Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive ClassroomsSpecial Educational Needs (2023)

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Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms

D. Bryant, B. Bryant, and D. Smith





pp., £92isbn 978 1 4833 1925 4

Special Educational Needs

M. Delaney

Oxford University Press




pp., £14.50isbn 978 0 19 4200370

Hanna Kryszewska

Hanna Kryszewska

Hanna Kryszewska (MA) is a teacher, teacher trainer, and trainer of trainers. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Gdańsk and English Unlimited Teacher Training College, Poland. She delivered, among others, ELT methodology courses on teaching learners with SEN or Specific Learning Difficulties. She is co-author of resource books: Learner Based Teaching (Oxford University Press), Towards Teaching (Heinemann), The Standby Book, Language Activities for Teenagers (both Cambridge University Press), The Company Words Keep (Delta Publishing), a secondary four-part language course ForMat (Macmillan Poland), and a video-based teacher training course Observing English Lessons. She is a Pilgrims trainer and editor of Humanising Language Teaching website magazine. Email:hania.kryszewska@pilgrims.co.uk

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ELT Journal, Volume 71, Issue 4, October 2017, Pages 525–528, https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccx042


09 September 2017

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    Hanna Kryszewska, Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms
    Special Educational Needs, ELT Journal, Volume 71, Issue 4, October 2017, Pages 525–528, https://doi.org/10.1093/elt/ccx042





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Special Educational Needs (SEN) refer to learners with learning, physical, and developmental disabilities; behavioural, emotional, and communication disorders; and learning deficiencies. What we now call SEN has a long history, and has undergone many transformations which over the years have been manifested, among other ways, by the different names it has been given. These days, SEN refers to teaching learners who for intellectual or medical reasons fall behind with their education when compared to most of their peers. This means SEN does not include remedial teaching, gifted education, or teaching children who are economically or culturally disadvantaged, and for these reasons are left out from its definition. Marie Delaney, in Special Educational Needs (p. 12) maintains that:

Students have special educational needs if they have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of students of the same age and special educational provision needs to be made.

Some educators and experts may propose different definitions and use different terminology, for example ‘struggling learners’, ‘inclusive classrooms’, or ‘disability’ (Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms, p. 7), ‘specific learning differences’ (Kormos and Smith 2012), or SEND—Special Educational Needs/Disability (Silas 2014a, 2016). The language and terminology used to talk about SEN often reflect the period in history when they were used, the legislation of the time, the political and educational contexts of the given country, and, finally, social attitudes and awareness including political correctness. For example, wording like ‘handicapped’, ‘crippled’, ‘retarded’, ‘ineducable idiots’, ‘mentally defective’, or ‘dull and backward’ will no longer be used regarding SEN learners, and if they are used, they are violently objected to (O’Brien 2016: 11).

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Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive ClassroomsSpecial Educational Needs? ›

Special education and general education teachers often work together to develop a curriculum and create a positive student culture. In an inclusive classroom, special education teachers have the essential role of ensuring that students with disabilities or special needs receive a quality education.

What is the role of special education teacher in inclusive classroom? ›

Special education and general education teachers often work together to develop a curriculum and create a positive student culture. In an inclusive classroom, special education teachers have the essential role of ensuring that students with disabilities or special needs receive a quality education.

How can teachers best plan for and teach students with significant cognitive disabilities in inclusive classrooms? ›

Teaching Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms
  • Adapting the curriculum to better serve all students.
  • Creating a sense of community in the classroom by involving all students in each task.
  • Determining and understanding the needs of students with disabilities.

What teaching strategies can be used to assist students with severe disabilities in inclusive settings? ›

Inclusive Education Strategies
  • Use universal design principles to create accessible classrooms. ...
  • Use a variety of instructional formats. ...
  • Know your students' IEPs/504s. ...
  • Develop a behavior management plan.

What strategies do special education teachers use? ›

Below are some effective strategies that special education teachers can use to support their students' academic and social development:
  • Differentiated Instruction. ...
  • Multisensory Learning. ...
  • Technology Integration. ...
  • Peer Tutoring. ...
  • Collaboration With Parents.
Apr 10, 2023

What are the 3 most important roles of a special education teacher? ›

Special education teachers typically do the following: Assess students' skills and determine their educational needs. Adapt general lessons to meet students' needs. Develop Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for each student.

Who teaches in an inclusion classroom? ›

In an inclusive classroom, general education teachers and special education teachers work together to meet the needs of students. This gives special education students the support they need while they stay in a general education classroom. All students can benefit from inclusive classrooms.

How are you going to create an inclusive classroom? ›

To create inclusive classrooms, teachers should educate themselves, set clear behavior standards for students, model respect and provide space for students to practice empathy. Various inclusive classroom strategies can help teachers accomplish these goals and support their students.

What are the 3 teaching strategies for inclusive education? ›

Inclusive teaching strategies
  • Create a consistent routine.
  • Provide a visual schedule.
  • Prepare students for an upcoming transition.

What are the five 5 steps to an inclusive classroom? ›

Five Steps for Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Learning Environments
  • Build Trusting Relationships. Know all of your students as people not just as learners. ...
  • Ensure Safety and Inclusion. ...
  • Make Diversity Visible. ...
  • Set High Expectations and Deepen Learning Opportunities. ...
  • Learn and Grow.

What is an example of inclusive teaching? ›

An inclusive classrooms features students of all learning styles and ability levels. For example, an inclusive classroom could have a mix of gifted students, auditory learners, visual learners and students with disabilities such as ADHD, students who are in wheelchairs, and students with executive functioning issues.

What are examples of inclusive practice in the classroom? ›

You can incorporate inclusive practices into your classroom by providing a range of learning set ups. This includes children working in pairs, groups or individually, working on computers or out of books, creative writing, physical activities and musical activities.

How do you manage students with behavioral disorder in inclusive classes? ›

5 Tips for Handling EBD Kids (Emotional Behavior Disorder) in an Inclusive Classroom
  1. Keep class rules/activities simple and clear. ...
  2. Reward positive behaviors. ...
  3. Allow for mini-breaks. ...
  4. Fair treatment for all. ...
  5. Use motivational strategies.
May 30, 2018

How can teachers accommodate students with learning disabilities? ›

Accommodating a students with a learning disability
  • Assist in identifying potential tutors and/or note-takers.
  • Allow students to audio-record lectures.
  • Allow for extensions on assignments and essays.
  • Allow for preferential seating, either to facilitate better listening or to allow for proximity to an electrical outlet.

What are the 5 factors that make special education special? ›

Answer and Explanation: The behavior, limited English proficiency, blind or visually impaired, communication needs or deaf or hard of hearing, and assistive technology are the five factors that IEP team must determine to make special education effective for the students with disabilities.

What are the four goals of the special education teachers? ›

The Four Goals of Early Childhood Special Education
  • Intellectual Development. Cognitive or intellectual development is one of the biggest goals of early childhood special education. ...
  • Physical Development. ...
  • Emotional Development. ...
  • Social Development.

What is the responsibility of a special education teacher? ›

A Special Education Teacher is an educator who specializes in teaching children with physical, mental, emotional, and learning disabilities. They develop tailored teaching plans, collaborate with parents and support staff, and assess students' progress to help them achieve important learning milestones.

What are the three types of special education interventions? ›

What Is Intervention in Education?
  • Proactive: Deals with areas of need before they become a larger obstacle to education.
  • Intentional: Specifically addresses an observed weakness.
  • Formal: Uses targeted methods for addressing specific needs and tracks progress.
Oct 15, 2019

What is inclusion style of teaching? ›

The "Inclusion Style" of teaching strives to include all learners and to have continued participation, to have learners enter an activity at their ability level, to participate in the activity, then step back and analyze their performance and then decide to proceed on their own terms.

What does an inclusion teacher teach? ›

“Inclusive teaching involves deliberately cultivating a learning environment where all students are treated equitably, have equal access to learning, and feel valued and supported in their learning.

Which of the following is most important in an inclusive classroom? ›

Providing an individual education plan (IEP) is most important in an inclusive classroom. In an inclusive classroom, students with a diverse background, varied skills, diverse abilities, and challenges are grouped in a single classroom.

What are the strategies for inclusive education? ›

Provide a safe space (physically and emotionally)
  • Provide a sensitive environment.
  • Provide encouragement and guide learning.
  • Provide a quiet area.
  • Express positive regard and support.
  • Facilitate student voice, autonomy and independence.
  • Set clear classroom expectations.

What are the 3 important components that make up special education? ›

That's three separate, distinct, and critical elements–special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services–and each is worthy of a book on its own. Don't worry!

Why do we need to teach special needs students? ›

Working with special needs students gives you the opportunity to impact the lives of children who have disabilities, learning disorders, and developmental delays. Not only are you making an impact in the lives of students by giving them tools and resources to learn according to their learning style.

Why should students with special needs be included in the classroom? ›

Kids with special education needs who are in inclusive classes are absent less often. They develop stronger skills in reading and math. They're also more likely to have jobs and pursue education after high school. The same research shows that their peers benefit, too.

What activities are good for students with learning disabilities? ›

Going to music, dance, art or drama classes can also help teach a person with learning disabilities how to interact with others and how to follow instructions.

How do you explain special needs to a child? ›

Talk to your kids about disability.
  1. Embrace your child's curiosity. ...
  2. Be honest and direct. ...
  3. Avoid making assumptions and interpretations. ...
  4. Keep your explanations positive. ...
  5. Lead by example. ...
  6. Prepare for tough questions and avoid shushing their questions. ...
  7. Talk about human diversity (and neuro-diversity) with your kids.
Mar 5, 2020


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