Teaching is not just a business of reciting facts and expecting children to repeat them. The use of teaching aids and props is a valuable way to help children learn, especially in schools for children with special needs, where students may need alternative teaching methods to help them achieve their potential.
What are Teaching Aids and Props?
A teaching aid can be anything that a teacher uses to illustrate or enhance a lesson, so it is more engaging and effective. This could include pictures, videos, computers, or tactile models, to name just some examples. Teaching aids can concentrate students’ focus, reinforce important points, and create tangible representations of abstract concepts. Students with different learning styles, such as audio or visual learners, have the opportunity to engage in alternative ways more suited to their strengths.
Props are another way to demonstrate the relevant parts of a lesson. In an elementary school setting, they may include puppets and other toys. Sometimes they are purchased from expert suppliers, other times they can be handmade. In any case, they exist to make the lesson more interesting, which increases the likelihood of the student absorbing and remembering the knowledge.
How Can They be Used at Schools for Children with Special Needs?
Teaching aids are much more crucial if you work in a school for children with special needs. It is likely that many of your students will struggle with traditional learning methods and will need new and creative approaches. Allowing pupils the opportunity to engage all of their senses by using colourful, sometimes noisy props with different textures and smells may allow them to process information more effectively. Having a calm area with minimal sensory stimulation for students who are becoming stressed and overloaded may also be helpful.
It’s also vital to have props on hand that can help pupils relax if they grow agitated. This may include items such as fidget toys that can keep the hands busy whilst easing the mind, or even chewable items for people who like to put things in their mouths. These are not designed to distract students with special needs from everything else happening in the classroom, but are intended to distract them from distractions, so the rest of their minds can focus on you.
Flashcards can be a valuable way to highlight important words or simplify concepts. The use of colour and images can make them more eye-catching and memorable, so students are more likely to notice them and remember what they say. They are also very convenient, easy to both use and store.
A huge range of different teaching aids and props are available, both analogue and digital. They can be visual, auditory, audiovisual, or tactile. Some may be collaborative, allowing the opportunity for students to work together and improve their social skills.
These are just some teaching aids and props that schools for children with special needs can use. In all cases, the intent is to make the class easier for both students and teachers, improving engagement and increasing the amount of information retained. This will lead to better outcomes in both academia and life.