As an educator, I have always found teaching to be a rewarding experience. Teaching a group of learners with learning difficulties has been particularly fulfilling. These students, who range from primary to secondary level, have dyslexia or other co- morbidities, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
My love for teaching stems from the joy I experience through sharing the information and knowledge I have acquired. In addition to teaching learners on the Main Literacy Programme, I also specialize in the iReaCH™ programme at the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. This program caters to students from Primary 5 to Secondary 5 and focuses on supporting them in reading comprehension and writing through the use of vocabulary instruction and educational technology. By equipping them with the necessary skills, these students can better manage the higher-order tasks expected of them in school.
Classes on the iReaCH™ programme are conducted online via the Google Meet platform, allowing students to attend lessons from the comfort of their own homes. Initially, I was uncertain about how I would fit into the world of online education as an Educational Therapist providing remediation sessions. However, after conducting weekly online lessons, I recognized my teaching abilities and became more aware of the importance of using versatile methods for success in different areas of education. Despite encountering many different challenges in an online classroom, I realized the strengths required to be an effective Educational Therapist.
To ensure students can shift their mindset to be more receptive towards online learning, I adopted a new approach. I view the Google document as their activity worksheets, and the Google Drive folders are the Activity Files for my students. This mentality has helped students cope with the shift to online learning. In addition, using educational technology apps such as Kahoot and Blooket has sparked interest in my students’ learning. They review vocabulary words learnt using Blooket games, with Crypto Hack being a particular favourite. This game requires players to answer questions to earn crypto while seizing crypto from other players. Players also answer questions to mine Crypto and hack other players by intruding their defences to get hold of their riches. Repetition breeds recognition, and through this game, students can retain what they have been taught. Moreover, vocabulary words that students learn each week are stored using Padlet, a software application similar to a Vocabulary Word Bank book.
Assessing students’ understanding is a crucial aspect of the learning process. In the iReaCH™ programme, students are assessed based on their reading comprehension and writing abilities through Google Forms. These assessments are conducted in Term 2 and Term 4, and the results are highlighted during Meet the Parent sessions. I am grateful for the support of parents, as their partnership is essential for their child’s academic success.
These teaching experiences have been critical to my professional development. They have strengthened my creativity in coming up with out-of-the-box teaching methods to sustain my students’ attention during the two-hour lesson. It is always a proud moment to witness my students graduate from the programme, and I sincerely hope that they bring the skills learned to their tertiary studies.
Zaidah M J
Senior Educational Therapist
RETA Associate Fellow