Working in special education means providing a supportive classroom, and that includes organization. Organization is more than making sure paper and pens are put away and everything is in order before the next day – it can also help prepare you to meet the individual learning needs of your students and provide a more structured classroom environment.
Whether you want to provide students with visual aids or reduce potential distractions, there are a variety of organizational methods you and your fellow educators can use to help your students learn and participate in and around the classroom.
If you’re interested in starting a career as an educational assistant, read on to find out how your training can help you and your classroom become more organized.
1. Positive Student Behaviour Support Begins with Good Organization
Supporting positive behaviour in the classroom is an important part of your work when you become an educational assistant. Although there may be days when positive behaviour seems to be the last thing on your students’ minds, staying organized can actually help you keep your class on the right track.
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have trouble understanding how they are expected to act in the classroom. An organized room with physically defined spaces can help them better separate each setting, and even anticipate what a certain activity in that space means. Encouraging a deeper understanding of the current activity or lesson can cultivate a more positive response in students as they learn how to interact with and prepare for the context of each separate space.
2. Organization in the Classroom Can Reduce Student Distractibility
Many special education learners can be easily distracted. Educational assistant training emphasizes the important role that behaviour management plays in the special education classroom, and that includes reducing any auditory or visual distractions.
General clutter and even walls crowded end to end with posters or information can be a distraction to students with ASD because all of the unorganized elements are competing at once for their attention. Reducing excessive visual input can help minimize the stimulus students receive from their classroom environment, so it’s a good idea to only include the most relevant visual materials on the walls or desks, and put all the extra materials or supplies neatly away out of sight.
3. Educational Assistant Training Can Help You Organize Individual Learning Styles
Individualized learning is a core element of your educational assistant program and your classroom. Children with special needs often learn in very different styles, and organization can help you ensure they are learning in the best way possible.
Organization in the classroom can be as simple as labelling items with words and even pictures. Labelling each student’s materials, assigned seat, or personal items can help them tell which objects are theirs, and encourage them to have a more independent perspective of these items, as well as how they relate to themselves as individuals. “David’s chair,” for example, tells everyone in the room – David included – that this is his personal space to use during class.
4. Use Your Educational Assistant Training to Provide Visual Organization
Special education learners often rely on visual cues to better understand their classroom environment, and it’s important to make sure everything is organized in a way that provides plenty visual support.
If you choose to label areas of the classroom, you can also include pictures to help students understand where things are supposed to go as well as what they look like. This kind of visual cue gives them easily-accessible information that helps make abstract concepts more concrete. Visual aids such as a schedule or first-then board can provide students with a sense of structure, and encourages them to follow multi-step directions in order to achieve something they want.
Are you interested in starting a rewarding career in the classroom?
Contact KLC College for more information about our educational assistant course.