“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” B.B. King
In response to a comment from another blog “Reforming Education”, an individual requested that I provide concrete suggestions and implementations of restructuring the resource room and/or purpose. In my personal professional opinion, Resource Special Education teachers’ current duties are to assist students in completing the General Education teachers’ assignments, the classroom manger in an inclusion setting, or the in-house substitute teacher. With Common Core providing an admirable platform, it is acceptable to say the dynamics of the resource room and teaching methodology must shift in the 21st century to accommodate the educational demand.
In a very informal case study of twenty-five English resource students, the processes of changing how my resource room functions began during the 2011-2012 school year. However, the major changes occurred during 2012-2013 school year. The scope of the students’ disabilities ranges from specific learning disabilities to very mild mental retardation and range in age from thirteen to nineteen years old. The background of my students’ lives varied from single parent to racially mix and to adopted families’ homes.
How did I change the expectations of my students?
The first thing that must change is the Resource teacher’s mindset of his or hers abilities and purpose for teaching. As it is written by the Apostle Paul in Romans, “…transform your mind by the renewing of the right spirit…” Instead of having a group of students working on several different skills as the same time, elementary resource teachers should develop flexible groups based on the concepts that need to be taught. Yes, this means that members of the flexible groups may and should change according to the students’ needs or deficiencies.
How to determine who belongs in which flexible groups?
Flexible groups can be determined by students’ data. Elementary resource teachers can use curriculum based assessments or achievement gap profiles. Then, the resource teacher must design and teach lessons based on that data. Now, the resource room aspects or appearances mirror that of the general education classroom. Simply stated, the resource room imitates and is parallel to the general education classroom.
In designing the lesson plan, a technology performance- based lesson appears to be the most appropriate style of lesson for the newly designed resource room. A technology performance-based lesson provides the maximum amount of adaptability in the lesson and assessment opportunities based on specific rubrics. The specific rubrics must explain the expectations clearly and distinctly for the students to meet the optimal performance requirements.
In changing the resource teachers’ mindset and purpose for being an educator, staff members, building administrators and special education directors will slowly begin to change their perceptions or ideologies about the resource room’s learning environment. Note that this transformation or restructuring starts with the purpose of the resource teacher not from upper administration.