Successfully Transitioning to Virtual Special Needs Teaching
Over the course of the last few weeks, students and educators all over the world have had to face the challenges of adapting to distance learning. No stranger to the myriad of challenges brought about by this transition, Dallas International School teacher, Sophie Damour, has incorporated new strategies in her work with coaching DIS special needs students.
One of the many joys for Sophie is being able to work directly with special needs students and ensure they are receiving a thorough and most comfortable learning experience. In ensuring this experience is provided, Sophie must regularly provide physical contact and mental encouragement in a face-to-face manner as the student learns. When the decision was made to transition to distance learning, Sophie realized that the physical contact and encouragement she regularly provided to her special needs student would have to adapt to a way that still allowed the student to flourish while learning from home.
Positive about the progress she has made in her transition to distance coaching, Sophie explains that she feels great about working with her special needs student virtually. “When my student doesn’t understand something during class or needs my help for an exercise, I am always right there to jump in and help. I am not physically sitting next to her anymore, but I am still following along with her virtually through the computer in any capacity that she needs,” explains Sophie.
Thinking quick on her feet, Sophie now utilizes new virtual methods of coaching when working with her special needs student. For example, this may include having the student show Sophie how to recreate the complex geometric shapes she learned in class with Sophie on webcam, or sharing her screen online to rehearse PowerPoint presentations for history class while Sophie critiques and provides feedback. “I knew things would be different initially. I can’t take her ruler or compass and place them in the right position in her notebook to help her now, but we have adapted fabulously and I think it has been a great transition,” shares Sophie. It is with great pride that we continue to pursue educational innovation at DIS with teachers like Sophie who are constantly adapting and providing the tools our students need to excel in school and beyond.