Once students' skills have been assessed and objectives have been set, teachers should use the student data that has been gathered to plan for instruction. The first thing is to group students according to their educational needs. Setting goals for each student and identify students that may need more intensive instruction. Setting goals for instruction helps the teacher know where he or she is going. Some of the questions a teacher should ask themselves as they write goals are;
- Have I considered the needs of the student?
- Have I taken into account my beliefs and attitudes?
- Have I involved the student in setting the goals?
- Have I set realistic and challenging goals?
Grouping - Due to the large range of abilities and interests among special education students, grouping the students according to their needs is an effective strategy for instructing disabled students.
Adaptations - The goal is to ensure that all students participate to the maximum extent possible in classroom activities. It shows the care a teacher has for each individual student. Adaptations include;
- Instructional design - Examples would be accessing resources, collaboration and integrating technology.
- Making learning explicit by using clear, simple language, scaffolding and providing different ways of demonstrating learning.
- Behavior Management - teaching students acceptable behavior, being consistent, having routines, and engaging.
Scaffolding - This is also an effective strategy for instructing disabled students. This is simply adjusting and extending instruction so that the student is challenged and better able to develop new skills. A teacher can scaffold by manipulating the task at hand, materials, the group size, pace, presentation and so on. An example would be students with reading difficulties often do not infer the thought processes that good readers use, so a teacher should model strategies and guide students through the new task and assist them in acquiring the new skill without frustration.
Time Management - As one of the most powerful strategies in educating disabled students, teachers should avoid wasting time and should carefully decide how much time to give to each activity or concept. An example would be a few students in a teacher's class are struggling with capitalizing proper nouns. A teacher could probably spend 10 minutes with these students providing direct instruction on the rules of capitalization. The teacher can check for understanding by asking the students to think aloud about why some nouns were or were not capitalized and based on their responses. She can then modify instruction and make sure she is using time effectively.