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Teacher Interview with Kei Lucas

How do you meet these challenges?

I think that one of the ways to meet challenges is that to do a task analysis. I have to look at whatever the task is, whether it is academic, behavioral, social, whatever it is that is creating the issue or the challenge, and what are the thousands of little steps that are involved in doing that. An example might be on Friday afternoons, often times at the very end of the day, my older students will say, “Can we play Uno, can we play Go Fish, can we play…,” and, “Oh yeah,” because that is working on math, that’s working on colors. “Yeah, yeah, yeah we can do that.” So we start looking at what the student has to do in order to be successful doing that. When you start doing a task analysis, you start thinking, “Oh my gosh, he has to be able to hold cards, to pull a card out, to know when it’s his turn, to know which way is one way, and when we go to reverse, which way are we going, he has to be able to stay sitting down.” There are all these lists and unless they are able to do each of those things, the whole activity doesn’t pull together. Then you do that with academics. “What does this child need to be able to do in order to accomplish this math task; hold a pencil, know where the spot is on the paper, transfer focus from the paper to the calculator, transfer focus back.” There are just all of these things. I think one of the challenges is to keep inside of our heads the understanding that if the child can’t do the activity now, it doesn’t mean throw the activity out and wait for him or her to mature. You go through the task analysis and start plugging in all the little holes. You haven’t dropped the activity; you’ve just shifted the focus to smaller parts of the activity. You have to pull from every part of your being. You’ve got to be willing to make yourself look goofy and silly in front of the kids and any other adults who are in the room. You’ve got to be able to do things the way that they would want to do it, not necessarily the way you would want to do it, so you have to let that little kid inside of you come back out.

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