“The passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 increased the focus of educators and parents to find ways to include and support students with an intellectual disability in the least restrictive environment,” (Clarke, 2015. Pp.1). This statement meant that special education students will be placed in General Education classes so that were exposed to grade level curriculum and were among their peers. I have taught in both the special education classroom and the general education classroom and the question always comes up, how do I teach to the high, middle, and low academic students? This is a tough question and one all teachers struggle with; however, the answer is to diversify. “NO, NO!,” the teachers say that is too much work! Nonetheless, that is the research based answer so that all students can learn.
It is necessary to do this because, “Seated side by side in classrooms that still harbor a myth of “homogeneity by virtue of chronological age” are students with identified learning problems highly advanced learners; students whose first language is not English; students who underachieve for a complex array of reasons; students from broadly diverse cultures, economic backgrounds, or both; students of both genders; motivated and unmotivated students; students who fit two or three of these categories; students who fall closer to the template of grade-level expectations and norms; and students of widely varying interests and preferred modes of learning,” (Tomilson, et.al. 2003, pp. 1).
I feel strongly about this strategy, because I have seen the students who gain no knowledge in the years they have been in school. The quiet students that hope not to be noticed, the behavior students that act out because they don’t have the skills to function. We need to band together and reach all of the students in our classrooms.
There are lots of ideas on Pinterest here are just a few to check out:
Clarke, Laura S., Haydon, Todd, Bauer, Anne & Epperly, Anna C. (2015). Inclusion of Students with an Intellectual Disability in the General Education Classroom with the Use of Response Cards.
School Failure: Alternate Education for Children and Youth, Volume 60 (1) pages 35-42.
Tomilson, Carol Ann, Brighton, Catherine, Hertberg, Holly, Callahan, Carolyn M., Moon, Kay Brimijoin,
Conover, Lynda A., &Reynolds, Timothy. (2003). Differentiating Instruction in Response to Student
Readiness, Interest, and Learning Profile in Academically Diverse Classrooms : A Review of
Literature. Journal for the Education of the Gifted. Vol. 27 (2-3 pages 119-145.
Add your own ideas or strategies in the comments.....