Providing every student with equal opportunities to learn begins in the classroom. The past year of teaching remotely highlighted the need for accessibility in their classroom for many teachers, professors, and school administrators. Finding the perfect balance between an accommodating, comforting space and a serious room for learning is difficult but not impossible. This summer, learn about how to make your classroom more accessible and make the transition back to in-person learning in the fall easier for yourself and your students.
Allow For Flexibility With Assignments
Many students, especially those with learning disabilities or mood disorders, struggle with school because of their homework. They may turn assignments in late or not at all. This often leads to issues knowing the content and can worsen the source of the classroom troubles. Strengthening your late assignment policy won’t help students turn in their work on time—it’ll only accelerate the problems at hand.
Instead, allow students to communicate with you when they’re struggling. You can give students grace while helping them practice accountability by extending deadlines or assisting with assignments. Students may have a different learning style that requires extra help after class—such as tutoring or a writing partner for essays. Hear students out when they come to you for guidance; you never know what internal battles they’re fighting.
Create a Versatile Classroom
Physical accessibility for students is just as important for their learning as helping with assignments. You can create an accessible space by using versatile, easily movable furniture. This solution alone will allow you to develop larger aisles, provide plenty of seating options, and allow for everyone to feel included in the classroom. Physical accessibility comes in ways you may not think of: for instance, students with autism who feel sensory overload with certain textures will love having seating options to keep their minds on the study materials and off their discomfort.
Flexibility with everything you do as a teacher will also keep students engaged as you help them learn classroom materials. Not only does classroom versatility in a K-12 learning space provide physical accessibility, but it also allows you to try new things as a teacher and find the most productive teaching methods for your class’s needs. By combining accessible furniture with flexibility in using it, the classroom will become a room that everyone loves.
How to make your classroom more accessible often depends on the students in each class—you may need to accommodate students in ways you hadn’t considered before you met them. Always keep an open line of communication for students to give you feedback and to allow them to suggest new ways that you can support them.