04 March 2021

Support understanding

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Helpful classroom strategies years 1-8’

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Tips to support under­standing

Tips to support under­standing

Support student motivation

  • Select topics that fit students’ interests.
  • Include some easy-to-achieve elements.

Keep language simple

  • Be explicit and brief.
  • Keep concepts concrete.
  • Use vocabulary familiar to students.
  • Accompany language with gestures, using hands, arms, and facial expressions.
  • Use visual cues – illustrations or posters.

Break information into small chunks

  • Break tasks into small steps.
  • Give steps one at a time – use visuals to represent steps.
  • Use digital technologies including: video, online games, and flip learning, so students can move at their own pace and revisit content as often as they need to.

Repetition is key

  • Reteach and reinforce learned concepts.
  • Teach steps in the same sequence.
  • Offer multiple opportunities to practise.

Source: Understanding fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: A comprehensive guide for pre K-8 educators (opens in a new tab/window)

Check in regularly with the student

Check in regularly with the student

Ask students regularly how they are doing.

Don't wait for them to come to you.

Maximise hands-on learning

Maximise hands-on learning

Use hands-on, practical activities to build on the particular strengths of students with FASD and praise their effort and achievements.

Ten communica­tion strategies

Ten communica­tion strategies

Students may have behavioural reactions when they experience language problems.

Use these strategies to enhance your communication with all learners, including those with FASD.

Giving instructions

Giving instructions

  • Eye contact helps students to process verbal information.
  • Use exaggerated facial and body language to convey meaning.
  • Use visual cues to aid understanding and trigger memory.
  • Give specific instructions, for example, “Put your reading book in the group box,” rather than “Tidy up”.
  • Use the student’s name at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Use the same words for the same instruction every time. This helps to place the instruction into the long-term memory.
  • Keep instructions short.
  • State what you want the student to do, not what they shouldn’t do.
  • Just because the student can repeat instructions back does not mean they understand them. You may need to get the child to show you they know what you mean.

Source: Making a difference: Working with students who have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources


Everyone's In: An inclusive planning tool

Publisher: Ministry of Education | Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

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Primary framework Teaching and learning strategies to support primary aged students with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders FASD

Primary framework: Teaching and learning strategies to support primary aged students with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)

Read time: 41 min

Publisher: National Organisation on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome UK

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Helpful classroom strategies years 1-8”:

Return to the guide “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and learning”