Introduction to the Concrete Sequential Learner: Teaching Students With Disabilities
written by: Barbara
• edited by: Sarah Malburg
• updated: 4/19/2015
Students with disabilities are entitled to curricula and instruction that are equitable and accessible according to IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act). Taking note of a student's learning style will help any teacher's ability to reach the student.
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The Concrete Sequential Learner: Meet Randall
Randall has always been told by his teachers that he likes performance-based activities with instructions attached and real-life applications of what and why he is performing the activity. As a fifth grade student at Almer Elementary School, Randall is, according to the founder of learning styles Anthony Gregorc, a "concrete sequential learner." The study of brain research that contributed to Gregorc's findings compiled data showing that student learning styles are a result of preference learning extremes.
Students like Randall exhibit a preference toward order and having things make sense in his world. As a fifth grade student, Randall is learning algebraic expression and prefers to understand how the math works in coming to a solution. Even with the colored-coded manipulatives, Randall has to create a step-by-step sequence of the math problem in order to understand how he can apply the learning to similar problems and his own processing of the mathematical order in creating solutions.
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Instructional Methods for Teachers
Ms. Jenkins feels scattered in trying to organize the expected flow of curriculum in Randall's fifth grade class at Almer Elementary. The daily curriculum of language arts, reading, math that includes preparation for the state test in June, history, art, physical education with Mr. Dores, and the pull-out classes that take students out of her class during the day are overwhelming for a teacher whose desk is piled high with ungraded student work and a box of District curriculum expectations for the school year.
At one point in time before state assessments and increased teacher expectations, Ms. Jenkins had order and organization to her classroom, but Randall's class was proving a challenge. As a student with an IEP (Individualized Education Program), Randall needed less modification of the daily curriculum than most of her students with disabilities, but he still needed a specific method of instruction to address his learning style-concrete sequential. In time, Ms. Jenkins would get to know the learning styles of her other 23 students, as she created curriculum and instruction for everyone.
With a preference and need towards detailed lesson planning and instructional implementation along with a methodical charting for each content area, Ms. Jenkins knew that this school year might begin her transformation into the teacher she was before the school year began. She would start with Randall until she had responded to the learning styles of all of her students. This school year would be a learning experience for everyone.