Directions

Posted on 31 Oct 2006 in Special Education, Student Behavior | Comments Off on Directions

Just because a student can read directions, it doesn’t mean they can comprehend them or will follow them – especially a student with behavior problems.

One student of mine, we’ll call him Jack, was enjoying some beef jerky for lunch. Yum yum, delicious if not nutricious. All of a sudden, Jack looked at me with wide eyes and an open mouth dripping with beef jerky. In one hand was his half eaten bag of jerky, in the other was the opened packet of drying salt the came in the bag. In a loud but gargled voice Jack said, “Mr.ChuckChuck, this stuff that says Do Not Eat . . . tastes awful!”

It was at that point that I realized that I’d done a pretty good job teaching Jack to read, but I still had a lot of work to help him to comprehend and follow directions. We know from research that students with emotional and behavior disorders have some of the lowest academic achievement rates in special education and that their reading proficiency is especially poor. For reading comprehension strategies, see the work of Don Deshler at the University of Kansas Center for Research and Learning . If you hunt around you will find tons of very effective teaching strategies for your students of all ages and abilities.