Differentiation in the Humanities

This post sees us looking at the same student (a year ten geography student) from the previous post, however in this instance we will be looking at catering for the student’s needs in terms of adapting classroom practices for intellectual disability of numeracy and literacy along with responsibilities of the teacher in regards to legislation involving catering for diverse needs of students with intellectual disabilities. The following is the case study we will be exploring:

  • Student performs below National Minimum Standard (NMS) in all aspects of NAPLAN
  • Student is achieving below a ‘C’ standard in all subjects except HPE
  • Student attends school-based tutoring/homework club two afternoons a week
  • The parent makes regular contact with the school to track progress and seek strategies to support at home
  • The student lacks confidence in higher order thinking tasks, and prefers comprehension and understanding activities
  • The student is especially hesitant in writing extended pieces, although often has good ideas for what could be included

To begin, we must look into what legislative documents were not followed within the case study. We can be safe to assume that minimal adjustments to the student’s in class work have been made and the student’s assessment is identical to that of other students. The Queensland government legislative requirement of ‘Reasonable adjustments’ decrees that students are;

able to participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disability.’
(“Reasonable adjustments“, 2016).

In regards to what a teacher should do within this situation or any involving a disabled student is simple, all teachers must follow all legislation in regards to catering to students with any form of disability, whether this be intellectual or physical. Which is stated within the ‘Reasonable adjustments’ section of the disability policy from the Queensland Government. (“Reasonable adjustments“, 2016).

How might we then cater for this student? First we must decide on actions to be taken. The following image (“Curriculum Modifications and Adaptations”, 1999) shows the decision making process for students with disabilities or for gifted and talented students.
(“Curriculum Modifications and Adaptations”, 1999)

Let’s create a sample for the student in the case study:

  • Step 1: Allow the student to complete in class activities to the best of their ability.
  • Step 2: Sit down with the student and create a list of expectations that both the teacher and student will follow to achieve the student’s goals.
  • Step 3: Discuss with the student what is being taught that unit or week, this may be done with the parents through simplified handouts.
  • Step 4: Discuss either individually or in conjunction with the student and/ or teachers the best approach to relaying information to the student and how best to monitor the learnt knowledge and understanding of the student through various activities. Examples may be determining the student preferred learning style, example through visual representation.
  • Step 5: Decide on an appropriate adaptation to the class work, example ‘employ student-specific teaching strategies’.
  • Step 6: Identify with the student whether the adaptation has been successful through activity results and verbal feedback.
  • Step 7: Critically reflect on how effective the adaptation was through analysis of the student’s activities, homework or formative assessment.

Through these steps the student should be catered for in terms of a reasonable adaptation to the in class learning and activities to better their results within the classroom to the best of their ability.



Curriculum Modifications and Adaptations. (1999). http://www.spannj.org/. Retrieved 30 August 2016, from http://www.spannj.org/pti/Curriculum_Modifications_and_Adaptations.pdf

Reasonable adjustments. (2016). Education.qld.gov.au. Retrieved 30 August 2016, from http://www.education.qld.gov.au/schools/disability/reasonable-adjustments.html












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