The teaching trend today is more and more the special needs inclusive classroom. Instead of special classes, all special needs students are mainstreamed into regular classrooms. This prevents discrimination of any student on the basis of a physical or mental disability.
However, with all students grouped into special needs inclusive classrooms, teachers face a variety of challenges they wouldn’t ordinarily have in the regular classroom.
The top challenge – cultural diversity
All children with special needs belong to a specific culture. The teacher must be prepared to understand these varying cultures. Besides the special needs cultures there are the other cultural differences such as poverty vs. wealth or socio-economic status, racial differences, language differences, and country of origin differences.
Therefore, teachers must first of all be knowledgeable about cultural diversity. If they haven’t taken a course or workshop in cultural diversity, they should do so before attempting to teach a multi-diverse class that also includes special needs students.
The second top challenge – being prepared
All teachers should be prepared to teach any special needs child in the special needs inclusive classroom. They should also be able to integrate students and to create a positive atmosphere among all students where all students also understand cultural diversity and learn to work and communicate well with each other.
Meeting the challenge through more education
Teachers who are faced with the challenges of the special needs inclusive classroom should certainly be prepared for this role by taking extra college courses in special education.
All future teachers going for their degree in education will eventually have to take special education courses along with their regular education courses.
Rather than having teachers who are only educated as special education teachers, all future teachers will have to take the special education courses along with their regular education courses and along with their concentration courses for the subject they are teaching.
Once the teacher has taken extra college courses in all aspects of special education they should be prepared to face the challenges of a special needs inclusive classroom.
These other challenges will all be part of the new learning required by all teachers in order to facilitate learning in the special needs inclusive classroom.
Some of the things teachers in the special needs inclusive classroom should be prepared for are
1) languages especially sign language, but also the predominant other language being used in classrooms
2) appropriate equipment needed such as hearing equipment, equipment needed by the physically disabled, braille reading books for the blind, special computers for various types of disabilities.
3) the special needs of each individual student according to each student’s special needs.
4) all teachers should have a variety of teaching methods at their disposal in order to accommodate the differences in learning in the classroom
5) individual attention for each student when needed
6) knowledge of special seating and other accommodations for specific needs
The challenges faced by teachers in special needs inclusive classrooms are many but with a good solid educational background in education, special education, and their concentration subject, teachers will effectively be able to deal with any and all situations in the special needs inclusive classroom.