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Disadvantages Within the Classroom for Individualized Instruction

written by: Natasha Stiller • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 9/11/2012

Should every child within a classroom receive individualized instruction? How do we as educators determine how much individual instruction is enough or too much and how will we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of this form of instruction?

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    In today’s world of education, we are constantly learning more information about students with sensory problems, hyper-activity disorders, and other ailments that inhibit the learning process for not only these students, but also for students around them. Educators find themselves at a loss at first of what to do to help these students, and with more time and research are able to locate specific tricks that work, and develop plans with others if needed, including Individual Learning plans based on their need, and instruction within the classroom.

    Often times, the first step in us determining what needs to be done is separating these children, keeping them closer to us so that we can keep their behaviors under closer control and stop any negative behaviors from happening. Educators often also spend quite a bit more time individually with these students to help them remain focused and understand what behavior is appropriate and inappropriate.

    While this has positive effects, the results are not always long-lasting, and other intervention methods will need to be introduced to the classroom for the benefit of all students. This generally depends on the severity of the issue at hand and the type of intervention that will work best in either continuing to have these students in a mainstream classroom, or if needed, placing them in a more appropriate learning atmosphere.

    There are several disadvantages to this individualized instruction. First, the time that you lose with the other students, can never be replaced. The other students might see that you are taking quite a bit more time dealing with certain behaviors (even if they aren’t done on purpose) with this other student and they can start to act out themselves in an attempt to have more time with their teacher. Control of the classroom can easily be lost if students try to model the student that is receiving individualized instruction.

    In addition, the student might rely on your individualized instruction, and they are unable to perform without the assistance of the educator by their side. This takes a long transition period to motivate students to participate in lessons or projects independently, even though this is the expectation we have of everyone else.

    Another disadvantage of individualized instruction amongst a classroom of individuals, is that if teachers modify instruction extremely throughout the classroom, students that are high achievers might not continue to have the same individualized instruction in the following year, leaving them reviewing information, or bored; which can then cause behavior issues. Not every educator places emphasis on each child’s learning performance and abilities.

    I believe individualized instruction should be made available to all students and equal time should be spent with each child to ensure that they are mastering material, understand what skills are being taught, so that as educators, we have a better gauge of where they are academically throughout the week, month, and year. Disadvantages do exist for any teaching methodology or practice. As educators, we need to weigh the pros and cons of how we approach individualized instruction and what works for the set of students we have in our classrooms.

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