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How can I implement the principles of Active Learning without making the choice?

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2 years 8 months ago #16 by Super User
Super User created the topic: How can I implement the principles of Active Learning without making the choice?
I have a student who is visually impaired, but, who also, has other limitations, such as fine motor control. If he cannot grasp and select an object to explore, how can I still implement the principles of Active Learning without making the choice for him (which is what I would be doing by placing an object in his hand)?
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2 years 8 months ago #17 by Super User
Super User replied the topic: How can I implement the principles of Active Learning without making the choice?
Kate Hurst Responded:

"Thanks so much, Susan, for your question. I am going to share it with Patty, Matt and Charlotte as well and post to the website. Here is my answer, though.

This is exactly why Active Learning works for students like yours. You can begin with whatever movements the child has to work towards developing a grasp.

I know that it seems like an impossibility, but believe me it works. By positioning highly motivating objects where the objects "just almost touch" the child in a Little Room, on the Resonance Board, or using other equipment, ANY slight movement he makes causes something to happen. Sometimes the child may have an involuntary spasm that causes his whole body to move; that movement makes the objects in the Little Room move creating vibration and usually sound. Even the movement of the chest to breath can cause things to move if the appropriate materials are used and placed in a good position. The child may be startled by the sound that is made accidentally and cause the objects to move again.

Over time, the child typically will figure out a way to voluntarily make this sound or vibration occur again. I have seen children whose hands were fisted, arms drawn to their chests or splayed out to their sides, legs locked in a scissor position, and who never seem to make voluntary movements begin to move on their own within 10 or 15 minutes. For others it may take much longer. BUT once they figure out THEY are making this thing vibrate or sound, they keep working to get it to happen again. Over time a spasm, becomes a purposeful movement to bat or push the object. Then eventually they may be able to get fingers tangled in some of the material to pull on it. That may lead to a palmer grasp and then to a more mature grasp, then a grasp and release. For some kids this may take months, for others years. But I have not ever met a child it would not work with given time and the proper approach.

The keys are starting where the child is and utilizing the appropriate equipment and materials to make motivating and developmentally appropriate learning environments for the child. If they can get moving and make things happen on their own, have plenty of opportunities to repeat the movement, they very naturally improve and develop new skills. Also, as the adults we have to learn how to approach these children so that we don't disturb their learning (see the Five Phases of Educational Treatment).

Please check out Patty Obrzut explaining the Dynamic Learning Circle on the Active Learning Space site. We will soon have some more videos of students up on the website that will show how this works, so stay tuned.

Kate"
Moderators: Kate HurstCharlotte CushmanPatty Obrzut
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