Texas public schools are responsible for helping all students develop to their full potential. The content and structure of fine arts curricula provides opportunities to involve all students in the learning process, regardless of their language, cultural background, disabilities, or familiarity with course content. Classes can be structured to recognize and utilize students’ abilities, rather than emphasize their disabilities. Teachers can modify instructional methods, pacing, and materials to meet the individual needs of their students.
Teachers of students who receive special education services should participate in the development of each student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) and take part in student’s Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee meetings. Getting involved in IEP and ARD consultations allows educators share a student’s progress and achievements with parents and other teachers.
The following considerations and classroom strategies can help teachers modify their instruction for special education students:
- Students who receive special education services are not a homogeneous group. Each individual has unique strengths, needs, and interests.
- Despite the presence of disabilities, all students can learn skills in fine arts classes that enable them to participate more fully in school, recreation, and career preparation.
- Students with severe disabilities require the greatest support and individual attention. Fine arts teachers may rely on or consult with special education teachers, interpreters, mobility instructors, or instructional aides.
- Students with moderate disabilities may need to have materials and activities adapted to meet their individual strengths and needs.
- Some students may have disabilities that require only slight modifications in the classroom such as special seating or assistance with reading.
Adapting teaching methods/materials to individuals
The challenge of teaching a classroom of students with diverse, individual needs may be daunting. The following suggestions should help teachers gain the full participation of every learner:
- Align the content with the developmental level of the learner.
- Give instructions through several modalities (e.g., visual, aural).
- Summarize key content points before moving to new topics.
- Ask leading questions continually to encourage self-assessment.
- Establish a buddy system so that students help each other.
- Assign appropriate roles for cooperative learning activities.
- Use adaptive devices and technology.
- Provide directions and textbooks on tape or in braille/large print as necessary.
- Adjust pacing and time requirements for work completion.
- Allow students to demonstrate proficiency using their best means of expression.
Please see the Fine Arts for All Students document for more information.