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The Psycho-Educational Teacher
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Foundational learning skills, or basic learning skills, are those thinking patterns that a learner needs to be able to perform a learning task. A basic learning skill is an automatic process that develops through unique interactions between each learner and his or her environment. A student may fail to master a complex learning task due to a weakness in the foundation of one or more of the particular learning processes involved in the task, and not necessarily due to the way the task was taught. For example, if a student has a weakness in discriminating differences in sounds, she may show confusion in the sounds that she hears, resulting in depressed word pronunciation and depressed oral reading. In the school setting, the auditory modality of learning is second only to the visual modality. Through the auditory channel, language develops and reading skills are built up. Next, we present in detail the auditory processing skill. For discussion purposes, we examine auditory processing independently from other basic learning skills. In reality, all foundational skills are intertwined and interacting constantly.
A weak auditory processing may be evidenced in learning problems such as: 1. the states. That is why classroom lectures and lessons that are not reinforced visually tend to be so difficult for children with auditory sequencing problems. retrieving the auditory information in the same order that is was heard. Difficulty discriminating subtle differences in sounds or words 2. or to reconstruct the order of sounds in a word or syllable. Oral language delays 5. or the multiplication tables. Auditory stimuli place the biggest demand on students’ attention and memory because the auditory information is sequentially ordered and cannot be seen. which may involve short-term and/or long-term memory. When a learner has . Auditory processing does not affect what we hear. Auditory processing relates strongly to word reading and spelling. Difficulty paying attention We can categorize auditory processing into: Auditory Sequencing is the ability to retrieve the auditory information in its proper sequence or order. or problems involving hearing such as deafness or hard of hearing. Difficulty following oral directions 4. This is not the same as hearing. Difficulty retrieving auditory sequences may inhibit the student’s ability to carry out a set of oral directions. Difficulty remembering the information heard 3. it organizes and stores it immediately in short-term memory. Auditory memory also involves retrieving the auditory information from storage when we need to use it. When our brain perceives the auditory information. memorizing the alphabet.” A student with auditory sequencing problems often has difficulty memorizing rote sequences. the student has limited opportunity to review the auditory information once the teacher delivers the information. Auditory Memory is the ability to store and recall the information presented orally. but how the brain interprets and processes the information heard. For example. that is. Unlike the visual material. the student hears the word “elephant” but he writes “ephelant. for example.What is Auditory Processing? Auditory processing refers to the ability to analyze or make sense of the information taken in through the ears. the months.
this student may have difficulty repeating and/or rephrasing what he just heard. timbre. involves the ability to combine all the sounds or syllables in a word to make them a whole word (sounds or syllables blending). Auditory discrimination includes auditory discrimination of foreground-background (distinguishing the most important auditory stimulus from the less important stimuli). they tend to mispronounce or misunderstand the word. a word into its separate sounds (sounds segmentation). Auditory discrimination includes the ability to discriminate sounds in words that are similar (e. this student may appear that he is not paying attention to the lesson (distractibility). intonation. oral reading comprehension (understanding meanings) can be affected too. or sentences. When asked about the verbal information delivered. Auditory Discrimination is the ability to distinguish similarities or differences in sounds. frequency. cars honking outside the window.difficulty recalling the information received from auditory cues. The phonics approach to reading and spelling is generally difficult to students with an auditory discrimination deficit. This presents a problem in the classroom where students are required to be able to screen out distracting auditory information (e. that is. .g. Auditory Synthesis. and marry) and in words that are different. peers talking. And when a student frequently mistakes one word for another. Mary. auditory synthesis is crucial to the reading and spelling process. the student will show a limited oral reading. and asks the teacher or a peer to repeat what was said. or auditory closure. or break apart. In combination with sequencing and discriminating sounds. When these students are given a reading task in which the words are unfamiliar or the meaning of the word is unknown. and the ability to analyze. phrases.g. including differences in intensity. a noisy hall) to concentrate and pay attention to the lesson. Auditory discrimination is a very important sub-skill for learning the phonemic structure of the oral language. A child with a foreground-background discrimination problem may have difficulty perceiving the most important auditory stimulus in the presence of background stimuli (e. In the classroom.g. and auditory discrimination of position (knowing from where the sound is coming from). he may show difficulty remembering the sounds of letters and the correct pronunciation of words. noise) or when the stimulus change. and is necessary for the acquisition of word attack skills in reading. or pitch. merry.
onsets. it is called phonological awareness. /k/ + /a/ + /sh/ says “cash. say the last sound he hears in the word “hard”). stores. . Difficulties with auditory processing do not affect what the learner hears. but do affect how the brain processes the information heard. and rhymes. Auditory processing. while phonemic awareness is an understanding of the spoken language. for example. or sound-symbol matching. Concluding Comments How well children learn is a reflection of how well the brain receives. processes.” When the phonological task includes analyzing larger units of sounds such as syllables. a child with well developed phonemic awareness skills can segment sounds in words (for example. and can blend strings of isolated sounds together to make up a word. in particular.In oral language. and expressive language. or the ability to express ideas orally. Difficulties with auditory processing can also extend into the related areas of oral reading and phonetic spelling. or the ability to understand what is said. Auditory processing deficits primarily interfere with the ability to manage information presented verbally and with the development of oral language. Phonemic awareness and phonics are not equivalent terms. knowledge of letters and sound-symbol matching is not needed in phonemic awareness. Phonics involves knowing the relation between the sounds and the letter that each sound represents. Students with auditory processing deficits can be at a disadvantage in many learning situations. and uses the information. receptive language. Most of the information presented in the classroom involves listening as well as seeing. describes what happens when our brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around us. the ability to manipulate sounds is called phonemic awareness. in order to develop or expand knowledge students are required to automatically and effortlessly develop an auditory or a visual representation of the new information.
About the Author Carmen Y. Carmen is an expert in the application of behavior management strategies. Her classroom background. Carmen has taught at all grade levels. She also has extensive graduate training in psychology (30+ credits). The Psycho-Educational Teacher. Carmen is the author of 60+ books and articles in child guidance and in alternative teaching techniques for low-achieving students. from kindergarten to post secondary. has more than twenty years of experience as a self-contained special education teacher. The Psycho-Educational Teacher. You can read the complete collection of articles on Scribd or her blog. . Carmen has a bachelor’s degree in psychology (University of Puerto Rico) and a master’s degree in special education with a specialization in emotional disorders (Long Island University. resource room teacher. and in teaching students with learning or behavior problems. Reyes. visit Carmen’s blog. To download free the eGuide. Brooklyn: NY). and educational diagnostician. includes ten years teaching emotionally disturbed/behaviorally disordered children and four years teaching students with a learning disability or low cognitive functioning. in New York City and her native Puerto Rico. Persuasive Discipline: Using Power Messages and Suggestions to Influence Children Toward Positive Behavior.
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