When teachers start their teaching career, they have many balls to juggle and challenges to overcome. An understanding of the special education needs is one of them. Educational difficulties do not always mean learning difficulties. There are many cases when a child is academically stable but still may have special needs. For example, a student with no physical disability but suffering from EBD (Emotional and behavioral disability) exhibits frequent and intense behaviors that significantly interfere with his educational performance. This problem stops him from mainstreaming with general education classes and leads to the provision of special education services(Nesbit, 2007). This type of students poses new challenges to the teacher.
In order to overcome the special education challenges, EHCP (also known as IEP) does not only become a priority but a necessity for a teacher. It serves as a roadmap for years to come in a child's academic life.
Reasons why teachers should adhere to EHCP/IEP:
The EHCP or IEP is a team-driven process that prioritizes the support for students with special needs to meet their educational and interpersonal needs. Teachers who work with such students use these plans to guide them in adapting and modifying the design of lessons and instruction in the classroom(anonymous, July 30). A few reasons why teachers should follow EHCP/IEP are given below. A detailed and carefully written IEP helps teachers in:
Teachers must keep the IEP/EHCP in mind as it helps them determine how to collect data about students' strengths and weaknesses and monitor their advancement toward educational goals. Periodic evaluations help teachers assess whether or not their teaching approaches are practical and how to align their teaching strategies with students' progress(anonymous, July 30).
Tailoring individualized instructions
People often mistakenly think the prerequisites for children with learning disabilities are fewer because their curriculum is simplified. However, the difference lies in the teaching strategy. The teaching strategies for special needs students are often more modern than in a regular class. For example, the special education class focuses on oral assessments, individual work, learning through audio lessons, technology, etc (Allison Academy).
EHCP/IEP helps teachers give students individualized instructions tailored to their needs to improve their skills and overcome weaknesses (Belsky).
Respecting the child’s needs
Special education teachers encounter students with a multiplicity of disabilities throughout their careers. Disabilities can range from mild to complex. However, the right educational plan can improve the students' disability regardless of its complexity. Adhering to a carefully filled EHC plan helps teachers ensure that child's integrity is respected so that they will not encounter any psychological problems in the future.
Protecting children's mental health helps them become equal members of the class and society in a broader perspective. It can be made possible only when teachers follow the goals and guidelines mentioned in the EHC plan or the IEP (Allison Academy).
Achieving SMART goals
Very often, either the short-term milestones and the annual measurable goals mentioned in the EHC plan are not SMART, or the teachers show negligence in chasing the goals. In either case, this is a pitfall. Teachers need to follow a well-written IEP/EHCP. It helps teachers become aware of a child's unique situation and circumstances, set SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals, and provide one-on-one support and unique accommodations for the child (Special ed resource).
Collaboration with other team members
As discussed earlier, educating a special needs child is a team-driven activity. The team's key members are the child, parents, and special education teacher. However, other members might also be needed to collaborate depending on the child's needs, like psychiatrists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, general education teachers, etc. The teacher needs to follow the guidelines mentioned in the EHCP/IEP because it helps her team teach with the child's regular education teacher. Without an IEP/EHC plan, a child's unique needs cannot be adequately addressed. However, meeting the IEP deadlines and goals helps teachers work with third-party members, other school staff, and the regular education teacher. It also helps provide expertise in addressing the child's unique needs (Centre for Parent Information and Resources).
Teachers have a sound knowledge of their scholars' academic background and an exceptional interest in seeing children with special needs succeed. Following the IEP reinforces the teacher's skills, brings valuable insight to the table, and benefits both the teacher and the student.
Allison Academy. (n.d.). benefits of IEP. Retrieved 08 08, 2022, from Allison Academy: https://www.allisonacademy.com/students/learning/learning-disabilities/benefits-of-iep/
Belsky, G. (n.d.). What is an IEP? Retrieved 08 08, 2022, from understood: https://www.understood.org/en/articles/what-is-an-iep
Centre for Parent Information and Resources. (n.d.). Special Educators on the IEP Team. Retrieved 08 08, 2022, from Parent center hub: https://www.parentcenterhub.org/iep-speceducator/
Nesbit, F. (2007, 07 04). Cherokee County School District. Retrieved 08 07, 2022, from Cherokee County School District: https://www.cherokeek12.net/userfiles/wp-uploads/2016/07/Emotional-and- Behavioral-Disability-Eligibility.pdf
Special ed resource. (n.d.). Teachers Role In An IEP. Retrieved 08 08, 2022, from Special Ed Resource: https://specialedresource.com/teachers-role-iep-meeting
This is a short and colourful story about a little boy named Jahmalachi. He uses descriptive language to introduce and describe himself and his family throughout the book.
This story is easy to read and was written specifically to help children develop positive social skills through speaking and active listening. “All About Me” aims to encourage children with minimal social skills to become confident in introducing themselves to unfamiliar people by sharing personal information such as names, birth months as well as their likes and dislikes etc.
Children reading Jahmalachi’s story will have a positive example of how to introduce themselves in a simple way. These vital life skills will enable children to build meaningful friendships and develop basic vocabulary that will help them to speak about themselves with confidence.
This story will also help children to address sensitive topics such as race, culture, and language. This will open opportunities for diverse discussions which is a positive way to establish and embrace cultural awareness. An All About Me comprehension textbook will be available at:
Diversity In The Classroom
My name is Jahseen Foster. I am a special educational needs teacher, and I am originally from Jamaica Montego Bay, but I am currently living in the United Kingdom.
In this article I will be outlining the importance of promoting diversity within the classroom from the perspective of a black teacher. This is a topic that I am extremely passionate about, due to migrating to the United Kingdom at a young age and having to experience discrimination and micro aggression at school as a student as well as during my journey of becoming a teacher. I came out of this experience positive and wanting to educate others.
§Generally, diversity can be best described as the similarities and differences amongst human beings. It is primarily about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them similar or different. Diversity presents itself in many ways. Such as different races, cultures, religions, various learning styles, distinctive personalities, various capabilities, disabilities, abilities, socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity.
What does diversity generally look like in the UK classrooms?
From my experiences, both as a student and a teacher, the black and Asian cultures are often represented in school as a tick sheet task. For example, school might celebrate Eid, Diwali and the odd black history lesson in black history month. What about the rest of the year? There is no representation of the black and Asian cultures in the schools? This has a huge and negative impact on our students, who are often classed as minority. This is no one’s fault, but just a lack of knowledge.
Why is this a problem?
It is a problem because children need to have a consistent sense of belonging to their environment, to be able to flourish and become confident and productive members of society. Many educational research have also shown that, in order for all children to have outstanding academic experiences, the teacher has to take the time to understand each child as an individual and use the findings to establish a diverse classroom that promotes each child's uniqueness. This includes their culture, religion, likes, dislikes and up bringing etc.
Furthermore, teachers must remove all stereotypical thinking and practices to embrace diversity to full capacity. Adopting this mind-set is the first step to establishing a diverse classroom. Implementing diversity in the classroom is a huge and complex task; however, it is fundamental. With the help of parents this can be implemented successfully and effectively.
Why is diversity paramount in the classroom?
When I look at my classroom, I see individuals who bless my classroom with a range of unique qualities, personalities, experiences, views, upbringing, likes and dislikes etc. As a teacher it is my duty to embrace all this beautiful distinctiveness that they bring into my classroom. I have to ensure these humans are proud of who they are regardless of their similarities or differences. This ensures that student learning process is maximised to enable them to achieve their full potential. Consequently, it is important for students to feel a sense of belonging and are valued in the classroom. This can be achieved through resources such as PowerPoints, books, toys and practices that reflect this diversity amongst the students. These are simple yet effective ways to establish a sense of belonging, which motivate children to learn. On the other hand, these practices also force teachers to rethink how they perceive the notion of diversity; when children are feeling excluded or not belonging within the classroom; there is a noticeable decrease in those children’s participation, engagement, behaviour and self-esteem. Therefore, creating an inclusive classroom environment is paramount to children’s learning and development.
Tips for Teachers
Written by: Jahseen Hiteena Foster
Even though all schools in the UK have highly benefited from employing different races and nationalities. the difficulties in regard to ethnic and racial discrimination in the UK is identifiable. Whether it has been displayed subtle or explicitly; racial stereotypes and prejudices attracts happens every day in the UK.
Yes, the Great British school communities are trying to embrace various races and cultural contribution to the education sector.
You may see some content of various celebration and contributions from people of various races and nationalities; from the achievements of BME Brits in sport, refugees in music, asylum-seekers in psychology to migrants in medicine and yes our undeniable contribution to our culture and economy but this does not stop the abuse and discrimination that is thrown upon us because of our uniqueness.
Being a black teacher in UK school varies. I personally have not experienced any directly volatile racist interaction with anyone, just minor ones. However, I do know other teachers, who have had bad experience in their schools.
Please just remember to educate these people about your race and culture. Embrace your blackness and your culture; please be proud of who you are, so they can see you have no problem with who you are. They too will just have to also be proud of you and accepting of you.
July 25th, 2022
Generally, diversity can be best described as the similarities and differences amongst human beings. It is primarily about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them similar or different.
What does diversity look like in the classroom? From experience, I would say it present itself in many ways. Such as; different races, cultures, religions, various learning styles, distinctive personalities, various capabilities, disabilities, abilities, socio-economic status, gender and ethnicity.
Who is responsible for ensuring diverse is embraced to full capacity in the classroom? The teacher of course is responsible for this huge and complex task, which is not easy to implement; however, it is fundamental.
Research have shown that, in order for all children to have outstanding academic experiences that embrace equality and diversity, the teacher have to take the time to understand each child has an individual and not just as a group. Tecahers have to remove all stereotypical thinking and practices to embrace diversity to full capacity. Adopting this mindset is the first step to establishing a diverse classroom.
Why is diversity paramount in the classroom? When I look at my classroom, I see individuals who bless my classroom with a range of unique qualities, personalities, experiences, view, upbringing, like and dislikes, etc. As a teacher it is my duty to embraces all this beautiful distinctiveness that they bring into my classroom. I have to ensure these humans are proud of who they are regardless of their similarities or differences. This ensures that student learning process is maximised to enable them to achieve their full potential. Consequently, it is important for students to feel a sense of belonging and valued in the classroom.
While it is almost impossible to treat all children the same, due to their various abilities, capabilities and disabilities. Teachers have to rethink how they perceive the notion diversity. Various research carried out in the UK shows that children who feel excluded or not belonging to the classroom; there is a noticeable decreased in those children’s participation, engagement, behaviour and self-esteem. Therefore, creating an inclusive classroom environment is paramount to children’s learning and development.
My name is Jahseen Foster