Often, behaviors are the result of life circumstances, internal struggles, or mental challenges which can impact how a student learns or behaves in a Learning Center. Here are some tips and suggestions to help students focus on doing their best.
1. Pray for the student.
Pray for him daily in personal devotional time. Pray that God will give the student clarity in understanding difficult concepts, words, or problems. Pray with him in his office at least once a week, maybe daily.
2. Limit his distractions and give closer supervision.
Make sure he is seated away from traffic patterns around doors, scoring stations, and pencil sharpeners and free of distracting pictures, objects, or playthings. Make sure his office is well lighted. Provide closer supervision, especially when a student has to repeat a PACE.
3. Check his academic prescription.
Evaluate his ability to read the PACE material and understand the concepts and vocabulary. If he is having difficulty, rediagnose to find his proper performance level. If necessary, review basic reading skills using phonics. The ABCs with Ace and Christi Review Manual, the ABCs Review PACE, and English PACEs 1001–1012 are suitable for a child 9 years old and younger. Use Videophonics PACEs and online videos for students 10 years and up. The ABCs supervisor should avoid terms and activities that imply these students are “in the babies’ class.” Should you have only one or two such students, make them the ABCs supervisor’s “helper”; they often learn better by helping younger students because it builds confidence. (For more ideas, read the suggestion box below about phonetic/reading deficiencies.)
4. Work with his parents.
Encourage parents to praise their child for accomplishing tasks at home and school and for attempting difficult projects even when he cannot complete them. Trying is honorable. The supervisor should regularly send notes to the parents praising the student for his efforts in the Learning Center.
5. Consult specialists.
Suggest that the parents consult a nutritionist to evaluate the child’s diet and identify foods that may be contributing to hyperactivity, allergies, drowsiness, inattentiveness, and poor concentration. Most children do better when their consumption of white sugar and flour, food coloring, processed foods, and preservatives is limited. Establish a coordinated effort with parents to reduce or eliminate hyperactivity. For children who do not respond to efforts to remediate unacceptable social behavior, contact a Bible college for a list of reading clinics or the names of competent counselors who can test the student for learning disabilities.
6. Encourage him daily.
Praise him several times a day, especially when he meets a learning goal. Find character traits for which staff can give sincere praise. Each child has four basic emotional needs:
- Confidence that God loves him and desires to lead him
- Love from those in authority over him
- Acceptance—just as he is
- Praise when he demonstrates Godly character
The Unresponsive Child
A rebellious or unresponsive child is usually reacting to a physical, spiritual, or emotional need in his life. Staff should take extra time to analyze and evaluate the student’s personal circumstances in determining what outside influences could be perpetuating his negative attitudes. Solutions for some of the following circumstances may also help him:
- Is his office poorly lighted so that he must turn sideways to see better?
- Is his chair too high or too low?
- Does he have a deficiency in phonetic or arithmetic skills?
Try one or more of these suggestions for students with phonetic/reading deficiencies:
- Use a phonics phone with the child to help the student hear phonetic differences clearly. The child holds the phone up to his ear and speaks into it. The phone amplifies the sound directly to the student’s ear. The phone can also be turned to allow staff to speak into the phone while the student is listening. The phonics phone can easily be made by staff.
- Consider starting a reading lab. Ask a volunteer to come in during the school day specifically to listen to and help children with their reading. The reading lab will free up other staff in the Learning Center and give students the extra help that they need.
- Does he lack self-confidence?
- Is he seated near distractions?
- Does he need glasses or a hearing aid? Does he have an eye disability?
Try one or more of these suggestions for students with eye conditions:
- Use color overlay reading strips to help a child that struggles with reading. The color forces the student’s eyes to focus.
- For Word Building tests, ask the student to spell the vocabulary words out loud to their Supervisor before writing it down on their test. Check to see if the words are spelled the same way as they spelled them out loud. If the student spells the words out loud correctly, but makes a mistake when writing it down, help the child to realize his error. This technique insures that a missed spelling on a test is not just an eye problem.
Each one of us has trials to overcome. Help your students identify any challenges they may be dealing with and assist them in finding a Godly solution. Whether there are distractions, outside influences, or special needs, offer your love and support to help each student succeed.