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Consistent, repeated exposure to new letters, words and numbers clearly is a job done best by a computer.  A well constructed lesson on the computer will most likely make a much stronger and more resilient impression on a child than the same material presented in a noisy, distraction filled classroom.  This is particularly so if the lesson is interacting with the student personally, holding his attention, involving him and allowing him to “steer” the lesson by requiring him to make choices and generally control the computer, rewarding him for correct responses, and guiding him through corrections if incorrect answers were chosen.

The Teaching-Engine program allows remedial teachers to construct interactive multimedia lessons which can be custom designed for any level of learning and even for an individual student.  Sounds for letters, phonic combinations and words can be included, so that the most basic beginnings of literacy training can be practiced over and over again until learned.  Of course the main advantage is that this concentrated and personalized attention can be given to a number of students at school and repeated at home without a need for a teacher, tutor or parent being directly involved.  This means that it is possible and practical for students making slow progress to get the concentrated and repeated exposure to the material even though a human mentor or tutor is not always available.

Remedial teaching has the advantage of dealing with small number of students where the teacher has ability to work much more closely with individual students.  This leads to a better understanding of the individual student’s strengths and weakness, and allows the learning to be more individually tailored.

This is where the Teaching-Engine program can be most effectively used.  Because anyone with intermediate computer skills can create custom tailored interactive multi-media lessons,  very student-specific computer practice can be produced.  The interpretations of a student’s remedial needs can be implemented in a computer lesson which can be practiced at school and copied and further practiced at home on a computer with the Teaching-Engine program.  This is ideal, because the student sees and practices at home exactly the remedial teacher recommended lesson.  Consistency is very important so the student isn’t further confused by well-meaning parents who “don’t do it the way we do in school”.

For early intervention, the  Teaching-Engine program is ideal, especially when supervised by an experienced remedial or special education teacher.

• Early discovery of literacy difficulties is very important
• Remedial work should begin right away
• Young children cannot study on their own
• Tutors may not be sufficiently available
• Young children can use the Teaching-Engine program

When an otherwise normal and happy child reveals slow progress in the first years of school, it is probably a considerable shock for the parents.  Of course, the first reaction is that there is some problem with the teacher or the school, or that classmates are creating a disruptive atmosphere or that the latest teaching methods are at fault.  The teachers however, have in their classrooms a whole spectrum of children who rank from brilliant to slow and experienced teachers know very well where a particular child  ranks in that spectrum. 

There have been many methods of evaluation of a child’s potential for academic work. When a student shows slow progress, he is likely to be subjected to a barrage of psychological and I.Q. tests as well as vision, hearing, evaluation for attention deficit, physical exams and many more.  It seems that there is no lack of people who can do testing, but after all the results are in, the bottom line is, what do you do about a student who is progressing too slowly in school. 

Some believe that occupational therapy is important, others may recommend certain medications.  Special lessons,  tutoring, and remedial attention also are often included in the methods for helping these children.  Depending upon the degree of learning difficulties, any of these methods can help certain children. But if a child is dyslexic or has considerable visual or aural memory limitations, or has great difficulty concentrating on his work in class, the typical remedies in all likelihood will not be sufficient to bring the academic progress back to acceptable levels.

The early years of schooling require memorizing the relationship between sounds and totally abstract and arbitrary two dimensional symbols on a piece of paper.  This just doesn’t come easy for some children.  For some learners, if it doesn’t move or have some tangible three dimensional presence in the real world, it is in effect “invisible” or unrecognizable.

In many cases it is not impossible for these children to learn their “A, B, C’s” but it takes a lot longer.  Schools typically have limited special education or remedial lessons for these children but the reality is that these lessons are largely repeating the same work as is seen in the classroom, but to a smaller group.  This may help some students who are only marginally behind, but for more difficult cases,  the one or two hours a week that are spent in these special classes are insufficient to make a large difference in the student’s progress.  In these cases,  often the only effective method is repetition: lots and lots of repetition.