Curriculum differentiation refers to the practise of altering the teaching structure in order to suit the pupils and their abilities. Pupils may struggle with some or many aspects of regular learning and the environment so they will need to learn in a different structure. It may mean the use of a support teacher to help the child personally with an aspect of their teaching, some may need help with writing and some with mobility around the classroom and the school in general. The support teacher may also be used as a general back up for the classroom teacher as a help for anyone that needs the help. For schools that teach more severely disabled children there’s a chance that each child needs support in their day to day needs, even including toiletry and regular medication.
As well as the actual teaching changing to suit so will the content in some cases. Where a child or a class within a special needs school has learning delay they will follow a curriculum not for their age group. What this means is a child of 12 may be learning at the age of a 6 year old for example. This means they are studying subjects at a far lower level then the child’s peers. This can work okay with basic subjects but is much harder for subjects that relate to the child’s physical development. So sex education for example has to relate to a twelve year old body but has to be delivered in a six year old style, something that’s hard to do but is essential.
OTHER SPECIAL NEEDS
Another variant is to teach children with the ability to learn at their actual age level but who struggle for other reasons. Some children have trouble with behaviour issues. This means allowances have to be made for behaviour and for concentration levels. The child may show signs of violence, temper outbursts and other problems that wouldn’t be allowed in a regular school. This will often mean that a child with behaviour problems will need to be taught partially or totally away from a regular classroom; this may mean a special unit in a school or in a school for emotional and behavioural needs.
Many pupils will benefit from curriculum differentiation if structured correctly. Their needs need to be assessed fully and then a decision can be made on where they are to be taught and how they are to be taught. The decisions will take into account any disabilities and the child’s learning ability; also behaviour problems will be considered if they are likely to cause a problem.