Ask your students: how can I help you?
If a child is struggling with something, it can be easy to forget to just ask them how you can help them before setting off on a mission to find different tools or methods to solve what you think is the problem.
I asked a dyslexic child, who was struggling to write, what I could do to help and got an insightful and succinct answer that I wasn’t expecting:
“I have good ideas, but I forget them before I can write them down.”
They knew exactly what was holding them back. This knowledge set me off on a path of investigating different ways they could record their ideas orally first and then play them back as part of the writing process: a combination of dictation apps and recordable whiteboards coupled with using Clicker 6 software has, no exaggeration, transformed their writing. Forgetting ideas is now much less of an issue.
Would I have eventually come to this conclusion without asking them directly? Perhaps. Or would I have just carried on assuming that spelling was their main struggle? Either way, don’t underestimate a child’s ability to identify exactly what it is they’re finding tough and what you can do to help them – just ask.
frustration by horizontal.integration