Whether you are teaching face-to-face, virtually, or in a hybrid situation, there are many promising practices and strategies that can be effective with exceptional learners. In fact, many existing evidence-based, high-leverage practices can be implemented within distance learning programs. Murawski and Gaines (2021) suggest the following to make learning work for everyone:
EMBRACE Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles: Whether students are in a brick-and-mortar school building or learning at a distance, they should be offered multiple means of representation, engagement, action, and expression. For more information on UDL, check out the UDL Teacher’s Guide, How to Plan Online Lessons Using UDL, and Lesson Planning with UDL.
OFFER Effective, Efficient Feedback: John Hattie’s analysis of 1,201 research studies reveals that providing effective, timely feedback (effect size = 0.64) to students has the potential to accelerate learning. In a distance learning environment, feedback can be provided through videoconferencing, breakout rooms, or through the use of rubrics. The Google Mote extension can also be used for voice notes and feedback. Want to learn more? Read 7 Ways to Maximize Hattie’s Effect Size on Feedback and Getting Feedback Right: A Q & A with John Hattie.
BUILD Classroom Community and FACILITATE Peer Relationships: In both face-to-face and virtual instruction, teachers must recognize the importance of creating a positive learning environment and provide opportunities for students to engage with both the instructor(s) and one another. In virtual settings, using breakout rooms, having virtual lunch bunch groups, or even watching movies together via Teleparty could help build classroom community and peer relationships. Looking for more classroom tools for peer engagement? Read about the Best Tools for Virtual and Distance Learning.
Self-Check: What Works With Exceptional Learners
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Murawski, W. W., & Gaines, A. I. (2021). Distance learning supplement to what really works with exceptional learners. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.