1. Learning Readiness

1. Learning Readiness

Determining a child’s readiness for learning has been a most challenging task over the years. What constitutes a child’s readiness for formal learning is a contentious issue-how is readiness defined? How is it measured?  Usually, a teacher will gather information from past reports, direct observations of classroom behaviour and a student’s reaction to specific tasks and activities to determine readiness for formal learning. 

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2. Early Learning Essentials Part 1: Directionality

2. Early Learning Essentials Part 1:  Directionality

As directionality plays a central role in early academic learning, this will be the first early learning essential to be investigated.

Directional abilities include the awareness and knowledge of words and concepts and information processing skills including reception, retention, integration and reproduction. Directionality, a key feature of visual information (orientation and sequencing) and an important feature of auditory information (sequencing), plays a central role in learning, particularly early academic learning.

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3. Early Learning Essentials Part 2: Language Development And Concept Formation

3. Early Learning Essentials Part 2: Language Development And Concept Formation

This is the second Section devoted to the abilities and competencies considered essential in the acquisition and development of early learning skills.

It is assumed that language plays a central role in the development of concepts important in learning and hence the development of language abilities will be a key focus in this Section.

This Section will explore the development of language, focusing on aural and oral vocabulary skills. As the focus is on early learning essentials, the period of investigation will commence with the very young, pre-school child and continue through to the early primary school years.

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6. Written Expression

6. Written Expression

Students with learning difficulties frequently encounter problems with written expression. As written expression is the final stage of literacy skill development, any difficulties experienced during the preceding stages including listening, speaking, reading and spelling can affect the ability to express thoughts in print or writing. The importance of reading can not be overemphasised

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7. Mathematics

7. Mathematics

The structure of this section will be based on the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS), The Domain of Mathematics and the The Australian Curriculum (AusVELS) Mathematics Scope and Sequence: Foundation to Level 3. While the emphasis will be placed on the early Stages of Learning, (Laying the Foundation) Years Prep. to 4, some of the information should be relevant at the more advanced levels of mathematics learning.  

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9. Exceptionality

9. Exceptionality

When introducing my students to Special Education, I stressed several very important points.

  • Each category does not represent a homogeneous group of individuals; there is great variability in terms of severity of the condition and pattern of presenting characteristics.

  • There is no one best method of instruction for a particular category of students.

  • Each member of a category must be treated individually in terms of their unique educational and instructional needs and the strategies and methods of intervention used.

  • Irrespective of the student’s category type, the essential task for the teacher is to see the student as a LEARNER and hence focus on such relevant issues as learning readiness, learning abilities, learning essentials, learning style and learning rate.

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10. Learning Disability

10. Learning Disability

In every classroom, some students will experience learning problems. The cause(s) of these problems will vary, however; several major categories of students with special needs have been recognised for funding and educational purposes.

The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) currently identifies the following seven categories of students in its Program for Students with Disabilities (2014)…

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11. Dyslexia

11. Dyslexia

Originally, I had not planned to write a specific section on dyslexia, thinking that it was unnecessary given the comprehension coverage of Learning Disability. The generic term Learning Disability encompasses the conditions known originally by their formal medical/scientific names, e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. In addition, problems with spelling and written expression are also included.

As dyslexia is the most common type of a Learning Disability, the information presented in the Section-Learning Disability, is obviously relevant and should be consulted by interested readers.

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13. Giftedness

13. Giftedness

Like other areas of Special Education, terminology and definitions concerning giftedness have changed over time. This reflects advances in education and psychology, a constant changing view of society and a different understanding of children and their needs.

By the beginning of the 1970s, giftedness had changed from a unitary concept based on abstract reasoning and thought to a multifaceted concept which included intelligence, aspects of creative thinking and creative productions and school performance.

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14. Parenting

14. Parenting

Parenting is a very challenging and demanding occupation. It can also be very rewarding, and it can be fun.

All families are unique hence it is wise to understand that widely accepted generalisations (for instance, behavioural characteristics of children depending on their birth-order) might not apply in all cases.

Most parents use common sense approaches, relying on natural inclinations and impulses. Frequently, however, such so called “normal” techniques do not work.

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15. Some Checklists And Questionnaires To Obtain Information On Children And Adolescents

15. Some Checklists And Questionnaires To Obtain Information On Children And Adolescents

The following selection of checklists and questionnaires has been used in my private practice. They are designed to be completed by parents, teachers, children and/or adolescents. 

I have found that they provide invaluable information to supplement the data gained from formal, norm referenced, rating scales and questionnaires. They also engage parents and teachers directly in the assessment process.

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