Create an Effective Special Education Classroom With These Checklists
There are several strategies that a special education teacher can implement in the classroom to help students who have special needs. It is better to use a multi-modal approach to assist visual, kinesthetic, tactile, and auditory learners.
- Make the student sit in a place where there are no distractions.
- Reduce the number of visual distractions.
- Remove unnecessary things from the pupil’s desk, so there is less distraction.
- Whenever necessary, provide a study carrel to the student.
- Keep extra pens, pencils, paper, and books in the room.
- Provide a checklist so that the student can stay organized.
- Decide a cue to indicate that the student can leave the room.
- If necessary, allow the student to have frequent breaks.
- Offer a suitable peer role model.
- Avoid power struggles and confrontations.
- Decide on a safe place where the student may go.
- Modify the rules that are not suitable for students with neurological disorders.
- If the class is not disturbed by particular attention-seeking behavior, ignore it.
- Develop some signs or codes to make the student aware that their behavior is not right.
- Make a code of conduct for the classroom. Display it so that all the students know about it.
- Provide instant reinforcement and feedback.
- Develop a realistic behavior intervention plan.
Presentation of Study Materials
- Provide alternative assignments instead of lengthy written assignments.
- Break down the assignments into shorter tasks.
- Break the lengthy assignments into short sequential steps and monitor each step.
- Modify expectations according to the student’s needs.
- If possible, provide verbal and written directions with visuals.
- Provide a sample of the final product.
- In every task, number and arrange the steps in a sequence.
- Highlight the key points when you give written directions for an assignment to make the student focus on them.
- Provide study guides, outlines, and copies of class notes.
- Before you begin a lesson, make sure the student is attentive and explain the learning expectations.
- Allow them to use computers, calculators, tape recorders, and dictation.
- Check the homework assignments and sign them. Also, ask the parents to sign them.
- Let them work for a short period, then give them a break.
- Fix a place for submitting assignments.
- Give extra time to complete their assignments and homework.
- Give several reminders before you change to another activity.
Assessment and Grading
- If possible, exempt them from district level testing.
- Let them sit in a quiet place while writing a test.
- Allow them to give oral responses.
- Break down the test into short sections.
- Give them sufficient time according to their need to complete the test.
- Grade the spelling and content separately.
- Change the amount of work needed for passing.
- As far as possible, do not give a time test.
- Allow them to retake the test.
It is a challenging task to teach in a classroom full of students with special needs. However, if you implement the strategies listed above, you can offer a suitable learning environment for all the students irrespective of their learning aptitude.