and Planning Software for Children
and Teachers. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43 (1), 12-19.
Regan, K. S. (2009). Improving The Way We Think About Students With Emotional and/or
Behavioral Disorders. Teaching Exceptional Children, 41 (5), 60-65.
Sanacore, J. (1999). Encouraging Children to Make Choices About Their Literacy Learning.
Intervention in School and Clinic, 35 (1), 38-42.
Smith, M. K. (1997, 2009). Maria Montessori and Informal Education. Retrieved from
Smith, M. K. (1997, 2001). John Dewey. Retrieved from
van Daal, V. H. P., van der Leij, A. (1992). Computer-Based Reading and Spelling Practice
for Children with Learning Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 25 (3),

similar documents