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Members of the Ontario College of Teachers know:

-that teaching students with exceptionalities requires the use of specialized knowledge and skills.

A teacher with her professional knowledge and skills can diagnose a child with special needs. The teacher then takes appropriate actions to help the child. The specialized knowledge and skills are used by the teacher like modifying the program etc. to help such children. There was a discussion on the discussion forum where the students of this course discussed about what actions would they take if such a child is diagnosed in the classroom. I participated in the discussion too and here are my views:

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The diagnostic assessments are to determine the students’ level, prior knowledge, and learning styles. For example- after a diagnostic test teacher finds that a certain child shows poor spelling (not to the grade level), or weak vocabulary or poor computation ability. In such a case, some of the strategies that I would adopt are:

1) Accommodations will be done during the diagnostics to give him more time, doing the tests in a separate room etc. Some accommodations may help the student work differently to produce better results. In that case, the student will be provided with the accommodation in future assessment activities too.

2) The diagnostic test may be accommodated according to the learning style of the child and the result may be remarkably different this time. In that case, while planning a lesson/unit/assessment activity, the learning style of the student will be taken care of.

3) His portfolio, report card will be reviewed to see if the child was under an IEP the previous year too.

4) Parents and his last year’s teachers will be talked to.

5) The program may be modified for him, if necessary.

6) If required SERT or teacher assistant may be asked to help the student.

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Manoshi Chatterjee