Nowadays children that have special needs are integrated into a classroom environment with other mainstream schools more often than was the case in the past. This of course is a step in the right direction for integration, however for many mainstream teachers they just don’t have the background knowledge and education to cope with stressful situations that could ensue as a result. By providing additional resources children with special needs can flourish in a mainstream environment and there are strategies to make it easier.
Learn about the students special notes
When a child is deemed to have difficulties they will have a learning plan in place and often a member of staff who oversees the education of such students. It’s important that as a teacher you get to know the education plan which will give you the details of what the student is currently/or needs to be receiving in order to move forward. It will also give you an idea of anything you can do as a teacher to make their learning environment and integration easier for them.
Seating is one of the most common alterations made for special needs students which could be a the front, back or somewhere else depending on the child. Just seating them with different people can help to improve their retention and ability to learn and flourish. For those with attention problems it’s best to sit away from distractions such as a the ‘class clowns’, doors and windows.
Keep copies of work to show special educator
Although you won’t have to submit all work you should keep a folder of some so that you can show it to the special education teacher so they can see what areas the child needs help at the next meeting and what strategies are working to help them improve.
Multiple assessment tools
Now more than ever, specialists as well as teachers are realising that standard tests do not suit all students which can mean that a child that seems to be struggling could benefit from say submitting their tests orally rather than on paper or using a device such as an ipad or computer.
Supporting life skills
Children with special needs can lack the ability to do things that others take for granted such as tying shoelaces, holding a pencil correctly for neater handwriting or even just knowing how to behave in a class environment. As well as the curriculum it’s important to also concentrate on life skills including social skills so that they can flourish. For older children you may need to reinforce each lesson that they must take notes to refer to later that day or how and where to write information on their work such as their name and date.
Collaborative Planning and Teaching
Allow parents and specialists involved with the students education in any way to enter the classroom so that you can work together. Other people, especially the parents may have coping mechanisms that you would otherwise be unaware of as may the specialists. Just speaking to them could help improve the classroom environment for both special needs students and mainstream.
Have a management plan in place
To have an inclusive classroom you will need to find a way to manage behaviour to keep control of all students. This means that you should have clear goals and expectations in place for all. Have a classroom environment that suits a diverse range of students rather than the majority so all can do well in a comfortable environment they actually want to learn in.
Having a successful inclusive classroom depends upon having control of your classroom. It is essential to have clearly communicated expectations and goals, that are accessible to all students. Your classroom environment should be tailored to better suit diverse students’ needs. With students’ and specialists’ input, create a checklist or action plan for students.