There seems to be a lot of discussion these days about what does it mean to have something individualized for a single person, especially with the internet. There seems to be this worried that if we individualized the browsing experience for the person, they will see something different from the rest of us. But, that’s not at all what it means to us.
Individualizing means we look at the whole person in order to see what their strengths, goals, and desires are. It also means supporting them in their areas of need, too. What we then do is create unique supports that every child needs in order to make progress in their learning.
What do individualized supports look like?
Supports can be a variety of technological and simple accommodations! The technology that we all take for granted used to be costly and was out of reach for most. Dictation can help avoid impediments that spelling or fine motor issues can bring. Students that are slow to complete their calculations may benefit from a calculator so they can continue to understand more advanced math concepts, and learn technology appropriately. We also look for language supports for students still learning language or needing help from a language delay. Something as simple as a vocabulary word bank can help give the spark that moves a child from a single word response to and well thought out argument. Students that struggle understanding and completing a large assignment, such as an essay, may feel better when there is a step by step check list to get everything completed on time!
Our group lessons are designed with many of these features included in the class. This helps us build an inclusive environment where all students can find success and develop relationships where they don’t feel like the odd kid out and seek out to find more successful interactions.
Individualized Supports for a post-pandemic world
There has been a great word shift in education news. We’re no longer using the phrase learning loss: that phrase makes it seems like its something our students have done; now we’re looking at is as lost instructional time. It’s nothing that happened deliberately, it just is. Well thought out accommodations can be the bridge to help students move from where they are to where we hope them to be. Writing frames, at any level, can give students a model to practice with and move back up to grade level standards.
Another critical support are our social-emotional supports. Recognizing burn out and allowing grace in the form of extra time and breaks to relax will be essential going forward. We’re happy to bring awareness in the form of curricula choices and direct lessons to help students develop their tool kits for success!