A Penny For Your Thoughts

A Penny For Your Thoughts
Something to contemplate as you study to be a teacher

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Misunderstood Minds Simulation Response

My experience during the simulations was quite interesting. I never thought that through a few short exercises I would get a small glimpst of what it feels like to be a child with a learning disability. I only have one word to describe the overwhelming feeling that I felt during the simulations, and that is: FRUSTRATION. I am not even that child struggling with this disability everyday, but I was so frustrated and irritated when I couldn't keep up, or figure out the answers. Ordindary problems, and activities I take for granted because they come so easy to me, would be the source of great frustration for children with learning disabilities.
It is quite interesting that they could come up with such a creative way for people to experience what it is like. I have worked with a few children now that have the diagnosis of ADHD as a TSS. Until now I could never even come close to understanding why they got so frustrated or defeated with such a small amount of work in school and for homewrok. The particular area of the simulations that gave me insights into their experiences was the Attention one. For once I can say that I only got a glimpst of what that feels like for them, but can understand that after dealing with that everyday, how that could lead to such meltdowns. Their tantrums may be extreme at times, but at least I can understand where the sense of frustration emerged.
As a teacher I believe these simulations could give really good implications for changes in the classroom. One change is that way a lesson is taught and what modifications could be used. By experiencing what a child experiences a teacher could think of ways to make activities and lessons more engaging for the child and less distracting. Some ways may also be to think of ideas that would help one childs situation independently, because all children's disabilities are unique from others with the same disability. By having a student describe what it is like for them to experience different things in the classroom. A teacher could modify accordingly to help that particular student. Being able to experience these simulations first hand has given me a personal perspective into what it is like to have a learning disability and those experiences come at a rarety, when you do not have a diagnosis of your own.


  1. Ashley! I totally agree with you. The stimulation about attention really did bring attention to way a child would act out in frustration and through a fight. I had a student recently throw his pencil at me because he was so overwhelmed and couldn't focus. And I being the teacher got angry and said sit back down and we will do it together...wrong comment! If a child is frustrated why would he even want to go back to the task. Oh Marie....I'm learning though. Thankfully I'm glad that we did this activity because it helps us to be better educators in the future. I just tonight re-did a lesson plan for students because it required them to take notes. I made skeleton notes and typed out a copy of notes for some of my students that have difficulty writing. This way they can focus on the lesson and not on filling in the skeleton notes, and having to focus that much more in a foreign language. We will see if it works.

    How do we as teachers work with students that through tantrums? What can we do so that they aren't in trouble but that they know that having a tantrum will not solve the situation? Do you have a heart to heart with all of your students at the beginning of the year to let them know that it is okay to be frustrated and overwhelmed? I think this is a question that many educators around the world are asking themselves today.

  2. Allison and Ms Skidmore
    I thought your responses were right on target. Modifying lesson plans and changing the classroom environment are excellent ways to alter the childs performance in the classroom. I work with fifth grade special education and there is one student who is often off task and is distracted by every conversation and action of his classmates. The simulations really gave me a nice understanding of difficulties these children face when their consentration is so easily broken. As I wrote in my blog I enjoyed the second attention simulation which started out with simple tasks and became very confusing and difficult to follow the instructors voice. That simulation gave me a nice insight into the child I work with, and how he often times just does not have the ability to ignore the other students and activities. This perticular child becomes very frustrated and often quits or gives up during assignments whenever he is corrected by the teachers. One change that we made is to allow him to come in an appropriate manner and discuss what happened with others or his behavior. This has reduced the times we have to correct him which in turn he has stayed focused. In the classroom, we have children who are strugging work in small groups or with a partner as well as one on one with the teachers to help them stay on track.

  3. Your response is exactly the reason why I had the class experience these simulations. I liked when you said, " Until now I could never even come close to understanding why they got so frustrated or defeated with such a small amount of work in school and for homework." This is an interesting revelation. As a teacher I challenge you to keep this perspective. Nice reflections!