Recently I've gotten interested in rock climbing. I go to an indoor gym pretty regularly and enjoy the challenge. As much fun as rock climbing indoor can be, it's nothing like getting outside and climbing some real rock. I recently went to Mission Gorge with a friend and got to climb a few serious walls. He's a very experienced climber who leads trips all the time so I should have felt safe but it was hard to tell myself that when I was preparing to rappel down a 100 foot face using some knots he had just whipped together for me.
In my class this week we were shown a presentation on Autism Spectrum Disorder and teaching strategies to help those in our classes who are affected by it. According to the presentation, major piece of what these students need is help developing relationships so it is suggested that teachers create buddy systems for their students who have ASD. Having somebody to model appropriate behaviours and habits is supposed to be really useful for students with ASD.
As I reflected on this suggestion I thought about climbing with my friend. I think we can all benefit from having partners and buddies in work or projects that we do. Because of this I thought maybe in future classes of mine I can set up study partners who help each other with make up work, submitting assignments and general check ins. I'm working to make my class as inclusive as it can be and so I hesitate to require something of a few of my students and not others
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Philip Estrada is a teacher at High Tech High Media Arts in San Diego California. He teaches Physics by having kids build things in a woodshop.