by Bekah Smith,
Tiferet Bet Israel
The TAP Program has taught me that there are many different ways to approach teaching Hebrew to children. Whether they have a mental or emotional disability, even if they just can’t seem to sit still, this program has helped me understand how to assess the situation and react accordingly.
I found out right away that when you are working with someone with learning disabilities they will need your patience because their brain is processing things slower than their average peer. They will still be able to achieve their goals and receive the answer, although it might just take them extra time and support along the way.
In the beginning of the school year, the child I worked with would be very hard on herself and frustrated if she wouldn’t get the answer right on the first try. I found that staying patient with her and encouraging the student gave her more belief in herself when she was feeling like she could never accomplish her goals.
In addition, TAP taught me that many students learn in many different ways. Some are visual learners, some are kinesthetic learners, some are auditory. After just a few sessions, I found out that the students I work with have a lot of trouble staying on task, although when it comes to movement and games, they never want to stop learning. Thanks to the TAP Program, I was able to learn many different teaching techniques and games that I use all the time in my lesson plans.
Lastly, I also learned that connecting with the students and learning their needs makes it easier for them to cooperate in class. When I work with the first grade class, I learned that they will only listen to you if you learn things about them and have formed a relationship with them. This will help them trust and respect you more. I also found that as young, rambunctious first graders, they needed me to understand their needs in order to learn. Some students learn better in group settings, and some remember things best through repetition, while some students just need a brain break every once in a while. No matter the type of alteration needed in the class, I have found that learning their educational needs are best so that the student can learn to the best of their ability.