Helping to improve the learning outcomes of all students

Helping to improve the learning outcomes of all students 2016-10-20T10:26:34+00:00

In addition to developing a stronger awareness of the teaching strategies known to target specific areas of learning, there are a number of strategies that can help improve learning outcomes more generally. These strategies can be used by parents to support their children at home but are also of value to the classroom teacher. A table outlining these eight strategies appears on the following pages.

Strategies

How to implement

  • Express a belief that all students can improve their academic levels
  • Encourage and support the student to set high personal learning goals
  • Maintain an expectation that the student can achieve in line with their potential
  • Help the student to use appropriate resources or assistive technology that will allow them to access the same material as their peers

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Find ways to adjust homework or set tasks so they are in a format the student can use e.g. read out written questions, scan instructions and use text reading software on the computer, find audio versions of text books, re-write questions in simplified text
  • Discuss goals with the student in advance, making expectations clear
  • Ensure the student is aware of the steps required to achieve goals
  • Break homework tasks and assignments down into smaller steps and provide feedback along the way to ensure success

How to implement

  • Talk to the student’s teacher about classroom strategies and adjustments that will allow your child to participate and learn
  • Follow up with the student and their teacher to ensure adjustments are being used and are actually assisting the student to engage with the curriculum and are minimising any barriers to learning

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Alternative methods to access curriculum content, such as e-books, video, assistive technology (voice to text/ text to voice software) used at home and at school
  • Additional time to access material or complete an examination or assessment task
  • Request summaries of teaching content, and glossaries of new terms that you can discuss with the student
  • Assist the student to request an alternative task if the format of the task does not allow them to demonstrate their skills and knowledge

How to implement

  • Allow the student to focus on one subject at a time when completing homework
  • Break down homework tasks into small clear achievable steps that can be checked off as they are completed
  • If the student is practising a new skill, assist them with working through the task in a step-by-step basis and ensure each step is mastered before the next step is introduced
  • If possible, provide immediate corrective feedback and reinforcement as the student completes their homework

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Demonstrate or model the steps required to complete a homework task
  • Find one of the student’s friends that is competent with subjects your student finds hard to act as a homework buddy
  • Request that the teacher provide an example of the finished piece of work so that expectations are clear
  • Ask the student to complete smaller “chunks” that build together to complete the larger task

How to implement

  • Monitor the student’s ability to complete their homework independently and ensure they are able to ‘master’ the set task

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Alert the teacher if the student is struggling to learn or remember the skills being sent home for homework
  • Ensure the student is receiving explicit, structured, cumulative programs at both a whole-class and small group/one-to-one level.

How to implement

  • If the student is learning new skills at school, try to provide scaffolds and support to assist their learning and then gradually withdraw the supports as they become more competent
  • The provision of scaffolds and support assists students to achieve their learning goals and reduces anxiety

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Modelling the steps required to complete a task
  • Cue cards, checklists, concept maps and writing templates/guides
  • Request a model of the completed task against which the student can compare their own work
  • Use of assistive technology (e.g., electronic spellchecker, literacy software programs)

How to implement

  • Ask the teacher to provide regular and targeted feedback alongside the practice of key skills and concepts
  • Feedback should provide information to help the student to develop their skills
  • Feedback should be given at a time and frequency that allows it to be useful (e.g., immediately following completion of a task)
  • Check for understanding by asking the student to explain what they have learnt after completing their homework
  • Ask the student about their set homework – did they learn anything from doing it? What could be done differently to help them complete the task?

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Request teachers provide detailed written feedback on assignments, projects, tests
  • Ask teachers for a marking grid that offers specific feedback against a pre-determined criteria
  • Provide positive feedback on things the student was able to do successfully and offer feedback outlining specific ways in which they could improve their performance next time
  • Ask the student how they feel they performed

How to implement

  • Students need multiple opportunities to learn new concepts and skills through a variety of mediums (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic)
  • Assist the student to highlight key words, statements, concepts and instructions in their homework to reinforce what they need to do
  • Talk about previous homework tasks that may assist your child to learn and understand new material
  • Understand that the more curriculum material is revisited, repeated, and reinforced, the stronger the neural connections to this knowledge become and the more easily accessible it is

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Try to explain homework tasks using different methods such as visuals, hands-on materials, and verbal explanations if the student does not understand, or request that the teacher provide an alternative format
  • Ask the student to summarise what they have learnt or to repeat directions or procedures
  • Stop and check the student understands what they are required to do for their homework as they work through it

How to implement

  • Ask that teachers make adjustments and modifications to assessment tasks for the student to cater for their specific learning needs

Example of Resources/Approaches

  • Ensure the student is provided with alternative modes of assessment or extra time on examinations to read and analyse questions, organise thoughts, plan answers, and sequence material
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