Sharing Question: Special Ed students in regular ed classes
I hear frequently of the challenges of assisting Special Education students and English Language Learner students in the regular education classroom. I had one magnificent district EL teacher in a couple of face to face teacher graduate courses who was superb and determined at breaking out key concepts or skills from a regular education learning area, and then developing step by step small steps ways of helping her students learn the same basic understandings.
In Harvard professor Thomas Hehir’s wonderful book “Eliminating Ableism in Policy and Practice” (Harvard Education Press), Hehir, whose special ed son graduated from college, states that he strongly believes that though it takes more time, and smaller steps, special education students can learn the same things regular ed kids can learn.
Our reading specialist when I was district Curriculum Director in Hamilton-Wenham was told by her special education daughter’s school that her daughter would never be able to read. The mother worked with her on the fundamentals of reading — phonics, rhyming words, breaking a word into pieces — and her daughter became fluent in reading. Also our Special Ed Director in Hamilton-Wenham was told her daughter would never be able to read. She arranged for her daughter to have Wilson reading instruction for 15 minutes three times a week, and her daughter learned to read. In another district, I saw an aide working one-on-one with her high school student with the Read 180 program. This enthusiastic, supportive assistant kept moving the student up in reading development.
So these are just examples that it can happen that we can help more struggling students learn. The challenge is, how can we really best support these students in the regular ed classroom?
One regular ed teacher developed and located for her inclusion classroom specific different types of graphic organizers that she kept in separate piles on a shelf along the wall. Students were free to go over and pick up a graphic organizer of choice to work on a reading or writing activity.
Here’s a nice video clip with Rich Lavoie providing perspective on working with a Special Education student, and strategies to use. Click Here
Please provide successes you’ve had, or questions, by scrolling down below for a Reply.
It is imperative that all students are held to high expectations. It is not ok to assume any child is too limited to learn. Those expectations may be different for different children at different points in their development. Time will be a factor, style of learning will be a factor, and output level will be a factor, however, as teachers, we need to give every student including and especially special needs students the respect of high expectations.
Giving choice to students is one way to reach students at their level. I have utilized hyperdocs in order to give students some choice and challenge in the work they are doing. This way students are able to work up toward mastery in a specific area through teacher direction or self-instituted challenge. Choice in reading is one important way in which students can feel successful. If they are able to choose a book that is of interest to them and not dictated by the teacher, even struggling readers will have more investment into what they are reading.
Thanks, Becky, your recommendation on using hyperdocs is very helpful!!!