Attitudes that teachers should have
The teachers usually are very much willing to have nice relationships and to be helpful for children.
However this is not so easy to achieve. Children often behave provocatively. They are trying your patience, your wisdom, and your abilities. They can be naughty! Children with nonverbal learning disorders have difficulties to recognize non verbal communication clues, they cannot learn simply by observing, so you might expect much more misunderstandings, unexpected, abnormal behavior in your class. Concrete thinking, literal understanding of verbal messages makes it hard for these children to comprehend a joke or sarcasm, or if they are being teased. They might look too vulnerable and whining. Moreover they might look very knowledgeable and still having much learning problems. The teacher might think it is because they are lazy, due to distraction or not listening, and are occupied with their own interests and are not attentive, they don´t follow the teachers explanation, in other words – it is their fault if they cannot learn. So they might sometimes look like naughty children.
What might help the teacher is not to rush to conclusions about the underlying causes of the child’s behavior. Systematic observation, consultation with parents and specialists (psychologists, neurologists, speech therapist and special educators) is the most helpful. If we can’t immediately help, we can try to understand. Trying to understand, to solve the problems is a helpful attitude.
BASIC PEDAGOGICAL POINTS
- Early education. Start the intervention as soon the problem is known , even if the diagnosis isn´t confirmed. Why? Because the intervention is not bad “per se” and, in case the child finally has this problem, it is better for their development to begin to receive specific help sooner.
- Normalization. Start with the more usual recommendations at school (ordinary strategies, for example, adaptation in methodology, activities, and not in educational objectives or curricular content). Only when necessary, introduce extraordinary strategies.
- Collaboration between different contexts and resources. This collaboration will make this kind of pupil learn better. Everyone participating in this process can add something.
- Carry out proper psycho-pedagogical assessment to create a specific profile and introduce intervention to make a difference in each pupil.
- Organize the content to learn in a scale from the easiest to the most difficult, in order to adapt only the content that the pupil has not learnt.
- Very important: to emphasize the strong points in each pupil. We need to develop good self-esteem to guarantee the best circumstances to favour learning and development.
- Situation in the classroom. There is not a general rule, but most pupils are better placed at tables nearest to the teacher.
- When teacher introduces a new content (oral presentations or instructions): these pupils learn better with oral presentations than visual presentations. But the presentation must be concrete and without metaphor.
- Do not criticize them. Understand that a pupil with this kind of problems needs more help, more time, etc., to fulfil an objective. Instead of criticizing, it is better to encourage.
- When we talk about the help that a pupil with learning difficulties needs some people wonder if these strategies are truly a right or a privilege. This is a wrong approach to the issue. It is more appropriate to think that with these strategies a pupil with learning difficulties has the chance to learn better. Moreover, the educational law often includes these kind of strategies to put in practice. Or…would we ask a student who needs glasses why they wear them?