During your time as an educator, it is highly likely that you will have to teach a student with special needs or learning difficulties. This can be something you may feel nervous about because you haven’t had to deal with it before, or you aren’t used to it. Or, maybe you have a new job in a school dedicated to teaching young people with special needs and you are feeling overwhelmed. Whatever your situation, today we will be taking a look at ways to improve your teaching strategies to help accommodate pupils with special needs.
Being aware of modern-day educational practices, fully understanding what you teach and how to be exceptionally considerate is vital when you are a teacher. Expanding your knowledge by educating yourself is one of the best ways to keep yourself up to date with all the modern-day teaching methods. A Master's Degree in High School Education is something you should consider, and it can be extremely beneficial to your career.
Communication is very important when you work with children with special needs. Some pupils will use verbal communication very well, and some will almost speak exactly what they are thinking all the time. However, some students won’t speak at all, which can be difficult at times, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t listening or don’t understand what you are saying. Constantly talking to your students, explaining everything clearly, and breaking down difficult tasks is extremely useful.
You should always be positive, encouraging, and you should praise your pupils whenever they work well, show good behavior, or change their attitude in a way that betters them. Encouragement is a very effective method when it comes to motivating all students because it makes them feel better about themselves and gives them the push they need to keep learning.
Routine and consistency are essential when working with all children, and it is even more important if they have special needs. Small changes can have a really deep impact on your students and can trigger unwanted behavior, so make sure you keep things as familiar as possible. The best way to help them cope with change is to make sure they are well-prepared. You will need to let them know in advance if you have a school trip planned or lunch is going to be delayed, for example.
Always Be Understanding
The main trait you need to have when teaching children with special needs is to be understanding. This will make things easier for you in many ways. You will have a more positive outlook on your job and your pupils will be more relaxed, which will improve their behavior. It is normal for children with special needs to have poor memory, a short temper, poor self-esteem, to get distracted, confused, emotional and demanding, and you always need to keep this in mind when you work alongside them.
Teaching students with special needs comes with its own host of difficulties and pressures. It can be overwhelming at times, but it can also be extremely rewarding. The care you provide to these children and your influence will have a massive impact on their lives and they will look up to you as an educator, carer, and a friend.