Unit 2: Individualised Educational Programme and teaching strategies

2.1.  Concept, components of Individualised Educational Programme (IEP) and Individualised family support programme (IFSP)

2.2.  Developing IEP for homebased teaching programme, special school setting and inclusive school setting. Teaching strategies for group teaching in special schools, individual, small group and large group instruction

2.3.  Class room management - team teaching, shadow teaching, peer tutoring and cooperative learning, use of positive behavioural intervention strategies (PBIS)

2.4.    Teaching strategies for individual with high support needs.

2.5.  Teaching strategies for teaching in inclusive schools - Universal design for learning and differentiated instruction.













2.1    Concept, components of Individualised Educational Programme (IEP) and Individualised family support programme (IFSP)


Individualized Education Programme (IEP)

An I.E.P., or “Individualized Education Program,” is a written plan that describes the unique needs of a child who is eligible for special education and explains the specific services that the school will give the child.

An I.E.P. is an legal  document that describes exactly what special education services your child will receive and why. It will include your child’s eligibility, present  level of  performance, services, goal and objectives. The I.E.P. is decided at an I.E.P. meeting. The program must be designed to meet your Child’s unique needs.

The IEP is a written plan prepared for a named student. It is a record of what is being agreed as ‘additional to’ and ‘different from’ the usual differentiated curriculum provision that is provided by every class/subject teacher.

The collaborative nature of the process, through the involvement of teachers, parents, other professionals and the students him/herself facilitates the creation and development of a working document, enabling true inclusion of students.


§  I.E.P. is a management tool designed to ensure that in school Children with Special Needs receive the special education and related services appropriate to their needs. I.E.P. remain the corner stone of every educational programme planned for each student with  disability.

§  I.E.P. is a written statement for a student with exceptionality that is developed, reviewed and revised on a regular basis.

Historical Perspective

President Ford along with Congress passed legislation that was intended to improve opportunities in education for handicapped children and adults through the provision of a free appropriate public education. The law was called Public Law 94-142.

This law provided that handicapped children and adults ages 3-21 be educated in the "least restrictive environment" to the maximum extent appropriate, meaning that they are educated with children who are not handicapped and that special classes, separate schools or other removal of children from their regular educational environment occurs only when the severity of the handicap is such that education in regular classes cannot be achieved.

Before a child can be placed in a special education program, an extensive evaluation procedure is required by PL 94-142. These criteria must be determined before a child can be placed:

       whether a child has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits learning.

       the possible causes of a child's disability

       strengths and weaknesses of a child in physical, emotional, social, vocational and intellectual areas

       the educational diagnosis category that best describes a  child's disability

       the special services, instructional techniques and other interventions that the child needs

       the appropriate instructional placement for the child

       reasonable predictions of the child's academic, social and vocational potential

The school is required to receive written permission from the parent before conducting an evaluation of the child.

Once the child's evaluation is complete and it is determined that the child is indeed eligible for placement in special education, an Individual Education Plan (i.e.p.) must be written to meet the needs of that child.

 An interdisciplinary team is formed to write the child's I.E.P. Under PL 94-142, the team should, at a minimum, consist of a representative of the local school district, the child's teachers and the child's parents. PL 94-142 does stipulate certain criteria that are to be included in the I.E.P.

 I.E.P. should include a statement of:

·      the child's present level of educational performance;

·      the annual goals, including short term instructional objectives;

·      the specific special education and related services to be provided for the child and the extent to which the child will be able to participate in regular education program;

·      the projected dates for initiation of services and anticipated duration of services;

·      The appropriate objective criteria and assessment procedures and schedule for determining on at least an annual basis whether the short term instructional objectives are being met.

Purpose And Needs Of IEP                                                                                   

§  Get to know the child and discover their learning style, then the IEP will better reflect the child's needs. I would also suggest obtaining the form that may be filled out and used for Occasional Teachers.

§  The IEP allows for a broader explanation of the student's strengths, capabilities, weak areas, social balance, behavior needs and adjustments needed for the education and personal growth of the child.

§  The information on the IEP can direct the teachers, parents and other professionals to compile the information that will give the student a distinct advantage to reaching his/her educational requirements.

§  It also allows for a clearer understanding of the individuals personal needs.

§  The main purpose of IEP is to provide appropriate education and training to every child with  mental retardation. As  no two mentally retarded children  have similar abilities and needs, the development of IEP depends on the needs of the child

§  the IEP allows for a broader explanation of the student's strengths, capabilities, weak areas, social balance, behavior needs and adjustments needed for the education and personal growth of the child.

§  The information on the IEP can direct the teachers, parents and other professionals to compile the information that will give the student a distinct advantage to reaching his/her educational requirements.

Components Of IEP

  General background information about the child.

  Assessment  of  current level of  functioning in specific skills.

  Goals and short term objective.

  Methods and material to achieve the objective.


1.     General Background Information About The Child

This data is collected  when the child is brought  to the school.

The information should be collected in the following areas:

·      Family background

·      Details about siblings

·      Socio-economic status

·      Pre-natal, natal post natal history

·      Developmental history

·      Other relevant factors.

2. Assessment of current level of functioning in specific skills

Assessment is the process of gathering and analyzing information in order to make instructional/administrative and/or guidance decision about or for an individual.                         - Wallac, Larson and Elkinson

Assessment is the most important component of I.E.P. because the whole programme depends on the assessment.

Norm Reference Test: N.R.T. is a standardized measure. Standardized test is a test in which the administration, scoring and interpretation procedures are set. Eg: Intelligence Test, Achievement Test.

Criterion Reference Test: C.R.T. compares student’s performance to a fixed criteria. In other words, C.R.T. is concerned with whether a child perform a skill as per the criteria set or not. Eg: Teacher made test.

The assessment of the current level of functioning  of the child must include:

·      Motor skills: Gross Motor, Fine Motor

·      Self Help Skills: Feeding (eating), Meal Time Activities, Toileting, Dressing, Grooming                                      

·      Language Skills:  Receptive language, Expressive language

·      Social Skills

·      Academics Skills: Reading, Writing, Number, Time, Money

·      Measurement

·      Domestic Skills (Skills performed in and around home)

·      Community Orientation Skills

·      Recreational Skills

·      Vocational Skills

3. Setting of goals

·      An Annual goal represent the achievement anticipated for a child in an academic year. It  is a prediction.

·      Goals represents the developmental areas or domains.

o   Eg: Rani will read English alphabet.  (Annual Goal)

Consideration to select Annual Goal

·      Child  Past  Achievement                

·      Present Level of Performance

·      The practicality  of the goals chosen

·      Ability of the child

·      Needs of the child

·      Functionally Relevant Goals

·      Priority Needs of the child

·      Amount of time required

·      Parental involvement

·      Teachers ability

Short Term Objectives

S.T.O. are the breaking down of annual goals in to similar units.S.T.O. are the specific curricular area derived from the goal which a teacher expects her student to learn over a period of short duration.

·      Writing behavioral objectives

·      Under what conditions will this behavior? (Condition)

·      Who is the person affected ? (Person)

·      What is the behavioral in question? (Behavior)

·      What level of performance is expected? (Criterion Level)

·      Deadline

4.     Teaching Methods,  Techniques And Material To Achieve The Objective

·      Play Way Method

·      Montessory Method

·      Project Method.


5.     Evaluation

In order to measure the student’s performance in terms of predetermined set of objectives evaluation is necessary. While evaluating the child for progress following must be kept in mind.

1.     There should not be bias on the part of the teacher .

2.     The evaluation must be quantitative and qualitative.

3.     There should be provision for written and verbal reports of the results.

4.     The evaluation must be continuous and should lead on to further planning of programs for the child.


The Individualized Family Support Plan

The Individualized Family Support Plan is a written treatment plan or document that identifies the child's and family's strengths and needs, sets goals (for both the child and family members) or maps out early intervention services for the child and determines the steps that will be taken to achieve these goals.

It is a family based approach to services due to the central concept and understanding that supporting a child’s family lends itself to supporting the child or that the family is the child’s greatest resource and should be included in all stages of the plan.

A multidisciplinary team, which includes the parents, develops an Individualized Family Support Plan following the determination of eligibility, for each child and family.

The IFSP differs from the IEP in several ways

       It revolves around the family, as it is the family that is the constant in a child's life.

       It includes outcomes targeted for the family, as opposed to focusing only on the eligible child.

       It names a service coordinator to help the family during the development, implementation, and evaluation of the IFSP.

       It includes activities undertaken with multiple agencies beyond the scope of Part C. These are included to integrate all services into one plan.

       It includes the notion of natural environments, which encompass home or community settings such as parks, child care, and gym classes.

       This focus creates opportunities for learning interventions in everyday routines and activities, rather than only in formal, contrived environments.


1.     Child's  current  level of functioning and need :

       It includes strengths, interests and areas of concern.

       Areas include physical, cognitive, communication, social development and adaptive environment.

2.     Family information

       This includes details about family’s priorities, concerns and resources as they relate to enhancing the development of the child.

3.     Statement of the major outcomes:

       This includes writing the statement of the major outcomes (or goals) expected to be achieved for the child and family.

       These should be short term goals and not the achievement goals for the child’s entire life.

       The outcomes or goals must be relevant, specific and measurable.

       It should include the criteria, procedures and timelines used to determine the degree to which progress toward achieving the outcomes is being made.

4.     Support and Services:

       The support and services that the child will receive should be listed in detail to achieve the stated outcomes provided within the child and family's daily routines and activities.

       Supports and services can be in the form of educational, medical, paraprofessional and social services.

5.     Place and Time:

§  Where in the natural environment (school, home or community) the services will be provided should be mentioned.

§  When the services will begin, how often they will occur and how long they will last should also be mentioned

§  Who will pay for these services should also be mentioned (A variety of funding resources may be used to pay for these services including state and federal government resources, private insurance, family resources and/or local agencies.

6.     Service Coordinator:

a.     The name of the Service Coordinator must be there. This person is the family's primary contact for assistance throughout the IFSP process, and is responsible for the implementation of the plan and coordination with other agencies and people.

b.     He should also connect the family with other families and ensure that they understand their rights and procedural safeguards.



2.2    Developing IEP for homebased teaching programme, special school setting and inclusive school setting. Teaching strategies for group teaching in special schools, individual, small group and large group instruction


Developing IEP

The IEP Team Members

By law, certain individuals must be involved in writing a child's Individualized Education Program. These are:

§  The child’s parents

§  At least one of the child’s special education teachers or providers

§  At least one of the child’s regular education teachers (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);

§  A representative of the school system;

§  An individual who can interpret the evaluation results;

§  Representatives of any other agencies that may be responsible for paying for or providing transition services (if the student is 16 years or, if appropriate, younger);

§  The student, as appropriate, and

§  Other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the child.

Note that an IEP team member may fill more than one of the team positions if properly qualified and designated. For example, the school system representative may also be the person who can interpret the child's evaluation results.

These people must work together as a team to write the child's IEP. A meeting to write the IEP must be held within 30 calendar days of deciding that the child is eligible for special education and related services.

Each team member brings important information to the IEP meeting. Members share their information and work together to write the child's Individualized Education Program. Each person's information adds to the team's understanding of the child and what services the child needs.

Parents are key members of the IEP team. They know their child very well and can talk about their child's strengths and needs as well as their ideas for enhancing their child's education. They can offer insight into how their child learns, what his or her interests are, and other aspects of the child that only a parent can know. They can listen to what the other team members think their child needs to work on at school and share their suggestions. They can also report on whether the skills the child is learning at school are being used at home. (See the information at the end of this section about parents’ possible need for an interpreter.)

Teachers are vital participants in the IEP meeting as well. At least one of the child's regular education teachers must be on the IEP team if the child is (or may be) participating in the regular education environment. The regular education teacher has a great deal to share with the team. For example, he or she might talk about:

·      The general curriculum in the regular classroom;

·      The aids, services, or changes to the educational program that would help the child learn and achieve; and

·      Strategies to help the child with behavior, if behavior is an issue.

The regular education teacher may also discuss with the IEP team the supports for school staff that are needed so that the child can:

·      Advance toward his or her annual goals;

·      Be involved and progress in the general curriculum;

·      Participate in extracurricular and other activities; and

·      Be educated with other children, both with and without disabilities.

Supports for school staff may include professional development or more training. Professional development and training are important for teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and others who provide services for children with disabilities.


The child's special education teacher contributes important information and experience about how to educate children with disabilities. Because of his or her training in special education, this teacher can talk about such issues as:

·      how to modify the general curriculum to help the child learn;

·      the supplementary aids and services that the child may need to be successful in the regular classroom and elsewhere;

·      how to modify testing so that the student can show what he or she has learned; and

·      Other aspects of individualizing instruction to meet the student's unique needs.

Beyond helping to write the IEP, the special educator has responsibility for working with the student to carry out the IEP. He or she may:

·      work with the student in a resource room or special class devoted to students receiving special education services;

·      team teach with the regular education teacher; and

·      Work with other school staff, particularly the regular education teacher, to provide expertise about addressing the child's unique needs.

Another important member of the IEP team is the individual who can interpret what the child's evaluation results mean in terms of designing appropriate instruction. The evaluation results are very useful in determining how the child is currently doing in school and what areas of need the child has. This IEP team member must be able to talk about the instructional implications of the child's evaluation results, which will help the team plan appropriate instruction to address the child's needs.

The individual representing the school system is also a valuable team member. This person knows a great deal about special education services and educating children with disabilities. He or she can talk about the necessary school resources. It is important that this individual have the authority to commit resources and be able to ensure that whatever services are set out in the IEP will actually be provided.


The IEP team may also include additional individuals with knowledge or special expertise about the child. The parent or the school system can invite these individuals to participate on the team. Parents, for example, may invite an advocate who knows the child, a professional with special expertise about the child and his or her disability, or others (such as a vocational educator who has been working with the child) who can talk about the child's strengths and/or needs. The school system may invite one or more individuals who can offer special expertise or knowledge about the child, such as a paraprofessional or related services professional. Because an important part of developing an IEP is considering a child's need for related services (see the list of related services at the end of this section), related service professionals are often involved as IEP team members or participants. They share their special expertise about the child's needs and how their own professional services can address those needs. Depending on the child's individual needs, some related service professionals attending the IEP meeting or otherwise helping to develop the IEP might include occupational or physical therapists, adaptive physical education providers, psychologists, or speech‑language pathologists.

When an IEP is being developed for a student of transition age, representatives from transition service agencies can be important participants. (For more information about transition, see the information provided at the end of this section.) Whenever a purpose of meeting is to consider needed transition services, the school must invite a representative of any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. This individual can help the team plan any transition services the student needs. He or she can also commit the resources of the agency to pay for or provide needed transition services. If he or she does not attend the meeting, then the school must take alternative steps to obtain the agency's participation in the planning of the student's transition services.

And, last but not least, the student may also be a member of the IEP team. If transition service needs or transition services are going to be discussed at the meeting, the student must be invited to attend. More and more students are participating in and even leading their own IEP meetings. This allows them to have a strong voice in their own education and can teach them a great deal about self‑advocacy and self‑determination.

Deciding Placement

In addition, the child's placement (where the IEP will be carried out) must be decided. The placement decision is made by a group of people, including the parents and others who know about the child, what the evaluation results mean, and what types of placements are appropriate. In some states, the IEP team serves as the group making the placement decision. In other states, this decision may be made by another group of people. In all cases, the parents have the right to be members of the group that decides the educational placement of the child.

Placement decisions must be made according to IDEA's least restrictive environment requirements-commonly known as LRE. These requirements state that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities must be educated with children who do not have disabilities.

The law also clearly states that special classes, separate schools, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment may occur only if the nature or severity of the child's disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

What type of placements are there? Depending on the needs of the child, his or her IEP may be carried out in the regular class (with supplementary aids and services, as needed), in a special class (where every student in the class is receiving special education services for some or all of the day), in a special school, at home, in a hospital and institution, or in another setting. A school system may meet its obligation to ensure that the child has an appropriate placement available by:

The placement group will base its decision on the IEP and which placement option is appropriate for the child. Can the child be educated in the regular classroom, with proper aids and supports? If the child cannot be educated in the regular classroom, even with appropriate aids and supports, then the placement group will talk about other placements for the child.

Implementing the IEP

Once the IEP is written, it is time to carry it out‑-in other words, to provide the student with the special education and related services as listed in the IEP. This includes all supplementary aids and services and program modifications that the IEP team has identified as necessary for the student to advance appropriately toward his or her IEP goals, to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, and participate in other school activities. While it is beyond the scope of this guide to discuss in detail the many issues involved in implementing a student's IEP, certain suggestions can be offered.

·      Every individual involved in providing services to the student should know and understand his or her responsibilities for carrying out the IEP. This will help ensure that the student receives the services that have been planned, including the specific modifications and accommodations the IEP team has identified as necessary.

·      Teamwork plays an important part in carrying out the IEP. Many professionals are likely to be involved in providing services and supports to the student. Sharing expertise and insights can help make everyone's job a lot easier and can certainly improve results for students with disabilities. Schools can encourage teamwork by giving teachers, support staff, and/or paraprofessional’s time to plan or work together on such matters as adapting the general curriculum to address the student's unique needs. Teachers, support staff, and others providing services for children with disabilities may request training and staff development.

·      Communication between home and school is also important. Parents can share information about what is happening at home and build upon what the child is learning at school. If the child is having difficulty at school, parents may be able to offer insight or help the school explore possible reasons as well as possible solutions.

·      It is helpful to have someone in charge of coordinating and monitoring the services the student receives. In addition to special education, the student may be receiving any number of related services. Many people may be involved in delivering those services. Having a person in charge of overseeing that services are being delivered as planned can help ensure that the IEP is being carried out appropriately.

·      The regular progress reports that the law requires will help parents and schools monitor the child's progress toward his or her annual goals. It is important to know if the child is not making the progress expected‑or if he or she has progressed much faster than expected. Together, parents and school personnel can then address the child's needs as those needs become evident.


Reviewing and Revising the IEP

The IEP team must review the child's IEP at least once a year. One purpose of this review is to see whether the child is achieving his or her annual goals. The team must revise the child's individualized education program, if necessary, to address:

·      The child's progress or lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general curriculum;

·      Information gathered through any reevaluation of the child;

·      Information about the child that the parents share;

·      Information about the child that the school shares (for example, insights from the teacher based on his or her observation of the child or the child's class work);

·      The child's anticipated needs; or

·      Other matters.

Although the IDEA requires this IEP review at least once a year, in fact the team may review and revise the IEP more often. Either the parents or the school can ask to hold an IEP meeting to revise the child's IEP. For example, the child may not be making progress toward his or her IEP goals, and his or her teacher or parents may become concerned. On the other hand, the child may have met most or all of the goals in the IEP, and new ones need to be written. In either case, the IEP team would meet to revise the IEP.


Teaching strategies for group teaching in special schools, individual, small group and large group instruction

Different methods facilitate different kinds of student engagement and opportunities to learn.

‘Mixing it up’ is important.  You can’t please all the people all the time but designing your small group teaching session with variety in mind allows your learners to work in their comfort zones for some of the time and provides them with new challenges at others.

The name of the small group teaching session will provide some clarity on the overall teaching approach expected.  These fundamentally vary in how directive the teacher is expected to be :

In some classes it is expected that the teacher will be very knowledgeable and be prepared to lead on a specific subject or topic. The teacher is in the class to share their expertise and to ‘present’ information and their views to the group.

However, in many small group teaching sessions this is definitely not the role of the teacher.  A more common situation is that the teacher is there to help manage the process of learning, by facilitating discussion and supporting the students to work through learning activities and tasks. Tasks that have been designed to encourage the students to think for themselves, share their ideas with each other and help them to develop a set of, much valued, academic and communication skills.



2.3    Class room management - team teaching, shadow teaching, peer tutoring and cooperative learning, use of positive behavioural intervention strategies (PBIS)


Team Teaching

An instructional situation where two or more teachers possessing  complementary teaching skills cooperatively plan  and implement the instruction for a single group of students using flexible scheduling and grouping techniques to meet the particular instruction. The concept of co-operative planning is experienced to a large extent in team teaching. The minds of more than one teacher is considered better in team teaching. A democratic attitude is fully seen in team teaching.


·      Team teaching is basically a formal type of co-operative staff organisation.

·      In team teaching, a group of teachers  share the responsibility for planning, carrying out and evaluating a teaching programme.

·      Team teaching results in improved instruction.

·      Team teaching focuses on the best utilisation of available teacher expertise. 



·      To give the benefit of teaching to talented, gifted and superior teachers to a specific large group of students.

·      To improve the quality of instruction in making the best use of available resources and expertise of teachers.

·      To develop the feelings of co-operation or shared responsibility in the teaching-learning process.

·      To satisfy the needs of learners and institutions and removing the difficulties relating to the specific content area.



·      Quality of Instruction is enhanced.

·      Economical.

·      Exposure of group to more specialists.

·      Development of the professional status of the teacher.

·      Development of human relations.

·      Opportunity for free discussion.

·      Flexibility.



·      Lack of accommodation.

·      Lack of co-operation.

·      Delegation of power and responsibilities

·      Costly method.

·      Disregard to the dynamics of small group.

·      Lack of Research work.

·      Variations in the roles of teachers.

·      Diversification in the views of teachers.

·      Conflict between change and traditionalism.

·      Lack of flexibility in team teaching.


Shadow Teaching

The role of a shadow teacher is to support the student that needs Optimal Learning, OL, support, in his/her school academics by helping fill in the gaps in the learning process, to help the student build self-confidence as well as to promote positive interaction in the classroom by helping the student focus on important concepts, and over all help the student to develop academic and social skills.

The role of the shadow teacher is to provide additional support, throughout the school day, academically and psychologically, to those students enrolled in the Optimal Learning (OL) program that need this additional support.  The shadow teacher supports the student in many ways, including filling in the gaps that exist in the learning process, helping the student build self confidence, promoting interaction in the classroom, and ensuring the student stays focused in the classroom. The shadow teacher also helps the student be prepared and organized for class, helps the student with the approaches to learning and reminds him/her to be a responsible and committed student.

The student benefits from the shadow teacher because ….

The school benefits by the shadow teacher because there is a collaborative effort to meet the special needs of the particular student.

The parents benefit because they have daily communication with an adult who knows what is going on in school and what events are taking place. Additionally, the parents have a sense of safety and security for their child.

The role of the shadow teacher in the classroom is to help his/her student:

Every child is unique; therefore, the approach and teaching methods and techniques used by each shadow teacher with each specific student will differ.

Peer Tutoring

Peer tutoring in special education is a strategy where higher-performing students are paired with lower-performing students or students with disabilities to review or teach academic material. This strategy has been proven to help students on both sides master content and gain self-confidence in specific skills. Peer tutoring has been implemented with students of all ages and levels in all subject areas. Introducing a peer tutoring program to help students with disabilities and their typical peers may be an effective and efficient way to boost academic achievement. Teachers and administrators should consider the different ways to implement a program as well as the advantages and weaknesses as they determine whether a peer tutoring program would be a good fit in their schools and classrooms.


Peer tutoring in special education can be an effective teaching method for all students involved. Let's look at some of the specific advantages:


Although peer tutoring has many strengths, there are also challenges that should be considered. These include:

Cooperative Learning
There are several benefits of cooperative learning structures for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are more engaged in classroom activities where cooperative learning structures are in place compared to more traditional classroom interventions. Specifically, in inclusive classes that use cooperative learning, students articulate their thoughts more freely, receive confirming and constructive feedback, engage in questioning techniques, receive additional practice on skills, and have increased opportunities to respond. Further, when students are thinking aloud while discussing, teachers are better able to assess student and group needs and intervene if needed. That is, by actively monitoring students’ learning, teachers are able to redirect groups toward learning tasks and provide reteaching during mini-conferences as appropriate. When structures are in place for this level of dialogue to occur, it accelerates the comprehension process
Cooperative learning
 is an educational approach which aims to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning 
experiences. There is much more to Cooperative Learning than merely arranging students into groups, and it has been described as "structuring positive interdependence."Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward academic goals. Unlike individual learning, which can be competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively can capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.)


Formal cooperative learning is structured, facilitated, and monitored by the educator over time and is used to achieve group goals in task work (e.g. completing a unit). Any course material or assignment can be adapted to this type of learning, and groups can vary from 2-6 people with discussions lasting from a few minutes up to an entire period. Types of formal cooperative learning strategies include:

1.     The jigsaw technique

2.     Assignments that involve group problem solving and decision making

3.     Laboratory or experiment assignments

4.     Peer review work (e.g. editing writing assignments)


Cooperative Learning has many limitations that could cause the process to be more complicated than first perceived. Sharan (2010) describes the constant evolution of cooperative learning as a threat. Because cooperative learning is constantly changing, there is a possibility that teachers may become confused and lack complete understanding of the method. The fact that cooperative learning is such a dynamic practice means that it can not be used effectively in many situations. Also teachers can get into the habit of relying on cooperative learning as a way to keep students busy. While cooperative learning will consume time, the most effective application of cooperative learning hinges on an active instructor. Teachers implementing cooperative learning may also be challenged with resistance and hostility from students who believe that they are being held back by their slower teammates or by students who are less confident and feel that they are being ignored or demeaned by their team.

Students often provide feedback in the form of evaluations or reviews on success of the teamwork experienced during cooperative learning experiences. Peer review and evaluations may not reflect true experiences due to perceived competition among peers. Students might feel pressured into submitting inaccurate evaluations due to bullying. To eliminate such concerns, confidential evaluation processes may help to increase evaluation strength.


Positive Behavioural Intervention strategies

PBIS is a proactive approach schools use to improve school safety and promote positive behavior. The focus of PBIS is prevention, not punishment.

At its heart, PBIS calls on schools to teach students positive behavior strategies , just as they would teach about any other subject — like reading or math. In schools that use PBIS, all students learn about positive behavior. This includes kids with IEPs and 504 plans.

PBIS recognizes that students can only meet behavior expectations if they know what the expectations are. Everyone learns what’s considered appropriate behavior. And they use a common language to talk about it. Throughout the school day — in class, at lunch, and on the bus — students understand what’s expected of them.

According to research, PBIS leads to better student behavior. In many schools that use PBIS, students get fewer detentions and suspensions. They also earn better grades. There’s also some evidence that PBIS may lead to less bullying.

PBIS has several important guiding principles: 

·      Students can learn behavior expectations for different situations.

·      Schools teach expected behaviors through explicit instruction, with opportunities for students to practice behavior and get feedback.  

·      Stepping in early can prevent more serious behavior problems.

·      Each student is different, so schools need to give many kinds of behavior support.

·      How schools teach behavior should be based on research and science.

·      Tracking a student’s behavior progress is important.

·      Schools gather and use data to make decisions about behavior interventions.

·      School staff members are consistent in how they encourage expected behavior and discourage misbehavior.

Most PBIS programs set up three tiers of support for students and school staff.

·      Tier 1: Universal, schoolwide system for everyone. All students at the school learn basic behavior expectations, like respect and kindness. School staff recognize and praise students  for good behavior. Sometimes, they use small rewards, like tokens or prizes, to recognize kids.

·      Tier 2: Extra, targeted support for struggling students. Some kids have a harder time with behavior expectations. The school gives these kids evidence-based interventions and instruction. For example, some students may struggle with social interactions. A Tier 2 strategy might be providing Social Thinking support  to help them learn how to read and react to situations.

·      Tier 3: Intensive support for individual students. The third tier of PBIS is the most intensive. It’s for students who need individualized supports and services because of ongoing behavioral concerns.

Students with IEPs or 504 plans can be in any of the tiers. Schools that use PBIS must make sure that IEP teams are clear on how the tiers of PBIS overlap with IEPs and 504 plans. PBIS uses increasing levels of support for students. This is similar to other tiered approaches like response to intervention (RTI). 




2.4    Teaching strategies for individual with high support needs.


Throughout its history, IDEA has emphasized that to achieve FAPE, special education and related services should be provided that create equal opportunities for students with disabilities to benefit from their education and be sufficiently prepared for future education, employment, and independent living. As such, the law has consistently stated that special education is specially designed instruction to promote an equal opportunity for educational benefit for students with disabilities. The 1997 and 2004 Amendments to IDEA made clear that each student’s educational program, and resultant specially designed instruction, should be based upon two sources: (a) the general education curriculum, defined as the same curriculum as that provided to all other students; and (b) the student’s unique learning needs. The “access to the general education curriculum” mandates required that all students receiving special education services have the supports necessary for them to be involved with and progress in the general education curriculum as well as goals and modifications to address their unique learning needs. This represented a major shift in curricular focus, particularly for students with extensive and pervasive support needs, as historically the educational emphasis for these students was on unique learning needs and the application of a “functional curriculum”.

At School

Teachers surveyed by authors Hughes & Carter recommended the following instructional strategies for supporting students in inclusive classrooms:

At Home

Outside the classroom, kids should have plenty of chances to practice new skills across a variety of settings, tasks, and people. Parents, extended family members, and other adults can keep these teacher-recommended strategies in mind when supporting students at home and in the community.



2.5    Teaching strategies for teaching in inclusive schools - Universal design for learning and differentiated instruction.


Universal design for learning

The roots of UDL are found in early civil rights and special education legislation that emphasized the right of all students to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment (Hitchcock, Meyer, Rose, & Jackson, 2005). The UDL framework was conceived by researchers at the Center for Applied Special Technologies (CAST) in the late 1980s as the result of the alignment of three conceptual shifts: advancements in architectural design, developments in education technology, and discoveries from brain research.

Universal design. After the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the 1990s, schools and other public buildings were retrofitted with ramps and other architectural features to provide physical access. These changes were an expensive afterthought rather than proactive design. Leaders in the field of architecture suggested a more cost-effective strategy — designing the buildings from the beginning with flexible Universal Design principles in mind so that all users could have access.

Digitized text. At the same time, technological advances allowed alternatives to "one-size-fits-all" academic materials that used only one fixed medium — print. Access to computers was becoming more common in schools, and assistive technologies that allowed educators and students to manipulate text resulted in the availability of flexible instructional options. Now, text could be easily enlarged, simplified, summarized, highlighted, translated, converted to speech, graphically represented, and supported through accessible, digital materials.

Brain research on learning networks. Concurrently, brain imaging conducted while individuals were engaged in learning tasks (e.g., reading, writing) revealed three networks at work in the brain during learning: recognition network (the "what" of learning), strategic network (the "how" of learning), and affective network (the "why" of learning) (Rose & Meyer, 2002).

Influenced by architectural Universal Design principles, the accessibility and flexibility offered by digitized text, and the conceptualization of three learning networks, innovators at CAST developed what they called "Universal Design for Learning."

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) addresses this need. UDL is a framework that helps teachers design learning experiences that accommodate the varying level of skills and abilities among students and reduce the need for special adaptations for students with disabilities.

The UDL framework to maximize learning for all students is based on three defining principles. Each principle has an accompanying set of comprehensive guidelines explaining how to use resources and tools to improve learning. Educators can use each of these principles to make their presentation of information more accessible and appealing, increase student engagement in the classroom and develop inclusive evaluations and assessments.

·      Multiple means of representation: This principle encourages educators to present information in a variety of formats. The same concept could be presented in text, through images, through a video, via audio, or through hands-on activities. Learners may require assistive technologies and devices that aid learning—such as screen readers, automatic page turners, voice recognition programs, or closed captioning devices—to access this content.
Making information available in multiple formats is important because learners differ in how they perceive and understand the concepts presented to them. Learners with learning disabilities, sensory disabilities, or cultural and language differences may not benefit from a one-size-fits-all approach to content and may require different formats to suit their needs. There may be others who simply comprehend certain information more efficiently through auditory or visual means than through printed text. Multiple representations of a concept—known as dual coding—facilitates learning by allowing students to see connections within individual concepts and between different concepts.

·      Multiple means of action and expression: This principle helps educators provide students with a variety of ways to demonstrate what they’ve learned. Learners differ in how they navigate through learning environments and demonstrate what they know. For example, learners with significant locomotor disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, and those who experience language barriers might have different approaches to learning tasks. They may prefer to express what they know through written text, visual or oral presentation, or a group project.

·      Multiple means of engagement: This principle encourages educators to use different ways to motivate learners. Learners vary with regard to how they can be encouraged to learn. Some of the factors that influence individual variation in motivation include culture, neurology, personal relevance, and prior knowledge. For example, learners with dyslexia are generally able to understand concepts more quickly through experiential learning than through the use of printed texts. These students might be motivated to learn if the concepts are taught through activities that use kinesthetic skills, such as drama or role playing.
A single means of engagement does not suit all learners in every context. Some learners have a high preference for novelty and spontaneity, while other learners have a high preference for strict routine. Some learners prefer to work alone, while others prefer to work in groups.

The principles of UDL can be applied to a course's overall design as well as to the specific instructional strategies and materials used while teaching a course. The principles can be incorporated into lectures, group work, learning activities, field work, discussion, and demonstrations to make learning more accessible and more effective for all learners.

The four interrelated components of the UDL curriculum require further explanation.

The purpose of UDL implementation is to create expert learners — learners who can assess their own learning needs, monitor their own progress, and regulate and sustain their interest, effort, and persistence during a learning task. Many students learn within traditional classrooms with a traditional curriculum. However, most need supports and/or scaffolds to become expert learners.

Differentiated Instruction

Carol Ann Tomlinson is a leader in the area of differentiated learning and professor of educational leadership, foundations, and policy at the University of Virginia. Tomlinson describes differentiated instruction as factoring students’ individual learning styles and levels of readiness first before designing a lesson plan. Research on the effectiveness of differentiation shows this method benefits a wide range of students, from those with learning disabilities to those who are considered high ability.

Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students using a variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons at varying levels of difficulty based on the ability of each student.

Teachers who practice differentiation in the classroom may:

Teachers can differentiate at least four classroom elements based on student readiness, interest, or learning profile:


Examples of differentiating content at the elementary level include the following:

1.     Using reading materials at varying readability levels;

2.     Putting text materials on tape;

3.     Using spelling or vocabulary lists at readiness levels of students;

4.     Presenting ideas through both auditory and visual means;

5.     Using reading buddies; and

6.     Meeting with small groups to re-teach an idea or skill for struggling learners, or to extend the thinking or skills of advanced learners.


Examples of differentiating process or activities at the elementary level include the following:

1.     Using tiered activities through which all learners work with the same important understandings and skills, but proceed with different levels of support, challenge, or complexity;

2.     Providing interest centers that encourage students to explore subsets of the class topic of particular interest to them;

3.     Developing personal agendas (task lists written by the teacher and containing both in-common work for the whole class and work that addresses individual needs of learners) to be completed either during specified agenda time or as students complete other work early;

4.     Offering manipulatives or other hands-on supports for students who need them; and

5.     Varying the length of time a student may take to complete a task in order to provide additional support for a struggling learner or to encourage an advanced learner to pursue a topic in greater depth.


Examples of differentiating products at the elementary level include the following:

1.     Giving students options of how to express required learning (e.g., create a puppet show, write a letter, or develop a mural with labels);

2.     Using rubrics that match and extend students' varied skills levels;

3.     Allowing students to work alone or in small groups on their products; and

4.     Encouraging students to create their own product assignments as long as the assignments contain required elements.

Learning environment

Examples of differentiating learning environment at the elementary level include:

1.     Making sure there are places in the room to work quietly and without distraction, as well as places that invite student collaboration;

2.     Providing materials that reflect a variety of cultures and home settings;

3.     Setting out clear guidelines for independent work that matches individual needs;

4.     Developing routines that allow students to get help when teachers are busy with other students and cannot help them immediately; and

5.     Helping students understand that some learners need to move around to learn, while others do better sitting quietly (Tomlinson, 1995, 1999; Winebrenner, 1992, 1996).

UDL is an overarching approach focused on the inclusive design of the whole learning environment at the outset. UDL aims to ensure all students have full access to everything in the classroom, regardless of their needs and abilities. Student's supported to self-direct learning and monitor progress.

Differentiation is a strategy aimed at addressing each student’s individual levels of readiness, interest, and learning profiles. The teacher modifies content and processes to address the needs of each student. The teacher directs students to specific activties to further their learning.