Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Educational Needs: Strategies for the Regular Classroom

By Peter Westwood | Go to book overview

Introduction

This book is primarily about learning and teaching. The material comes from my own experience as a teacher and educational psychologist, but I have also drawn extensively on international literature covering classroom research and practice.

In this fourth edition of Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Educational Needs I have attempted to provide generic information and practical advice that can be applied in any country and under any education system. I have avoided, as far as possible, relating the content of the chapters closely to the special education administrative procedures, legal mandates, regulations, codes and terminology used in any one country. Where reference to a particular system has been necessary I have usually compared the situation under discussion to similar situations in other countries. Children with special needs, no matter where they are in the world, display remarkably similar learning characteristics and require almost identical forms of effective intervention. Similarly, it is my experience that high-quality teaching can be identified by a set of generic competencies applicable anywhere in the world. It is of great interest to me to know that earlier editions of my book have been translated into Japanese and Chinese languages, thus supporting my view that practical ideas have international relevance and appeal.

This edition has introduced for the first time two new chapters covering the learning characteristics and educational needs of students with intellectual, physical or sensory disabilities. I felt this to be necessary because over the past decade the movement towards 'non-categorical' discussion of special needs has gone too far, giving an impression that all students with disabilities are the same and have no unique features. While it is true that students with and without disabilities are more alike than they are different one from another, it is also true that specific disabilities or impairments often have implications for the effective teaching and management of the children concerned. I have tried to provide teachers with a basic understanding of these implications.

Chapters covering self-regulation in learning, social skills development and behaviour management have been expanded and updated. The main focus on teaching basic academic skills to children with special needs has been

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