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Where there’s a will …

… there’s a way. Working with individual students who appear to have

learning difficulties involves finding personally appropriate strategies. Here
are a few to keep up your sleeve.

At the start of the lesson

1. Convert your instructions or lesson plan into a
• flow chart
• series of pictures or diagrams
• list of key words
• time-line
• time-circle (like a clock face)
• series of coloured cards placed in sequence on the desk

2. Have the instructions recorded on audio tape - the student can listen (using a ‘Walkman’) as
often as necessary

3. Ask the student to explain to you what to do before starting

4. Ask the student to explain to another student, or to find out from another student, what to do

5. Go through the instructions again adding gestures and actions

During the lesson

1. Set short deadlines for (or with) the student for specific tasks - turn these into challenges

2. Let the student hot-seat you to find out information

3. Give the student the ‘mantle of the expert’ (use a scarf or shawl) and hot-seat the student for
4. Have audio cassettes to hand with various types of ‘mood music’ for the student to work to
(using a ‘Walkman’)

5. Cut up the worksheet / information sheet and move the pieces around on the desk to
reinforce the connections or order

6. Ask the student to re-assemble cut up material

7. Give the student a few minutes ‘time-out’ - make sure that the time limit and the rules (not to
disturb other students) are understood first

8. Go with the student to watch another student doing the task - observe, then ask the student
to explain to you how the other person did it

9. You demonstrate the task to your student - then ask her/him to close their eyes and tell you
what you did step by step

10.You do the task (badly) asking the student to stop you whenever you do something wrong

11.Ask the student how s/he would explain this to a good friend, or a close member of the
family, or an alien (which you can pretend to be!)

12.Enlarge text on the photocopier

13.Use coloured pens or crayons to mark photocopied text

14.Use coloured paper to distinguish different tasks, or points, or steps, or aspects of the topic

15.Read text making deliberate mistakes, then swop over - make it into a game

16.Explain using mime - no words

17.Find objects in the classroom to simulate or ‘model’ a point or a process or a relationship - or

ask the student to do it

18.Ask the student to predict what you are going to say next

19.Turn the ideas into a mind-map, or key-word plan, or flow-chart, or storyboard

20.Use spontaneous role play with the student – act out the concept, the connection, the
meaning, the cause-and-effect, the equation …