In the comments section of an article, MrsMonarch and I got to talking about the Community College instructor's experience. She wanted an Ask Me Anything; I just wanted to get out of the comments section so others could function. We're carrying on here for the time being.
I'll be headed to class in approximately half an hour, but will check in once this evening (and will be around all day Thursday) if there's a need/interest.
MrsMonarch asked: Speaking to your last paragraph there, dealing with reading comprehension, what are your goals for students like that? And what have you observed their goals to be for themselves?
The main issue with deficient students is that they often don't know they are deficient students. They don't have goals for themselves; they just want to do well in school. Often times, they don't know what that entails. I taught a college skills class that complimented a Reading Skills class. My job was to teach how to study, and someone with more an english background taught them how to read more efficiently.
My goal for students who struggle with reading is to go over the text with them in such a way that I show them what I think the main points are, and explain how I came to that conclusion.
We touch briefly on reading skills like context clues and word analysis, but there really isn't time to go over either in detail. I work it in whenever possible, especially if we come to a term they aren't likely to understand. (Seeing words they don't know is, in my experience, the main reason people don't grasp material.)
They've heard all this in elementary school and "know" it anyway, so I just remind them they can figure out a lot by using common sense. For example disestablishmentarianism is something to do with the study of a belief in establishment.
With a quick historical backstory, they're pretty proud of themselves. Then gentle reminders from there.
In a music class, it's a little trickier - but it's the same basic concept. Look for what you do know, go from there.