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Teaching and Special Educational Needs: attention to diversity

Teaching and Special Educational Needs: attention to diversity

July 19, 2024

Initially, the special schools were considered "tailor's boxes" where there were students of very diverse nature who could not be attended to in the ordinary school. Thus, the use of the term "special schools", whose connotation was linked to a categorical and stagnant conceptualization with a classification and / or segregating purpose, to use the concept of "special educational needs" (SEN) fell into disuse.

This phenomenon understands the student's circumstances as a dynamic and interactive learning process, to which the school must adapt the teachings to the individual characteristics of the student (abilities, limitations, learning rhythms, etc.). With this change, students with Special Educational Needs is welcomed into the ordinary classroom and is integrated with the rest of the school in order to enhance their personal and intellectual development.


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The Special Educational Needs

The first contributions in the conceptualization of the SEN were not made until the last decade of the sixties, although it was in 1974 when Mary Warnok published a report on the state of Special Education in Great Britain. This fact was the trigger for the application of some first measures in the education system at a global level, mainly:

The training and improvement of the teaching staff

This was done in the sense of guiding this group to obtain greater competition and Specific knowledge about the concept of Special Education and the implications of its application. The initiative aimed to provide the group of teachers with a series of official qualifications of one year and an incentive at a complementary economic level.


The anticipation of the special educational intervention

Specifically, in students with SEN under five years, increasing the total of nursery schools for children with more acute educational difficulties.

The extension of the range of action

He went to work also with students with SEN between sixteen and nineteen years once compulsory schooling is completed in order to offer them the corresponding aids and orientations in order to consolidate greater social and economic integration in adult life.

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Educational inclusion

The concept of "integration", which initially represented a very significant advance in terms of attention to the group of students with SEN, was subsequently losing its incipient essence. Thus, this phenomenon began to be linked to the segregation and the distancing of schoolchildren with learning difficulties or some kind of physical or psychological decline Regarding children without these characteristics.


In this way, the integration process was understood as a type of differential education, where the educational curriculum was applied singularly . The result was again and paradoxically a distancing between the two classes of students.

In contrast to the above, the term "inclusion" replaces the previous one, granting definitively the meaning that originally intended to be given to the previous nomenclature. Inclusion succeeds in disintegrating the individualistic and perniciously taxonomic vision to achieve the priority objective of offer a quality and equal education for all students , regardless of whether it has a deficit or limitation.

In order to unify both the aspects related to the school environment and those corresponding to the community area in a global way for each student, this methodological and conceptual change is made.

In inclusive education each student is accepted and valued for their particularities, circumstances and abilities, and they are offered equally the same learning opportunities and the necessary support to enhance their development at the highest qualitative level.

This new model, therefore, is circumscribed in a more cooperative environment, to the detriment of the competitiveness more typical of the integration stage.

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Principles of attention to diversity

Attention to diversity is defined as a new way of understanding education, which is based on the principles of:

Quality education

That is, the guarantee of offering equal educational opportunities to the whole of all students once assumed the existence of diversity in this collective , which is inherent and natural in the human being.

The shared effort

It refers to Collaboration and commitment environment between the parties that make up the educational community.

European educational space convergent

In this context establish shared objectives and agree within the educational system.

Under this conception the Law of "Equity in Education" is proposed, which aims to provide students with SEN a series of supports of various kinds to ensure a quality educational learning process. These aids refer both to material and personal resources granted to centers and families, to the elaboration of specific educational programs and to the flexibility in each one of the stages of the educational system.

The ultimate goal of this proposal is to show greater personalization in the teaching process adapted to the particularities of each school.

Pedagogical intervention in attention to diversity

In order to achieve the objective of inclusive education and follow the principles of attention to diversity, from the field of psycho-pedagogy the following strategies are proposed to be applied in the classroom context:

Work in pairs or small groups

This resource has the advantage of promoting both interaction between equals and the sharing of joint experiences, as well as allowing the contributions of a particular student to complement those offered by another, in such a way that greater enrichment is achieved during learning .

The possible effect of "settling on the deficit" that can be presented by the most limited students must be taken into account in the case that the requirement by the teacher is not fair for all students equally.

Work in corners

The division of the classroom into different stations or corners of learning allows a greater dynamisation and active participation of the learning process since all the students pass through all the stations, whose activities to be carried out have been selectively prepared by the teacher Previously.

Flexible groups

The fact of making partitions of the class groups according to the educational needs, level / speed of learning or the particularities of each student allows a greater use and a greater personalization of the teaching.

A negative aspect in the application of this resource is the possible appearance of Comparative attitudes regarding the characteristics of other classmates belonging to a different subgroup.

The workshops

In this case, the working groups are formed based on the interests and concerns of the students . This resource has the advantage of being a motivator for children, although it must be ensured that at one time or another, everyone must complete all the workshops in order to ensure a more complete learning.

In this methodology, the teacher acts as a guide , which encourages the expression of creativity, initiation and greater autonomy of work.

Bibliographic references:

  • Cabrerizo, D. and Rubio Ma J. (2007). Attention to diversity: Theory and Practice. Madrid: Pearson Education.
  • Marchesi, A .; Coll, C. and Palacios, J. (1991). Psychological development and education. Madrid: Alliance.
  • Tilstone, C., Florian, L. and Rose, R. (2003). Promotion and development of inclusive educational practices. Madrid: EOS.

Racial Disproportionality in Special Education (July 2024).


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