Accommodating Differences: Everybody is Entitled to Education

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All people are entitled to education. The reason as to why I have started by pointing out this basic reality is because in an academic institution there are diverse perspective groups of individuals that makeup a classroom and who deserve equal opportunities to acquire knowledge. In a classroom setting there may be 'normal' or healthy students who do not require any special attention and students with attention deficit disorder should be provided with special environment to facilitate their acquisition of knowledge. For example in a class setting one may have visually impaired or blind students, students with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and perfectly normal persons who can do all the normal school chores without any extra effort.

It's incumbent upon any teacher to understand the differences that exist in such a class so as to provide all the three categories of students with what they came to school for: Learning. Brantlnger (1997) has pointed out that according to recent research done to asses whether handicapped students should be required to participate in all the regular education activities, there are several advantages that go along with their participation in regular classes, including: They are able to increase academic achievements, they acquire better social skills, they gain more positive self concept facilitating to greater self esteem, and acquire more appropriate social skills (Brantlnger, 1997).

Common characteristics in all students

The diversity in this group of student exhibits different characteristics. Nevertheless for a teacher to effectively provide an apt environment for all students to learn there is a need to understand the students. As much as he/she may identify their diversity, there are common traits in all students and in this specific group that will enable the teacher to make intelligent judgment and decisions in relation to the teaching methodology.

All students will always want to be treated as mature people. The teacher can easily impact and transform a student to do everything if he appeals to the desire of maturity which holds a student accountable for their actions. A teacher should demand an adult level of work from every student at the same time emphasize on adult learning requiring 'hand on' experience. The teacher should treat students with respect (Integrate Publishing Inc., 2007).

No student comes to class with a desire to fail; the teacher should use the basic desire to succeed to its uttermost advantage through striving to aid them to progress from one success to another. The proverb that success breeds success can never be more true and implementable. The teacher ought to instill self confidence in a student through provision of reinforcement that encourages intense learning. It's the character of people to become frustrated hence give up if they are constantly failing (Integrate Publishing Inc., 2007).

Ability to evaluate is a common characteristic among all students; students are quick to opinions formulation. Students will evaluate everything within their disposal including the instructor. Students will quickly detect lack of enthusiasm, competence or sincerity. It's the teacher's role to set the pace for zeal in his work and students are most likely to follow suit. Since students will always evaluate the teacher should not provide them with an opportunity of diverse evaluation (Integrate Publishing Inc., 2007).

All students are bound to make mistakes as any normal human being for 'man is to err'. When an instructor understands this it becomes easier to deal with all students in their diversity. Those who have disabilities should be encouraged to understand that they are not the only ones who make errors as an error is not an end to the learning process. A mistake should be capitalized on in all students to make translate it into a positive learning experience. A ridicule is very traumatizing hence makes a student to be stigmatized by others. A teacher should not provide an environment for such to thrive. All students should be judged by the same standard (Integrate Publishing Inc., 2007).

Some of the challenges that a teacher may face in the endeavor to provide the diverse population with education may include:

Communication challenge:

In this group setting where a teacher has a people with different abilities and limitations it becomes hard to use a common language that is understandable by all the students. In this class the normal and ADD student will at ease interpret what the teacher says in class since the non verbal cues plays a great role in facilitating the effective communication. The teacher will have to make extra efforts in making the special student to be at par with the other students.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The valuation of students in such a mixed up setting becomes a challenge. The teacher may be forced to accord special attention to ADD students and the students with eyes impairment. This situation may demand from the teacher to prepare a different exam from the rest of the students or to set them aside. This further becomes a challenge for the special group may have different abilities where those who are better placed may take the advantage of the situation to outwit the physically fit; more time to answer exam questions.

Time management

In a class setting where people have different abilities the teacher may have to develop special teaching skills that may demand some more time to pass the message home. The writing speed of the students differ hence the teacher has to accommodate the entire student to ensure that no student is left begin. At the same time the teacher has to cover the syllabus in the set time. This may demand that the teacher creates extra time to do this (Ormrod, 2008).

The teacher may also never be sure whether a student is partially impaired or he is pretending so as to enjoy the special privileges that are enjoyed by those who have this special need.

Special learning opportunities needed

An academic institution may have to employ some more special learning opportunities for the blind and the cripple students. For the blind students E-learning Opportunities and Barriers for the Blind (ELBA) can play this significant role very effectively. The blind and visually impaired students can study together with the rest of the students only that they are required to take the special devices. The teachers and the students explore the multimedia available in facilitating learning. This may include the use of tablet-PCs or Pas, computers, wireless LAN networks where data in transferred by use of radio waves (Miesenberger, 2004).

A student with partial visual impairment may use close circuit TV magnifier, large print books, and large print typewriters. The student may also use audio taped lectures and books, a student may also use raised diagram or drawings illustrators, charts, shapes, physical organs, three dimensional models, and relief maps among many other tools that are large enough for students with visual impairment. In evaluation the teacher may employ large prints, Braille or oral exams to the students.

The accommodation of students with visual impairment needs a prior preparation for their classes. The teacher should ensure advance availability of the syllabi or the reading list so that the necessary arrangements will be made such as brailing or taping. The teacher should organize the class in such a way that the front seats are reserved for the students with special needs (Finn, 1991). In case a student is using a guide dog, it should be very disciplined and provided with little space. The instructor should always make efforts to face the class while teaching. The instructor should ensure that whatever is displayed on the wall or chalkboard is conveyed verbally and provide a copy of the material to the note-takers. The instructor should permit the students to tape record the class or lecture sessions or render copies of notes where indispensable. The teacher should provide large print copies of classroom materials. When the teachers issues assignments he should be flexible with deadlines for this group of students (Sacks & Wolff, 2006).

Students with attention deficit disorder (ADD) need to be sited near the teacher and student who shall act as role models to the student. The teachers should teach them from close proximity using soft voiced tone. The teacher should eliminate broadcasted sounds that proceed from equipments such as computers. To motivate the students the teacher should praise appropriate behavior. The teacher should review prior skills as well as learning for making connections (Ormrod, 2008). The teacher should identify all the necessary materials for the teaching in time; he also has a responsibility of outlining key words or concepts before commencing the lesions. The teacher should ensure that at the close of every lesson he closes the lesion with a restatement of the objectives of the lesion. The teacher should break instructions to various sequential steps for student to easily grasp. He should provide extended projects which he will carefully monitor. Encourage the students to us taped extended reading and allow the students to make use of calculators. Should prepare the students for transition by announcing several times that a certain lesion is coming to a closure at the same time preview the upcoming classes encouraging students to start preparing for the classes. The teacher should provide information in advance in case there are any changes in the routines. It is important to combine the vocal cues with visual cues to enhance communication. The highlighting of key words in the work sheet facilitates in capturing the attention of the student (McGraw, 2010).

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