Special education classes offer a unique service for students with disabilities. A special education classroom is a place that provides high-quality instruction for students with disabilities. Although online education is becoming more popular, it’s still important to provide special education classes for students with severe disabilities. Special education classrooms are designed to give more personalized attention to students who need it most.
But even in special education classrooms, there may be many different skill levels and abilities. How can teachers ensure that all students receive quality instruction? These are some strategies special education teachers can use for all their students’ benefit.
1. For small groups, form small groups
The ability to form small groups of students from different levels within a class can allow for personalized teaching and save time. One group might be focused on basic math skills while another group would be working on advanced geometry skills. Students will be placed in groups according to their educational goals and skill levels.
2. Instruct students in classroom centers
Another effective way to group students is through classroom centers. Each center would be able to focus on a specific area or level. Each center would have its own lesson materials and instructions. They would be self-explanatory, self-guided and somewhat self-explanatory to allow teachers to rotate between the centers and give appropriate guidance. The groups could be facilitated by a parent, teacher or volunteer. These centers could be self-explanatory and not completely sacrifice teacher time.
3. Combine ‘the basics’ with more specific instruction
Another way to instruct multiple levels of students is by teaching general concepts to the entire group and then pairing it with individual instruction. Every subject in school has general concepts that can be applied to students of all levels.
To support the learning of a particular subject, students can be taught basic concepts such as reading comprehension strategies, math basics, writing organization ideas and even scientific theory. This knowledge can be applied to students’ individual assignments. For more advanced students, the teacher can always add additional content.
4. Rotate lessons
Rotating lessons within different centers or groups could allow for new material to be introduced to each group on a given day, while the teacher only has to monitor those who are doing independent activities. Within such lesson cycles, the teacher assistant might also be useful.
5. Use thematic instruction
Thematic instruction refers to the integration of a single theme into multiple subject areas. This teaching method has been proven to be extremely effective in special education classrooms. The “theme” could include anything, from current events, writing topics, or honing the ability to read comprehension. A historical event, for example, could be linked to all other subjects. Attention-grabbing themes should grab students’ attention and keep them interested.
6. Different levels of books and materials are available
There will be many proficiency levels in the classroom so make sure you have different levels and types of books and other teaching materials for each subject. A variety of levels will help each student learn at their level. This reduces frustration and increases confidence.
You can make it easier to teach special education students. No matter how severe their disabilities are, students can still be taught in a way that is appropriate for their individual needs.
This does not mean you have to give up personal instruction. Harmony and integration are possible, regardless of the level or content area your students are studying. Teachers can use strategies such as grouping, learning centres, rotating lessons and choosing class themes to help them provide the best instruction and support in their special education classes.