Learning Innovation was pleased to have Darla Swann Ph.D., a Learning Consultant with the Academic Resource Center, present on the topic Neurodiveristy in Your Classroom on October 6. Dr. Swann works with students to help them with study skills and adjusting to college life. She has a special interest in working with neurodiverse and first-generation students.
The introductory portion of the presentation clarified that the umbrella of neurodiversity encompasses a wide-range of diagnoses (such as anxiety, PTSD, dyslexia). As such, instructors should concentrate on the learning difficulties that are common to all of these students. Neurodiverse students have trouble with executive functions such as speed of processing, working memory, and planning. Importantly, these barriers are not limited to neurodiverse students, undergraduates are still developing neurological pathways until the age of 25. These tips can help all students.
To lower barriers to success for all students, instructors should consider how to:
- organize courses around learning objectives that inform syllabus design and assessments
- provide sufficient lead time to complete work and build in time and low-stakes exercises for instructor to deliver feedback
- repeat important information and offer timelines or checklists
- provide course content before class so students can prepare and offer more than one way to digest content
- clarify what the most important concepts to study are and allow student to practice those
To learn more about neurodiversity and your classroom, plus discover more tips for student success, you are welcome to view the video and read the slides. Over 80 instructors registered for the event which is sign that there are educators are invested in seeing all students be successful in their courses. You are invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to a teaching consultant about these issues and to find solutions in your teaching.