Question One: Understanding the Psychology of the Struggling Reader
Students requiring individual education present different challenges as they pass through the education system. The outstanding problems identified in special needs learners include reading, writing, concentrating, retaining knowledge, speech, and many other categories. In my case, the learner I worked with had challenges with reading hence required individual attention in this area. Learners experience various challenges in reading, and this requires utmost expertise by the instructor in helping them to resolve the challenge. The psychology of a struggling reader can only be understood through the observation of a learner with a similar challenge. A major number of school children are going experience reading problems hence there is an urgent need for teachers to understand the psychology of a struggling reader. At these lower grades, most classes undertaken involve reading out loud to other students. Having reading problems may have negative impacts on the affected learner. In this case study, the most notable impact of challenges in reading is emotional devastation. Working with a struggling reader enhanced my understanding of their constant fear that they are not progressing in their class work (Lindgren, 2003). Being able to read is one of the signs of positive progress in learners’ academic life. Any struggles the student feels can frighten him or her by the lack of any progress on their side due to those challenges in reading. Learners get acquainted with the school environment through reading, as most materials are in written contexts. Having difficulties in reading implies being excluded from adjusting and getting familiar with the learning environment unlike the case of other efficient readers. The message being sent to struggling readers is the lack of independence in their academic work. This, in turn, leads to struggling readers to withdraw from any activities which may involve reading.
Influence of Psychological Understanding on Future Practices of a Teacher
Understanding the psychology of struggling readers is of significance to future individual education teachers. Most importantly, teachers use the acquired information to identify individual needs of struggling readers. As identified earlier, reading has various challenges, and it is necessary to identify individual learner reading challenge in order to find a proper way of handling the situation. Through engaging with a learner with reading difficulties, I understand the need to assess learners’ reading abilities, their beliefs and their interests. Therefore, as a teacher, I can easily establish the necessary measures and approaches to use in case of a given reading difficulty. Better understanding of struggling reader’s psychology prepares teachers on an appropriate platform to handle such cases. There is a need for every teacher to have a broad understanding of learners’ psychology before attempting to solve any problem and help the learners (Lindgren, 2003).
Question Two: Role of Project in Establishing New Strategies to Implement as a Teacher
The project undertaken involved working with a learner who has reading problems. The project involved several steps in helping the learner to overcome the reading challenges. The strategies employed in the project included testing information on the learner’s attitude towards reading, oral vocabulary, phonemic awareness, symbol correspondence, phonics, and spelling.
Many more strategies can be applicable in such cases. In the project, new strategies established include understanding the struggling from a home perspective to the school environment. I have fully understood the need to employ new strategies in teaching children with reading difficulties. These learners require a structure, which allows consistent flow of information that they can consistently follow (Blachowicz & Fisher, 2010). In addition to the existing approaches to teaching these learners, there is the need to adapt self-questions of active thinking together with a format designed for self-construction. In this strategy, the instructor thinks aloud using self questions and students are expected to pick up on the teachers’ thoughts process. In the course of the project, I experienced the positive outcomes of self directing questioning as the learner performed better after the implementation of the strategy.
Many struggling readers lack the confidence in their capabilities hence the need to allow self questioning in the process of reading. Through asking questions before any reading session, learners can gain confidence and more comprehension of the matter at hand. Self questioning strategy allows the learners to predict the expectations in any reading session hence positive outcomes. The main resource helpful in the self-questioning strategy is the self-evaluation sheet. This resource allows the learner to identify his or her greatest weaknesses when it comes to reading. Understanding the sources of reading difficulties helps in improving the reading abilities.
Question Three: Significance of in-depth Studying of an Individual Child in Teaching Enhancement
Working in groups can be a difficult affair for teachers especially in cases where different challenges are expected. Reading challenges have different levels and aspects, and conducting such lessons with a large class may not help in enhancing teaching. In cases of individual education, there is a need for particular attention. Working with an individual learner with reading difficulties allows the teacher to offer specialized attention to the learner. In doing so, the teacher can easily identify the reading challenge unlike when working in a group. Group work encourages the issues of generalization in struggling learners, and this can not help in identifying the last solution tot heir individual challenges.
In-depth studying of an individual struggling reader has a positive impact on teaching. It allows the widening of the teaching scope that the teacher will employ in dealing with exceptional children. After dealing with the learner, my teaching strategies improved especially in motivating the learner to have confidence. Special education calls for understating the learner from several aspects and yet this is a point most teachers miss. Moreover, my teaching capabilities were substantially enhanced through the creation and practice of new teaching strategies. The strategies employed in the project, self-question and self-evaluation of the learner increase reading confidence and self-understanding.
Question Four: Disadvantages of Grouping Struggling Readers
As earlier identified, reading problems vary from the reader to the reader and each problem requires a different approach in improving the situation. Some readers have problems with decoding information; others have challenges in decoding words and information while others have problems with pronunciations and sounds. All of these and many other reading challenges require different approaches to solving the reading problems. Teaching struggling readers in a group will not help in achieving the set goals for different reading problems. In this case study, I worked with one student through grade 2, 3, and 4, and, at the end of the project, the learner showed remarkable progress in areas he had difficulties when reading. Through individual attention, I managed to own the learner’s problems as a teacher hence focused on the areas with difficulty. The new strategies where specific to the problem the learner exhibited were established. This would not have been the case in the event of grouping struggling readers. Grouping struggling readers will not help the teacher to identify particular reading problems to address in each struggling learner. The outcome of such a grouping approach will be the generalization of problems.
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Grouping struggling readers hampers the progress of individual learner understanding as the they will not have a chance to realize their weaknesses. Some readers may have difficulties in reading, but, perform better than others in the group. In this case, the slow learners in reading tactics will feel intimidated and resolve to pulling out of the class or reading practices. However, through individual teaching approach, learners can effectively engage with the teacher on a one-on-one basis and establish their challenges (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006). In turn, the teacher will come up with unique strategies to handle the individual cases. On another aspect, the approach of individual class attention raises the question of the need of differentiated instruction, which means that teachers are using various modes of instruction depending on the projected reading difficulty.
Differentiating instruction enhances the quality of teaching in the classroom for different groups of students. When teachers differentiate instruction, they offer more than one way for learners to access and learn the curriculum. Through differentiated instruction, there is individualized learning for struggling readers. Teachers who differentiate their lessons report students’ engagement in the learning process as the approach puts learning responsibility on those learners. More importantly, teachers who use differentiated instructions offer the learners certain choice in learning activities which in turn leads to greater student motivation and their increased achievements (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006).
Question Five: Role of Coursework in Preparation of Project Conduction in an Objective and Informed Manner
The course work undertaken prior to the project was beneficial as it equipped me with all the necessary information for the field. As a distinctive education teacher, the course work enabled me to be prepared for different challenges in the education field. Different learners exhibit varied disabilities which a call for distinguished teaching methods. The undertaken course work equipped me with different teaching methods needed to help children who require specialized education, which prepares teachers for dealing with the different cases presented by those children (Smutny, 2003).
Special education varies from the normal education as the latter deals with learners with individual academic and biological challenges. The course work prescribed for individual education teachers allows the understanding of the field and requirements for effective delivery of set objectives. In relation to the project undertaken, the course work helped me to be prepared psychologically and academically; it helped me to prepare and conduct the case study according to the defined objectives without missing out the significance of the education process. In addition, this course work helped me tp prepare for dealing with the learners, which needs a lot of patience and objectivity. Coming up with a new teaching strategies and approaches is a result of the course work undertaken prior to the case study (Smutny, 2003).
Question Six: How Could you Improve your Performance in Fulfilling the Case Study Assignment?
The case study assigned dealt with struggling readers in grade 2, 3, and 4. Struggling readers experience different challenges, and a major step is to identify the challenge each learner is experiencing. Notably in my case study, I carried out all the three lessons focusing on vowel recognition. In this case, I overlooked the incorporation of phonics lessons, which is also a key challenge for struggling readers. In addition, some of my requests in recommendations for remediation required the learner to write when he does not genuinely like to write. There is a need for alternative methods to handle such cases, which involves students with minimal interest in writing because of the challenges faced in reading classes. Understandably, the best approach in such a case would be Dolch Sight Word Recognition which works exceptionally well for a small group. This would help those learners who are not interested in writing to still gain the confidence to undertake those reading classes with a positive attitude (Phinney, 1999).
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