When I speak with special education teachers across the country –teaching in all socio-economic settings, public and private– they all tell me the same things:
- “I’m teaching students with disabilities. But I’m expected to lead them to higher and higher expectations!”
- “I don’t have the time to do my job completely! Nor do I have all the resources I need.”
- “My students don’t believe in themselves, even though I believe in them.”
- “I use to be respected. But now I am targeted.”
- “I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m out of time and out of energy.”
- “I can’t even breathe wrong!”
Yet, despite these challenges, special education teachers –as a group—are the most dedicated teachers I have ever met! When I ask what they love about their job, their voices change from frustration to excitement. “OH, THE STUDENTS!”
Their body language changes, too. They sit up taller, smile, and become animated with pride when they talk about their beloved students!
As a special education teacher, you have your own mission for making a difference in the lives of these truly special students. You have your own story of what drew you in.
You didn’t actually choose this profession. IT CHOSE YOU!
What If You Could Make Your Special Education & RTI Students More Successful Than Their “General Ed” Peers?
What if you could create your own “David and Goliath” story with your beloved students? It’s not only possible, it’s actually quite simple.
How do I know? Three reasons…
First, It’s Been Done Before!
In 1896, in the slums of Rome, a young woman was put in charge of a young group of children labeled “impossible to educate.” Her students were the “special ed” students – with the greatest needs – of the poorest parts of Rome.
One woman transformed students labeled as “idiots” and “ineducable” into students who surpassed “normal students” on standardized tests. One woman did it! That woman was Maria Montessori. As a female physician in 1896, she was considered an outcast herself.
- No money.
- No resources.
- No support.
Her shrewd observations of children led her to build a successful education model. This model is still successful on every inhabited continent in the world and in every socio-economic setting. This model earned her three Nobel Peace Prize nominations. (In fact, Piaget was one of her most loyal students!)
Secondly, Brain Science Shows Us How to Navigate Around Challenges!
Brain science now helps us understand the biology of learning and of learning disabilities. Simple models of the learning process allow us to identify brain-friendly strategies and create detours around perceived “learning disabilities.”
Finally, There Is a Simple Law of the Universe Completely Ignored By Education!
Harness this Universal Law, and you’ll be well on your way to a massive victory with your precious students! It’s the Law of 80/20. We often don’t realize it, but 80/20 governs our lives. If you learn how to harness it, it can solve most of your problems.
It can revolutionize education!
80/20 is the concept that 20% of actions produce 80% of results. Or, 80% of effects come from 20% of causes.
The Law of 80/20 is why you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time. It’s why 20% of your students demand 80% of your energy.
Education works completely backwards, to 80/20. It is focused 100% on details, measured by test scores. However, if you teach students the 20% of skills and strategies that have 80% of the impact on their lives, those test scores will skyrocket… along with their confidence and their future!
Proven by Research
Research proves what Maria Montessori, brain biology, and 80/20 all confirm: teaching students how to learn has great impact! A research synthesis of over 70 studies on special education1 found the teaching of learning strategies to be associated with “very large” gains for special education and RTI students!
Many studies resulted in students with learning disabilities outperforming “traditional” students. Researchers concluded “efforts to teach students strategies for processing and studying information are largely successful.”
You can move mountains if you use what we’ve learned from Montessori and brain biology, along with an 80/20 perspective.
Just Like Maria, YOU Can Break All of Your Students’ Barriers, Too!
You can squash your special education students’ apathy and indifference, growing confidence instead.
You can witness many more “lightbulb moments” as your students discover they have no limits.
You can get parents and administrators to thank you instead of challenge you.
Best of all, you can feel the impact of your dedication to your students!
Just follow the simple steps of Maria Montessori…
3.5 Ways Special Education Will Outperform General Education
1. Leverage the 80/20 rule.
Teach the 20% of skills that have 80% of the impact. Explicit skills to learn:
- How to learn.
- How to organize.
- How to be efficient.
Maria did not teach her “special education” students content until they knew how to learn and access that content.
“So how do I find ‘top 20%’ of skills?”
The Common Core Anchor Standards are actually an “80/20” leverage point. The Anchor Standards list all of the outcomes a graduating 12th grader needs to be successful in college and in the workplace. The Anchor Standards are all study skills!
80/20 says … teach the Anchor Standards first! Then, your students will glide through content because they will know how to access it. Just like Montessori did.
2. Teach Relevant Skills.
Teach your special education and RTI students what they need to be successful outside of school. Dozens of employer surveys and studies confirm that 95% of the most needed work place skills are “soft skills:”
- Reading comprehension
- Time management
- Written communication
- Verbal communication
In education we call these “study skills.”
“So how do I fit this in?”
Teach these skills first. Harness the natural power of their brains by teaching students how to learn. You’ll have plenty of time to get through content once students know how to access that content.
3. Build Learning Connections.
Brain biology shows us how to launch “special education” and RTI students to success! We now know how to help learners create detours and bypass weak sections of the brain, quickly. We do this by building specific connections to life experiences; this process builds neurological detours around traditional challenges.
For more details, see these videos:
“How can this help my special education and RTI students?”
Empower your students by showing them that their brains are not “deficient.” In fact, they are very smart! They simply have weak neuron connections in a few specific areas of the brain. Show them how to build detours around their challenges and you’ll inspire them for life!
3.5 Start the Movement.
Movements start with a single step.
Your first step is to get results with your students.
The next step will come to you … others will want to know what you are doing.
“This sounds like a lot of work!”
With 80/20 principles in play, it’s much less work for you… and easier for your students!
“How Can I Possibly Manage All of This?”
You could spend hours researching, planning, and organizing everything you need to follow these 3.5 steps. But, you don’t have to.
We’ve done all of the work for you! We’ve applied 80/20 to isolate the most effective learning strategies that also correlate to:
- The most needed skills in the workplace.
- The Common Core Anchor Standards.
The Solution is the SOAR® Study Skills Curriculum, where students learn how to effectively:
- Identify students' strengths & “SuperPowers” (according to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences)
- Set goals
- Establish priorities
- Manage time
- Organize papers, desks, lockers, & other space
- Speak & listen effectively
- Work with teachers & peers
- Read and understand textbooks
- Take notes
- Study for tests
- Write research papers
- Prepare for presentations
- Track long-term goals
SOAR® Study Skills are PROVEN to:
- Increase GPAs of an entire student body by more than ONE full point!
- Raise standardized test scores by 5 basis points!
- Cut missing assignments by 50%!
- Increase students’ confidence by 20%!
- Make “struggling” students 6X more likely to graduate from college!
- Cut teacher’s time and reduce stress.
- Help teachers feel more effective.
- Reduce student resistance.
SOAR® is in over 3,900 schools across the country and 35 countries, worldwide!
The success story for your special education and RTI students begins with SOAR® Study Skills.
Is Your Focus Also On…
SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills CurriculumThe SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills curriculum includes our award-winning student workbook, student app, and popular Multi-Media Teacher's Guide. Explore the curriculum below...
Student AppClick here to access a video preview of the SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills Student App.
Multi-Media Teacher's GuideClick here to access a video preview of the SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills Multi-Media Teacher's Guide.
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Interested in Training?SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills offers a variety of training options to meet your needs. Click here to learn more.
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What Grade Levels Benefit from SOAR®?To see a continuum matching age-appropriate skills to grades 4-12, click here.
We Offer a 100% Money-Back GuaranteeSOAR® Is Guaranteed to Provide:
- a 0.5% GPA increase across your student body.
- a 20% improvement in student confidence and attitude, as measured by the pre and post Study Skills Scorecard.
- a 30% reduction in missing assignments.
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1Using Study Skills to Become Independent Learners in Secondary Content Classes: http://isc.sagepub.com/content/49/1/39