Teaching and Learning Suggestions

With appropriate accommodation, qualified students with all types of disabilities have been successful in post-secondary education. Disabilities Services uses a case-by-case analysis to determine reasonable accommodation for a student with a disability, making each student’s accommodations personal to him or her. However, there are some general pedagogical techniques which are effective for a wide variety of students with disabilities and are considered effective teaching strategies—for all students. Consider incorporating the following suggestions into your teaching repertoire:

  • Select a text with a study guide when possible.
  • Include a statement on your syllabus about disabilities. For example, “If you are a student with a documented disability who will require accommodations in this course, please register with Disabilities Services in the Duke Building, Room 108 (278-6500), for assistance in developing a plan to address your academic needs.”  Encourage students to make a private appointment with you to discuss the need for accommodations and how they will be put into place.
  • Make course expectations clear.
  • Ask for volunteer note takers at the beginning of the course.
  • With each class, briefly review the previous lecture.
  • Write key words/technical terms/proper names on the board or provide a lecture handout.
  • Begin each lecture with an outline of material to be covered during that class.
  • Provide guided lecture questions.
  • Face the class when speaking and speak directly to students.
  • Use gestures and natural expressions to convey meaning.
  • Briefly summarize material at the end of class.
  • Give assignments orally and in writing.
  • Provide frequent opportunities for questions and answers.
  • Well in advance of an exam, provide study questions that illustrate the format as well as the content of the exam.
  • Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
  • Be sure exam questions are clear and include a lot of white space on the page.
  • Use a multi-sensory approach—visual aids, overheads, handouts along with lectures.)
  • Distribute samples of finished papers as examples or post a model on your web page.
  • Use captioned videos whenever possible. They have proven helpful to not only students with disabilities, but international students as well.
  • Administer frequent quizzes to provide feedback.
  • Provide PowerPoint slide copies before the lecture.
  • Have students work in groups with hands-on activities or very specific group assignments.
  • Think about seating arrangements and match student needs with location.