An introduction to universal learning at Rossland Secondary

The world of learning is changing from a static textbook-driven curriculum to a more malleable and interactive experience.

The world of learning is changing from a static textbook-driven curriculum to a more malleable and interactive experience and that has Patrick Kinghorn excited.

Kinghorn, who teaches at RSS, has fully embraced the new-learning, using an ipad and iphone to show his presentation last week at RSS.

He spoke about the universally designed school that could help not just text-oriented learners, but other styles of learning. New programs on Ipads could help those who learn in other ways than just reading text.

Kinghorn said that one of the things he found himself asking while working as an alternate educator, was how did the students find there way into the alternative class?

“Where did this road away from the regular classroom start and how did they get outside of their school into a whole other building?” he asked. He found that one of the common denominators was a  number of the kids had learning disabilities.

The students in that class were 18 or 19 years old.

When he had the chance to go back and look at students in the kindergarten to Grade three range, he found that , for some students,  around that time school became more challenging and difficult.

Kinghorn said that there is a misconception that kids who have learning disabilities have a low IQ.

“It doesn’t happen, you have to have an average to above average to superior IQ in order to have a learning disability,” he said. “That bothered me, when we have kids that we’re treating as learning disabled that we’re looking at as low, that they were less than the other kids.”

With a focus on kids that have a text-based learning disability

“Let’s go back to Grade two or kindergarten and look at those kids we thought weren’t very smart, actually they were quite smart, but just couldn’t get at the text.”

“We want people to be reading independently by the time they’re in Grade 2 or 3,” he said. “If you have a learning disability and don’t know that you have it yet, that starts to get pretty difficult, if you’re not acquiring that text.”

We’re all capable of learning at some level, some entry point and some way,”

I don’t want any kids to leave my classroom, because we’re all learners, we have to figure out what kind of learner they are and how to adapt the situation for them so that they can get at the stuff.

One of the things that he noticed up until grade 1 and 2 is that there is still a lot of reading to the students, but then all of a sudden they’re forced to read independently and some of them have a difficult time.

To combat this Kinghorn is excited about the new technologies.

Kinghorn was also excited about the school districts achievement review from a couple years ago, which outlined the need to improve graduation rates of students with identified learning disabilities.

“There’s no reason why they shouldn’t graduate,” he added.