Lessons Learned: When Students Teach the Teacher

By David Veling

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to partner with a teacher of 14 – 18 year-olds in a largely self-contained program. With more than 40 years of Special Education experience between the two of us, we felt confident that we could put together a meaningful, impactful course plan that would develop self-determination and soft skills and lead to increased independence in employment after high school. We had a well-thought-out set of skills, a logical progression in which they built upon one another, and a sincere belief that we could accommodate, modify, scaffold, or otherwise individualize our lessons to engage and support every learner in the room.

For all of our preparation and certainty of success, our first lesson was a disaster. But it led to honest reflection, and a new plan based on three key strategies that been transformative. Continue reading “Lessons Learned: When Students Teach the Teacher”

The Self-Reflective Tool in our Metacognitive Toolbox

By David Veling

toolbox.04Outside of education, most adults may not talk much about metacognition, but it is likely to be an important aspect in their day-to-day life. If we think about metacognition as a toolbox, containing many different tools to help us understand how our mind works, one of the most important is self-reflection. When done well, self-reflection delves into our motivation and decision-making process and sheds light on misunderstanding and new learning. For many youth, this is a missing or underutilized tool, which often leads to repeated mistakes, misunderstandings, and missed opportunities in life, school and early career development. To help youth effectively apply self-reflection, we need to be able to point to clear applications and strategies of self-reflection. Continue reading “The Self-Reflective Tool in our Metacognitive Toolbox”

Career Readiness Instruction in Multiple Modalities

By David Veling

During the years that I coached high school baseball, the vast majority of my time and energy was devoted to creating effective plans fsupport (1)or practice sessions. While my less experienced Junior Varsity players, some of whom had never actually held a bat, were eager to charge right into playing, it was my job to redirect their energy into careful, step-by-step skill building. Similar to novice ball players, desperate to hit their first home run, young people who yearn for the excitement of a first job or an internship in their dream field, are more likely to realize these opportunities for success with structured, well-balance exposure to the necessary skills. The use of multiple-modalities of learning (visual, aural, and kinesthetic) is a crucial component to structuring the successful development and retention of skills across all domains of learning. Continue reading “Career Readiness Instruction in Multiple Modalities”