THE PATH TO REMEDIATION
Approximately 20% of the population has a learning difference.
Although these learning differences may foster creativity, for example,
when a student compensates for academic failure, they may leave
a student at a disadvantage in formal education where traditional
learning strategies are put into practice. There is, however, the
opportunity for those learning deficits to be overcome.
Remediation is the goal of a multi-step process of correction.
Accommodations for students whose special needs are documented by
qualified professionals are often an initial step in the guided
study along the road to remediation.
Accommodations, or modifications in the teaching style, aid the
student with learning differences. These adjustments cater to a
wide range of learning styles.
For students with learning problems, it may help if instructors
use some of the following strategies.
Modifications should be made in the way information is introduced;
a multi-sensory presentation is best for optimum processing. Be
sure that any material given a student is on his or her ability
level. Give outlines and summaries of lectures, and give assignments
with due dates typewritten on them.
In addition, review the last lesson before introducing new material.
Break material into smaller parts/simpler forms for presentation
and explanation. Present information slowly. Monitor the rate, level
and flow of presentation, and ask for feedback. Relate information
in the basic concepts and reinforce the base foundation, then slowly
develop more complex concepts.
Further strategies include the use of visual aids/simple schematic
drawings to reinforce (supplement) verbal explanations. For example,
when describing a nerve cell, it may be helpful to draw one, then
ask the student to do so to aid comprehension and memorization.
Keep examples as short and as simple as possible, avoid abstract
examples, repeat information when necessary, and provide preferential
seating when indicated.
Highly important, allow the student to work at his or her own pace
whenever time permits, for instance, giving extra time for the completion
of assignments and for untimed testing. Permit the student to use
a calculator, computer, typewriter, tape records, readers, and note
takers, and to give oral reports.
Occasionally, the student requires a by-pass strategy such as course
substitution. Often, however, students given support tend to persevere
and to improve.
Lisa B. Lee Sang is a former research assistant and has tutored
students in diverse subjects, from kindergarten through college
and beyond, many of whom had learning difficulties. Today she is
teaching science in a middle school in Maryland.
© 2003 Lisa
B. Lee Sang. All rights reserved