Over the past few weeks at UMFS, I’ve learned a lot about how to work with special needs children. This week in particular I noticed how the students are in somewhat of a battle with themselves to make progress and learned ways to try and overcome their struggles. It’s hard to know what to expect as far as the students temperaments and their willingness to participate. This week the class definitely started off shaky. The students did not want to come to class and when they arrived, it was clear they weren’t particularly excited. This made me wonder if it was something I did or what could have gone wrong last class to make them feel this way, but one thing I always have to keep in mind is something that happened to them earlier in the day, could still be affecting them and make them not want to participate in my class. Despite their apprehension, my classmates and I got right to work with them. We split into two groups. One worked on putting together B-roll and the other, my group, worked on reading. The students in my group quickly warmed up to us and this was where the progress began.
It’s great to see some of the most introverted students breaking out of their shell and participating in class exercises. One student in particular isn’t comfortable speaking in front of people, but with our encouragement she finally decided to do it and did great. We learned that my not directly looking at her, she didn’t get as uncomfortable and was able to articulate her words much better. At first she was afraid of being criticized, but we were sure to balance every criticism wit compliments and by using that strategy, she became more confident with every read. Reading became less of a chore for her and more of something she enjoyed. She started volunteering and giving other students advice.
Before the class was over, I had the chance to work one on one with a student putting together her b-roll for her story. Their b-roll shooting technique definitely could use some work, but I was once a beginner too with the same issues. While working with her I tried to only make suggestions and not tell her what to do because I still wanted her to be creative and come up with their own ideas. At first, she was so afraid of being wrong that she wanted me to do everything for her, but I encouraged her and made sure even with my help, the project was still be as much hers as possible.