Interaction between children and adults is an essential part of school education, and thus, it is vital to create a supportive environment that will foster learning. Teachers should develop such qualities as attentiveness and responsiveness if they want to build high-quality relationships with learners (Schwartz, 2019). It is particularly critical when working with students who have learning disabilities like dyslexia, which is the difficulty of encoding words, slow text comprehension, and poor spelling (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). There are many myths about children with dyslexia, but the fact is that there is a lack of literature for teachers to enhance their skills in helping these students (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). Still, one thing that they need is a nonjudgmental attitude and unconditional support from their educators because learning to read requires retraining one’s brain circuits to comprehend letters, words, and sentences (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). Furthermore, children with dyslexia usually develop this problem due to inherited genetic issues; hence, they struggle to read and spell (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). Therefore, interactive teaching involving effective two-way interaction between learners and teachers can upgrade the results of students with learning disabilities.
Adult-Child Interactions in Education
Productive teaching and learning are generated through intellectual and emotional availability and connection between children and adults. The five essential elements of interactive education are knowledge, energy, action, sense of worth, and desire for more connection (Schwartz, 2019). Firstly, the energy created by encouraging curiosity facilitates creativity, while fear and anger activate survival responses, narrowing one’s thinking (Schwartz, 2019). Thus, generating a psychologically positive environment helps students broaden their intellectual abilities. Secondly, knowledge is given to students not only during classes but also in short conversations, e-mail exchanges, and tutorials; hence, more interaction with children increases the possibility of giving them more useful information (Schwartz, 2019). Thirdly, when an adult communicates with a student as an equal, it increases the latter’s self-worth (Schwartz, 2019). Fourthly, connecting with children to encourage them to change, move, or act is also crucial for them to believe that their effort is recognized (Schwartz, 2019). Fifthly, if educators maintain interaction with their students, especially if they have disabilities, it removes from learners’ minds doubts about their importance (Schwartz, 2019). Overall, reciprocal interaction between adults and children is the foundation for better learning and teaching.
Interactions in Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
Students with learning disabilities often require more attention and help from adults to reach the same level of skills as children without these issues. For example, individuals with dyslexia have difficulty understanding how to read and spell correctly (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). Teaching dyslexic children requires devoting most of the class time to sharpening essential reading skills instead of striving to give them the same program as students without learning problems (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). Texts for practicing may vary, but they should be of various backgrounds to broaden these children’s worldviews. Furthermore, adults should understand that these learners need specific instructions because their comprehension of the world is slightly different (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). These instructions may be given in small groups or individually to ensure highly personalized teaching (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). Moreover, feedback is a critical element of effective interaction in education, and it should explicitly explain to learners the teacher’s expectations, successful outcomes, mistakes, and ways to improve them (Vaughn & Fletcher, 2021). It appears that children with disabilities need a particular type of connection to be implemented by their educators.
What Do High-Quality Interactions Look Like
High-quality interactions between students and teachers result in improved behavior and better educational achievements. The first vital feature of high-quality interactions is supportive human resources, which means that educators promote collaboration between students, control learners’ behavior, and monitor group work (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Another characteristic of a good learner-educator connection is the thorough preparation of classroom activities, including program adaptations, cooperation with other teachers, and creating interactive groups (García-Carrión et al., 2018). This approach generates a safe and positive environment for children, leading to superior learning outcomes. If adults encourage interaction between students with and without learning difficulties, the former’s self-esteem will rise, and the latter can develop a sense of compassion for their peers with disabilities. Moreover, high-quality interaction in education requires building a supportive environment within groups and beyond the classroom (García-Carrión et al., 2018). For instance, teachers may give collective tasks that will require working and collaboration in teams of mixed learning abilities. Research showed that children in such groups try to help each other (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Although it may seem difficult to attain effective interaction between children and adults, it is not an unattainable goal.
Benefits of High-Quality Interactions
High-quality interactions can have a substantial positive influence on students’ performance and teachers’ professional development. Specifically, the feeling that adults and peers support and appreciate them helps increase children’s self-worth, encouraging them to work harder and show better results (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Furthermore, spending more time communicating with peers helps students improve because they can observe others apply knowledge and participate in practical exercises that boost their understanding (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Unfortunately, children with learning problems often are educated in an environment of low expectations and poor interaction (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Since research shows that high-quality interactions boost students’ performance, they should be implemented more widely (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Moreover, educators can receive benefits from high-quality interaction with children. For example, implementing the approach of solid interaction and learners’ better outcomes make teachers feel fulfilled (García-Carrión et al., 2018). Indeed, work satisfaction may motivate them to put more effort into their work and strive for further advancement to become more compassionate and empathetic educators.
In summary, attaining high-quality interaction between adults and children in educational settings is crucial to improving performance. It is particularly critical for students with such learning difficulties as dyslexia. These individuals need unique methodologies because their brain circuits are genetically less predisposed to re-wiring for learning to read and spell correctly. Hence, they need more practice in reading various texts in the classroom. Furthermore, dyslexic children need more direct and precise instructions about certain tasks. One of the essential prerequisites for children’s success is to help them develop a sense of self-worth by creating positive energy, sharing knowledge in and outside of the classroom, inspiring action, and reciprocal communication. When youth experiences equal treatment and feels teachers’ interest in their progress, their self-esteem rises, and they become inspired to master their skills and gain more knowledge. Overall, high-quality interactions are supportive and motivating two-way communication between learners and teachers that result in better results for students and job satisfaction for educators.
García-Carrión, R., Molina Roldán, S., & Roca Campos, E. (2018). Interactive learning environments for the educational improvement of students with disabilities in special schools. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1-12.
Schwartz, H. L. (2019). Connected teaching: Relationship, power, and mattering in higher education (1st ed.). Stylus Publishing.
Vaughn, S., & Fletcher, J.M. (2021). Identifying and teaching students with significant reading problems. American Educator, 44(4), 4-11.