Tips To Help Children Follow Classroom Directions
I am writing a rather short post today in response to some readers requests. I have actually had a lot of requests lately, but there seem to be two in particular which are dominating. Namely, classroom management and helping the struggling student. I want to focus specifically in this post upon strategies which will help children follow classroom directions.
* Make sure the class is quiet before giving directions. The goal is to reduce all distracting stimuli before providing directions.
* Simplify instructions or directions. Start with directions that require only one step before attempting any type of multi step directions.
* Make eye contact.
* Make the instructions and directions multisensory. This will include auditory (repetition, computer assisted), visual (charts, symbols and pictures), and tactile. Making songs or rhymes with the key directions and instructions will usually work quite well.
* Ensure the directions which are given are short and to the point. Do not use unnecessary or elaborative vocabulary. Keep it very simple. As the child begins to grow more successful at following directions the language can be adjusted accordingly.
* Be positive and encouraging. Following directions may be very difficult for the child. They are more than likely trying their best. Negative feedback will be deflating and counter-productive.
* Have the student repeat back the directions which are given to ensure understanding.
* Utilize charts or checklists when and where appropriate. This can be extremely effective. Even having daily routines taped on their school desk or posted on their door at home is an instantaneous visual cue and reminder.
* Don’t be afraid to teach listening skills. There is little doubt that listening is indeed a skill and includes such techniques as eye contact, no talking when instructions are being given and using proper posture.
Simple strategies can go a long way in helping children successfully follow directions in the classroom. Success often breeds more success and as the child begins to master techniques and demonstrate success, further challenges and experiences can be provided.