LBS Practitioner Training

Professional development support for Literacy and Basic Skills educators in Ontario

3.6 In the Classroom

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In the final section of this course, we wrap up a few loose ends by focusing on a couple of separate issues and FAQs related to working with LD adults in groups.

In this section, we look at:

  • the benefits of having LD learners in the class
  • good teaching practice for all kinds of learners
  • stress in the life of an LBS instructor working with LD learners
  • frequently asked questions about working with LD learners.

Positive contributions LD learners bring to an LBS class

Until now, our attention has been focused on problem-solving, i.e. understanding learning disabilities, and finding out how to work with/around LD challenges.

It is also important, however, that we

  • recognize the many positive characteristics that LD adults possess that often come as the “flip sides” of their learning disabilities,
  • learn how these positive characteristics can be encouraged, and how they contribute to a successful learning experience in the classroom.

Visit The UP-side of LD and see:

  • what LD strengths often accompany particular weaknesses,
  • how instructors can use those strengths in ways that validate individual learners, and benefit the group as a whole.

NOTE: Be sure you don’t miss the Journal Link at the end of The UP-side of LD

Good teaching practice for all kinds of learners

School board LBS instructors, who have years of experience working with LD learners, support what current research says, i.e.

“The main key to working successfully with LD learners is to follow good teaching practice that is effective for all kinds of learners.”

Instructors are also quick to stipulate, however, that while general good teaching practice goes a long way towards meeting the needs of learners, it alone is not enough to meet all of the particular and unique needs that adults with learning disabilities have.

During her research for the Learning Disabilities Initiative project, Donna Zener gathered information on meeting the needs of all kinds of learners in the classroom. Visit,  Zener, In the Classroom, taken directly from Donna’s final report.  In it you will find:

  • a list of good classroom teaching practices,
  • the outline of a teaching model known as  “Direct Instruction”,

To get another perspective on how people connect general good teaching practice and working with LD learners, scroll through the next links looking for familiar themes. For the most part, these are easy read checklists.


TIs the information you are reading beginning to look more and more familiar? If so, that’s a very good sign. It shows that the materials about LD that are “out there” are consistent in the information they provide as well as in the strategies and recommendations they suggest. It also shows that you are picking out the important principles and relevant information about LD when you see it.



QUESTION 1. Do practitioners ever get stressed out, working with LD learners?

ANSWER: Well, of course...sometimes.

Occasional battles with stress are occupational hazards for literacy instructors who work with learning disabled adults. It’s not that surprising when you consider all the factors in play. Visit, A Little Stressed to read why this is so and to see some advice your fellow instructors wanted to pass along.

You may also be interested in True Confessions of a frustrated LBS instructor. Can you sympathize?

and finally, a couple of thoughts from fellow instructors who work with LD learners...

QUESTION 2: What do I do when good resources I have on hand don’t seem to match up with the needs of the learners? Does it mean I have to constantly create new materials? If that’s so, I’ll spend as much time creating the program as I do delivering the program!

ANSWER: Visit Tweaking

QUESTION 3: What advice can you give about the counseling aspect of working with LD learners? Sometimes I find myself getting drawn in to their personal problems, and frankly, I don’t really feel qualified to deal with some of the issues.

ANSWER: Visit Counselling


Moving Towards Self-Advocacy

Final Assignment

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