Joseph A. Foran High School added new peer assisted courses last year in order to make learning more interactive for everyone.
Six years ago the class Peer Assisted Gym was created. This class is a combination of students of all abilities. It provides a fantastic opportunity for students to work side by side with other students. This collaborative experience has such a positive impact on everyone who participates. Samantha Pierpont, a junior, says, “I loved peer assist gym, it persuaded me to be a special education teacher when I grow up”.
The courses that are currently offered are peer assisted gym, music, and cooking. Gym was the first of the classes to be run and was created by physical education teacher Mrs. GaNun. Students who are in this class do what is called “lifetime games.”
“The activities we do are things such as bocce, ladder ball, beach volleyball. They are basically games one would play at a family picnic,” says GaNun.
This prepares the students to know how to play certain family related games if they are ever in a situation in which they can play them.
The class overall is rewarding for everyone in it. Every special education student is paired with another student in a type of buddy system. This pairing creates a friendship and a bond that is mutually shared between these two students. Peer assisted classes promote these types of kinships and teamwork that impact all the students.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for typical peers to work side by side with students with disabilities,” says Ms. Kaminski, a special education teacher. “There are strong kinships formed and students learn the value of taking on a leadership role within the classroom setting.”
This class helps students who want to become special education teachers realize what they have to do to accommodate students with special needs.
Participating in this class gives experience to the students who want to go into the field. It also gives a different learning experience than what one would usually get in a basic high school class. This looks great on a college application.
Samantha Pierpont says, “I would definitely encourage others to take a peer assist class. I loved going to peer assist gym every day because helping others made my day better.”