Teaching option suggested for working with special students

Teaching assistants with specialized skills offer alternative

Re: Special needs need addressing (Our View, Sept. 24)

I agree with your article about the need for children with learning and behavioural needs requiring extra one-to-one assistance and that moving them out would not be the best solution. I would like to suggest another option that is a win-win for all involved.

If there was a classroom or two in each school dedicated to children with special needs, that was staffed by teacher assistants with specialized training on behaviour management and varied learning needs, the students would have a smaller class size with more one-to-one time.

Teacher assistants are often trained to teach in alternative styles to allow the child to learn in a nonconventional way and their pay is less than a teacher with a degree. Maybe their curriculum is met or they learn more of the things they “need to know to be an active community member.” The children would still be in the same school as their peers and would meet at recess and lunch breaks.

They could most likely join them for music, art, PE or other classes they are able to manage. Our children are all individuals and their learning needs all need to be met, whether they have “special” learning or behavioural needs, or are just struggling in math or reading.

They should all have individual education plans and bureaucracy or school board budgets shouldn’t interfere with their learning. Also, the government is obviously trying to force more families into the private schooling sector. Taxpayers buying into this and suggesting they shouldn’t have to pay school tax should look at the teacher their grandchild is learning from, or the nurse they will eventually come into contact with in their older years, and ask if education is important to them and the community in general?

Laura Johnson

Metchosin