One thing we hear over and over again in special education is that for kids with special needs direct instruction works best. Direct instruction is where the teacher explicitly teaches and students watch as she takes them through a lesson. As opposed to exploratory learning, where a concept is introduced and the students do a lot of self-teaching, through group activities, trial and error, etc. I even had a special ed professor who said this latter type of teaching was the "hippie way." you may as well sit around smoking something and talking about your feelings with the students Ah, I loved that professor...
In my class you hear a lot of this:
"This is a seven, class. What is this?"
And the students give the choral response:
"Yes, it is a seven. This is an eight. What is this?"
Their choral response:
I was a skeptic at first, I will admit, but I have become a believer. I even have a sign up on my board that says RESPOND, and by the second day of school my special little kiddos can tell you what the word is and what it means. It is that important in my class. The only time my kids raise their hands is when they need to share a personal comment or ask a question. When it comes to giving answers we do it all together. And believe me, Miss Karen is a stickler, asking the question over and over until every student is answering with every other one.
How much stronger do you feel when you get to answer together with other people? When you say "amen" together? When you sing together? There is power in unifying our voices.
"This is called MORE POWER TO THE PEOPLE, class."