26 Strategies to Help Learners Who Do Not Understand Instructions and Directions

Are you looking for strategies to help students who do not understand instructions and directions? If so, keep reading.

1. Play games that teach listening skills.

2. Provide instructions in a compassionate rather than a menacing manner (e.g., “Please listen to the instructions,” rather than, “You had better listen!”).

3. Converse with the student before going into a school assembly or cooperative learning experience and remind the student of the importance of listening to and following instructions.

4. Get the student to question any directions, explanations, and instructions they do not understand.

5. Provide all instructions, questions, and explanations in a clear, concise manner and at an appropriate rate for the student.

6. Show an appropriate way to listen to and follow instructions.

7. Urge parents to take advantage of dinner and other family-gathering times to converse and practice keeping attention.

8. Take the student away from the situation (e.g., at a school assembly, when a guest speaker is present, etc.) until they can demonstrate self-control and follow instructions.

9. Train the student to carry a notepad with them at all times. Urge them to write information down to help them keep attention.

10. Make sure you have the student’s full attention when you are talking to him/her. Stand near the student, keep eye contact, and have the student repeat the information.

11. Do not reinforce the student’s unacceptable behavior by laughing when they have not listened to instructions.

12. Ascertain whether the student heard a direction by having the student repeat it.

13. Teach and practice information-gathering skills (e.g., listen carefully, write down essential points, ask for clarification, wait until all information is presented before starting a task, etc.).

14. Minimize the emphasis on competition in the classroom. Competition may cause the student to begin a learning experience before hearing all of what is said.

15. Create rules for listening to and following instructions (e.g., listen when someone is giving instructions, ask questions about instructions if they are not grasped, etc.). These rules should be consistent and followed by everyone in the classroom. Talk about the rules often.

16. Assist the student in listening to and following instructions by reducing distractions.

17. Minimize distracting stimuli (e.g., noise and motion in the classroom) to enable the student’s capacity and ability to listen successfully.

18. Urge the student to write down oral instructions.

19. Place emphasis on or repeat keywords, due dates, quantity, etc.

20. Utilize several modalities to accommodate more than one learning style (e.g., visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) when presenting instructions, explanations, and instructional content .

21. Consider using a classroom management app to help the student follow directions and instructions . Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

22. Consider using Alexa to help you with classroom management. Click here to read an article that we wrote on the subject.

23. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

24. Read this article that we wrote on developing listening comprehension skills.

25. Read this article that we wrote explaining why verbal comprehension skills are important to academic success.

26. Read this article that we wrote on what you should do when your child struggles with verbal comprehension.

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