“Special needs teaching” refers to the practice of educating students with learning difficulties, in a specialized manner which addresses their individual needs and differences. It involves a host of individually planned and systematically monitored arrangements of teaching procedures, equipment, materials and settings. Teaching children with special needs requires teachers who are specially trained to cater to problems faced by such children. The primary goal of any special education teacher is to ensure that he or she understands the exact learning difficulties faced by each child and make necessary arrangements for the child’s advancement.
The nature of challenges faced by a special needs teacher on a regular basis differs greatly in comparison with those of a regular teacher. Even if he or she faces numerous challenges along the way, the primary task of a special needs teacher is to implement practices that work for such students, keeping in mind their unique abilities and challenges. Below is a list of challenges that a special needs teacher might face in the line of work.
- Non-instructional responsibilities: Being a special needs teacher requires work which often takes them out of the classroom and does not fall within the scope of regular teaching. This is because of the nature of children they are dealing with. As most children have special needs, it hampers their ability to interact normally. Hence, proper care should be taken to ensure that no child is left out.
- Handling an inclusive classroom: Inclusive classrooms contain both special needs children, as well as students without special needs. As a teacher, it is his or her job to ensure that all the students get along.
- The difficulty of teaching children with special needs: Many special needs students are plagued with restlessness or other behavioral issues that may affect the way they learn and perform in class. Other problems like short attention spans or an inability to grasp lessons easily can hinder their learning. With their specialized training and knowledge, special needs teachers can tactfully handle the situation and take the necessary steps to ease the process of learning for the child.
The Rewards of being a Special Needs Teacher
Many people regard special education and the role of Special Needs education teachers as a contribution to the society at large. Their job deals with helping students overcome their challenges. They ensure that not a single child is left out and that everybody receives an equal amount of attention.
Being a special needs teacher is one of the noblest things a person can do. In a normal setting, many children who have special educational needs and require specialized help, are often overlooked from an educational standpoint. By imparting the requisite knowledge and skills to children with special needs, a special needs teacher is effectively helping the individuals lead a better life and thus contributing to the society at large.
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There are myriads of children around the globe who are constantly impeded by the different nature of their abilities, despite possessing limitless potential. If nurtured carefully, these innate abilities can be channelized in order to get transformed as great gifts. Unfortunately, people are mostly unaware of the obstacles these children face in their daily lives. Those who are thinking about taking up the vocation of special education must become aware of the finer aspects of effectively nurturing their students.
The practice of “Special Needs Teachers Training” provides educational assistance to these differently abled children in a certain way addressing their individual requirements. The process of Special Needs Teacher Training involves a systematic arrangement of teaching procedures, settings, materials, and equipment. This particular process is designed to help the children having special needs achieve self-sufficiency and higher education.
There are three broad systems in which special needs teachers work:
- Inclusion System: Inclusion is an approach that includes students with special needs in the teaching environment consisting of mostly students without special needs. Most schools use this process for students with mild or moderate special needs as inclusion might require significant modification of the general curriculum. This practice is accepted as the best one among others. Depending on the nature of service, specialized services might be provided inside or outside a regular classroom. Students might leave the regular classroom occasionally to receive other lessons requiring specialized equipment or for more intensive sessions in a resource room. They could also leave to attend language or speech therapy, rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and for services that require privacy.
- Mainstreaming System: In this approach, differently abled students are taught alongside regular students in certain classes predominantly based on their abilities. To perform this process successfully, students with special needs are distinguished for the rest of the school hours in different classrooms.
- Segregation System: This system allows the differently abled students to attend the same school where regular classes are taken without mixing them up with the regular students. Segregation allows students with special needs to spend the entire instructional time in a separate classroom exclusively. In case their special classroom is placed in an ordinary school, this system provides opportunities to integrate socially outside the classroom. As, for example, interacting and communicating with the students during the meal times. These students might also attend special schools as an alternative measure.
Each of these different approaches has its unique procedures and technicalities developed to fulfill the multifarious requirements of the differently abled children. As a teacher in training, you would have to hone your sensitivity every day to pick up on the ways in which you can effectively use the apparatus at your disposal. There are several institutes offering online as well as in-class courses which could be very useful to you. Signing up for one these will help you get prepared.
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Teaching children with special needs is very different as compared to other forms of teaching. Children with special needs require specialised teachers who have gone through adequate training and know how to tackle certain common problems faced while learning. A good special needs teacher can always identify the learning problem faced by a child and take the necessary measures to ensure steady progress.
Which children have special educational needs?
A child is said to have special educational needs when he or she has a learning difficulty that requires some special educational provisions to be made for him or her. A child is considered to have a learning difficulty when they have significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority children their own age. This difficulty can arise due to many reasons, mainly some form of disability that hinders a child from making use of regular educational facilities provided for children of that age group. Children belonging to this category generally have problems reading, writing, any type of number work or understanding and analysing information. They may also have problems expressing themselves or understanding others which may lead to social exclusion in the classroom. A special needs teacher understands these, and takes special care and the necessary steps to provide the child with learning assistance.
Advantages of receiving Special Needs Teacher Training
- They help children to focus on their challenges: Students with special needs often find themselves lagging behind when moving from one lesson to another. They need the help of a SEN teacher to help them understand challenging subject matter. They come up with new strategies to help the child to accurately conceptualise and comprehend the subject matter in a way that will be beneficial to him or her.
- Assists children to grow comfortable while seeking help: Children with special needs face many problems which maybe mental, physical or both. Some children often try to hide their difficulties, or do not ask for help, out of fear. A special education tutor allows their students to get a better understanding of themselves. The child develops a connection with the teacher, and this enables them not to be open while asking for appropriate help.
- Carefully tackles students’ disabilities: SEN teachers hold degrees in various special educational fields of study, while also being aware of the nature of disabilities faced by their students. Since each student should be handled individually, special education tutoring is the next logical step in carefully addressing problems individually, and creating new modes of learning to help them become achievers.
- Helping society at large: The most important part of being an SEN teacher is having the responsibility of teaching differently-abled members of society. SEN teachers do great service to society at large by facilitating self actualisation for people who face difficulties.
Special Needs teacher training equips an individual to tackle challenges in the best way possible. They are entrusted with supervising a child’s learning and other activities to give them the confidence to rise above their own learning difficulties.
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