Teacher’s Lounge Blog

Learn more about teacher preparation, test tips, online learning, professional development, and a variety of other valuable teacher topics.

Inclusive Learning in the Online Classroom

October 14th, 2020 | Comments Off on Inclusive Learning in the Online Classroom | Inclusive Teaching, Remote Learning, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

There are a variety of challenges that face students in the online classroom environment, not the least of which are reliable internet access and a decent computer. Teachers can create the best lesson plans ever but if the children do not have these important implements, then both teachers and students are often wasting their time.

Another critical issue in our currently ever-changing school scenario is reaching all students and creating an inclusive online classroom that meets students of every ability level. This is challenging enough in the in-person classroom setting but requires much additional thought and preparation when classes meet virtually.

There are several strategies that educators can follow to help themselves and students make the most of the learning opportunities this format and create an atmosphere of respect and positivity.

  • Clearly outline your expectations for all aspects of the online classroom, from attendance to participation, assignments, evaluations, and deadlines. Model appropriate and inappropriate responses, provide examples, and provide relevant feedback.
  • Evaluate every lesson to ensure that it meets guidelines for all types of students. Consider varied content delivery methods, closed captioning, how and when feedback is provided, easily readable instructions, accessibility, etc.
  • Language and content should be suited for a diverse and multi-cultural audience.
  • It often requires more effort to connect with students in an online format. Timely response and feedback tailored to each student individually is more inclusive than a quick “good job” on an assignment. Schedule virtual “office hours” when students can contact you for a chat via your school’s chosen online platform.
  • Flexibility is critical. Your great idea for a lesson may not work with your students. Have several options available and be prepared to “shift gears” if needed.
  • If you feel you are a little “rusty” when it comes to inclusion strategies, sign up for a professional development program like Prepforward’s Online K-6 Inclusion Course, which can be beneficial in the physical classroom as well as in an online setting.

It is likely that we will continue to adapt education guidelines across the country as the year progresses and into the future. Remaining mindful of what is best for the students we serve ensures that whatever our classrooms look like, that we meet the needs of all students regardless of background or ability level.


Is Positive Reinforcement an Effective Strategy for Students with Learning Disabilities?

July 2nd, 2019 | Comments Off on Is Positive Reinforcement an Effective Strategy for Students with Learning Disabilities? | Inclusive Teaching, Teacher's Lounge Blog, Teaching Licenses

Although any child can exhibit behavior issues in the classroom, individuals with learning disabilities often have more conduct problems than their peers. Knowing that he has a learning disability sometimes causes a child to “act out” at home, in class, or other situations. Positive reinforcement is often used to help these students reach desired behaviors. Does it work?

Positive reinforcement, rather than negative reinforcement, can motivate students to stop acting in unacceptable ways. As part of an individually designed behavior intervention plan, positive reinforcement can be used to make specific changes to the environment to alter unwanted behavior. Where negative reinforcement usually involves some punitive discipline, positive reinforcement is a group of techniques that adults can use to aid students with behavior or academic issues to increase favorable behaviors.

Positive reinforcers aid students in learning behaviors necessary to have both social and academic success and increase targeted behaviors. While they are like a reward system, they are not just given one time as a “good job” type of prize. Positive reinforcement increases wanted behaviors over a specific period.

Positive Reinforcement Examples

Any consequence, reward, or action that increases the desired behavior for a particular student can be a positive reinforcer. It is important to get to know the child, as this provides clues as to what will work for the individual. What may be a great reinforcer for one child may not be a motivator for another. Privileges and rewards like free time, a snack, school supplies, books, gold stars, a note from the teacher, etc., can all be effective positive reinforcers depending on the child and his interests.

When Positive Reinforcement Doesn’t Work

Sometimes positive reinforcement doesn’t work to change student’s behavior. In these cases, other options may be necessary. It is important to note that if positive reinforcement doesn’t work, then negative reinforcement like taking away privileges or a coveted object like a cell phone may get better results.


PrepForward offers a course on teaching students with disabilities. For each disability, the course includes approaches for lesson planning, effective teaching, classroom management, assessment, strategies for outside the classroom, and technical support tools.