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Introduce Self-Determination to English Learners with Disabilities

How do I introduce self-determination to English Learners with disabilities? 

Caroline, a teacher of students who are learning English, introduces the concept of competency as it relates to self-determination, to a small group of students who are transitioning to the middle school level.  They have a dual identification as English Learners and students with disabilities. These students have an intermediate level of proficiency in English but need help with academic vocabulary and comprehension.  Because their comprehension is impacted by their disability and their status as a multilingual learner, Caroline explicitly teaches the word determined and ensures them that they are competent learners.  


How do I introduce the I’m Determined One-Pager while creating mental categories?

To expand on the concept of determination, Caroline uses an enhanced version of the I’m Determined One-Pager tool.  The added language frames and visual supports increase understanding for students learning English.  Caroline introduces One-Pager by explaining that all people are good in some things and need help in others.  This method helps the students categorize areas of competence, or strengths, and areas of weakness, or needs. Understanding these categories and advocating for support are necessary to be self-determined in school. 


How do I advocate for my preferences and needs?

Caroline and a student discuss preferences and how they impact school performance. Having autonomy when it comes to school-related tasks empowers students to use their strengths to help develop their weaknesses.The feedback Caroline provides to the student normalizes the concept of students advocating for what they need in order to be successful. Self-advocacy is especially important as students transition to new grade levels and different schools.


How does knowing my strengths and needs help me in class?

In this clip, Caroline focuses on helping a student understand the purpose of completing the One-Pager and the impact it has on teachers and students.  Caroline teaches the importance of sharing preferences and needs with teachers.  When teachers know what students need, they can support them in accomplishing challenging tasks. As students meet their individual goals, they feel a sense of success and belonging in the classroom community.