Participated in LD Simulations in Attention, Reading, Writing and Mathematics....
Thoughts....As a student without any diagnosis of a learning disability, I have often wondered internally if I did have one. I truly believe each individual learns uniquely. I have often times been "lost" in lecture. Sometimes I'm bored or distracted with other life challenges. Other times I absolutely do not understand my teacher. I have always had to read by myself then teach myself what the lecture was. I take both book notes and lecture notes. My book notes teach me whereas my lecture notes help me determine what the teacher thinks is important to learn and understand. I remember struggling writing papers in high school and could relate to the student in the composition simulation. I would write essays or thesis papers and what I wanted to say never showed up on paper. Finally, in a push to get English college credits while in high school I asked a peer to help me with my papers. I would write drafts. She would then proof them and give me suggestions on how to better organize my thoughts. She would help guide me to move this information to this paragraph and put sentences in a different order. By the end of a the second semester she was giving me suggestions on using some more 50cent words. I bought a thesaurus to increase my use of language. She no longer had to help me reorganize my paper. I owe her greatly for her guidance. I still use the tools she taught me today.
With that said, I can understand how hard it might be for students to learn; whether its specific subjects or understanding through different teaching methods. During the mathematics simulations and the memory section of the reading simulation, I saw how hard it would be if I forgot the basics. My undergrad is in biology. I have taken up to calculus 3, organic chemistry 3 etc. I could answer the questions because I already had retained the information. Had I not already learned these subjects; I would have failed both simulations. It would be extremely hard to not be able to look for the answers in the story that disappeared as you read along. This is how a student who lacks memory retention feels when they test or are asked questions.
I believe students can be taught, taught to teach themselves and taught tools on how to learn and retain information. I hope as a teacher that I can identify these weaknesses in students and help teach them ways to learn around their disability. An example would be; a student who struggles writing notes from lecture. I could give each student an outline of the lecture with room for notes. For the student who is struggling; I could add more information and highlight important information so that he could follow along without falling behind. Only he and I would know that he has the full notes and not the outline. This would help in keeping his self esteem high. I would hope that this and maybe a different test style could help build his confidence. I would then as the year progressed begin to fade out this prompt to simply the same outline as the other students.
It was a great experience participating in the simulations. If I had never felt failure or frustrated in learning it would have opened my eyes up to how they feel. I could definitely see how students with learning disabilities could easily lose self esteem, give up and feel frustrated, lost and lonely. My goal as a teacher would be to build self-esteem in each student. We all learn uniquely and that's what makes us special.