Self-con­tained class­room in el­e­men­tary

Panay News - - MAJOR STORIES -  By Ber­nadette Villanueva,

SELF-CON­TAINED class­room refers to the one teacher per class­room teach­ing that is still pre-dom­i­nant in the coun­try.

But in other coun­tries this was seen or is also seen as one in which the stu­dents share sim­i­lar aca­demic re­quire­ments like all the gifted chil­dren in a school will be con­tained in the same class­room.

Some­times the chil­dren are all in the same grade level, but other times, par­tic­u­larly when there are a lim­ited num­ber of gifted chil­dren, the class­room may con­tain chil­dren span­ning more than one grade level, grades four through six, for ex­am­ple.

Hav­ing noted such, the self­con­tained type of class­rooms has a huge ben­e­fit to stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties. In the Philip­pines, we are yet to have a school that caters solely for stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties. This though was not pushed be­cause we do not want to iso­late chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties as spe­cial. There is a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion class but in the whole prov­ince for ex­am­ple, there is only one of which that is built.

The term more of­ten refers to stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties rather than stu­dents who are gifted or ad­vanced. They tend to be im­ple­mented for chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties who may not be able to par­tic­i­pate in gen­eral ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams at all. These can in­clude autism, at­ten­tion deficit dis­or­der (ADD), emo­tional dis­tur­bances, se­vere in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties, mul­ti­ple hand­i­caps and chil­dren with se­ri­ous or frag­ile med­i­cal con­di­tions.

For chil­dren with be­hav­ioral prob­lems or learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, the goal of a self-con­tained pro­gram is to in­crease the amount of time stu­dents spends in the tra­di­tional class­room en­vi­ron­ment. Of­ten stu­dents in self­con­tained pro­grams go to spe­cial in­struc­tion ar­eas such as art, mu­sic, phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion or hu­man­i­ties.

Depend­ing i f the pro­gram i s im­ple­mented part- time or full- day, it can have mixed suc­cess rates for stu­dents and es­pe­cially for teach­ers. As­sum­ing each child has his or her own in­di­vid­ual pro­gram for ed­u­ca­tion it can mean the teacher has to make sure to meet the re­quire­ments of each one as well as teach the stan­dard grade-level cur­ricu­lum.

Stu­dents who spend only part of their day in a self-con­tained class­room, also known as a ho­mo­ge­neous class­room, may strug­gle to keep up with the re­quire­ments of the stan­dard cur­ricu­lum. As al­ready men­tioned ear­lier, stu­dents may feel them­selves stig­ma­tized so­cially if they have to go to a “spe­cial” class ev­ery day, even if that class is for gifted stu­dents.

Like­wise, gifted stu­dents may come to be­lieve that they are some­how bet­ter than their class­mates be­cause of the ex­tra at­ten­tion. It is in­cum­bent upon school dis­tricts and in­struc­tors to in­te­grate any self-con­tained pro­grams in a sen­si­tive way. But for stu­dents with se­vere learn­ing or be­hav­ioral prob­lems, the pre­sum­ably smaller class size may prove ben­e­fi­cial and al­low for more one-on-one at­ten­tion from a teacher.

In re­cent decades, pub­lic schools find them­selves fac­ing the greater needs of di­verse stu­dent pop­u­la­tions, with vary­ing cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, ma­tu­rity lev­els, and aca­demic strengths and weak­nesses. While most typ­i­cal el­e­men­tary, mid­dle, and high school stu­dents find them­selves im­mersed in a class­room of 20 to 30 peers with one lead teacher, most pub­lic schools also have “self- con­tained” class­rooms to pro­vide al­ter­na­tive set­tings for en­hanced aca­demic sup­port for the chil­dren whose needs can­not be fully me tina gen­eral ed­u­ca­tion class­room.

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