There is a powerful shift taking place in education that is redefining our view of students with special educational needs (SEN). Rather than focusing solely on challenges, educators increasingly recognize the remarkable strengths and unique abilities that diverse learners bring to the educational environment. This shift in focus successfully replaces the perspective of ‘needs’ with ‘abilities’, revealing the true nature of SEN.

Unique Strengths

Within the spectrum of special educational needs are exceptional talents and abilities. Some individuals have remarkable abilities in specific areas such as mathematics, coding, artistic endeavours or memorisation. Recognising and nurturing these talents not only empowers pupils but also enables them to excel academically.

As an example, we would like to bring up the examples of a few JDJ IOS students with pedagogical opinions regarding the need for adapted learning.

β€œI always struggled to concentrate in a large group of people, even if the only sound was writing and the rustling of papers. I couldn’t pay attention to anything else. When I moved to JDJ International Open Schools, I immediately noticed that when I work alone, everything goes faster for me.”

~ a student with ADHD

β€œIn the past, the pace of the lessons mostly excluded me from participating. I’ve been working with dyslexia for many years and I’m a good listener, which didn’t matter much when we had to do tasks that involved working with the text in silence. At this school I can listen to podcasts and record my answers so I don’t have to rely on reading and writing alone. I am currently an A+ student.”

~ dyslexic student of 10th grade

These examples clearly show that an emphasis on individualised learning increases students’ motivation to learn and allows them to grow. The problems they identify are universal and are not related to any particular social group but to the lack of differentiated teaching methods and a holistic approach to education. Students with special educational needs have the power to make a difference in this regard, as they bring a unique perspective to their educational environment. Their experiences could foster a more compassionate community and encourage the development of collaborative and supportive networks.

Equal to Each Other

If they need different teaching methods, does that mean they are privileged in the education system?

Most students (SEN or not) are not aware of their learning style preferences. In most cases, it is only when serious barriers arise that students are willing to seek a diagnosis and try to identify the cause of the situation. Given many factors such as routine, potential or environment, mainstream students do not consider whether, if they were elsewhere, they would be labelled ‘special’ because their preferences would not fit in with the place and its standards.

Reframing the narrative around special educational needs is a much-needed reflection on teaching methodology before taking a decisive step towards inclusivity. By embracing and celebrating the unique qualities that SEN students bring, we will not only create a more supportive educational environment but also pave the way for a society that values diversity, encourages innovation and thrives on the strengths of each individual.

If you want to disco

ver a world of online learning opportunities tailored to modern standards and diverse needs, choose from one of the many programs JDJ International Open Schools has to offer.

 

🌐✨Author: 

Marta Budner

Student Coordinator

JDJ International Open SchoolsΒ 

E-mail: m.budner@jdj-ios.com

 

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