Teachers bring a wide range of instructional tools and strategies with them to the room. Needless to say, each instructional approach has its particular strengths and weaknesses but, without doubt, all facilitate the task of imparting knowledge and information to special needs students.
The identification of special needs students and their subsequent referral to a special educations program is a meticulous process. Teachers are first required to conduct Response-To-Intervention (RTI) assessment test for determination of whether or not the student in question is truly in need of special education and if all efforts have been exhausted in the general classroom setting. Enrollment in a special educations program is predicated on the results of the RTI.
Within the context of the classroom setting, the teacher is required to identify the most effective of the teaching strategies which may be deployed vis–vis the special needs students. Identification is done through either the problem solving or the special protocol approach (Teaching LD, 005). Ideally, the characteristics and needs of the students function as the primary determinant of the learning approach which will ultimately be selected.
The problem solving approach, as clarified in “Teaching LD”(2005) is comprised of four steps. These are problem identification, problem analysis, plan implementation and problem evaluation. The first step is an observational one, whereby the teacher is required to observe students classroom behavior for identification of problem areas. The second step focuses on the analysis of the identified problem for the purpose of identifying the factors which incite them and how these problems may be addressed. This second step, in other words, involves an in-depth exploration of the identified problem for the purposes of formulating a corrective plan.
The third step entails the implementation of the individual student plans which were formulated in the previous step. The final step, problem evaluation, dictates the monitoring of student progress following the implementation of the plan for determination of whether or not it has induced improvement and can, thus, be considered successful. If the monitoring and evaluation indicate a lack of, or insufficient, progress, modifications may be made to the plan. Should, after modifications, problems remain, the student is referred to a special educations program (Teaching LD, 2005).
The standard protocol approach is comparable to the one discussed in that it is similarly comprised of four steps which have the same objectives. Accordingly, the first step involves the identification of students who are potentially in need of special education and the second involves the deployment of such teaching support as tutorials, which could help the identified special needs students overcome their education problems.
The third step is centered upon the monitoring of progress for determination of the effectiveness of the tutorial sessions in relation to each individual student. Within the context of the final step, students who have exhibited a marked improvement continue with the program, allowing for its adjustment in relation to their improvement while, those who have exhibited minimal or no improvement are referred to enrollment in a special education program (Teaching LD, 2005).
A special educations classroom, as clarified by Sue (2003) may be incorporated into the general education classroom. As per the stated, the teacher arranges seating for the special needs student in a classroom area which is conducive to learning and relatively free of distractions, in addition to warding the student special privileges.
As may have been determined from the preceding, this topic is a rich and fertile one and has, in no way, been adequately covered in the above. Instead, one may read this as an introductory and extended definition to special needs teaching approaches.