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Advantages and Disadvantages of Various Curricular-Content Approaches in Resource Classrooms

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

The question of which content should be taught in resource rooms has remained a hotly debated issue over the years. Some practitioners stress tutoring students with learning disabilities in subject matter content from the general education (e.g., US history or language arts), while others stress only remediation in basic skills (e.g., reading or math). Others feel that students with disabilities should receive a functional life-skills curriculum, with an emphasis on things like making job applications, balancing checkbooks, and so on. The table below lists the advantages and criticisms of each of these curricular approaches.

Type of Approach Advantages Disadvantages
Basic-skills remediation
  1. Stresses basic reading and math
  2. Emphasizes only skills necessary for school and life success
  3. Easily modeled on elementary curriculum
  1. Turns the special educator into a basic-skills tutor
  2. No difference between special class and reading/tutoring programs
Tutorial subject matter
  1. Complements the regular education class curriculum rather than just basic-skills areas
  2. General education teachers appreciate the help
  1. Forces special educators to teach subjects in which they are uncertified
  2. Attends to state graduation requirements more than child's needs
Functional skills
  1. Stresses life-survival skills (checkbook skills, job forms, etc.)
  2. Requires mastery of essential skills and provides the time to master them
  1. Is a pessimistic view of the child's learning potential
  2. Presents little opportunity for learning of many important topics
Learning strategies
  1. Provides students who have learning disabilities with a set of cognitive strategies that can be used in all subjects
  2. Research evidence indicates substantive support for the work
  1. Time to teach the strategies must be taken from academic work
  2. General education teacher may not follow up on strategy usage
  3. Implementation usually requires attendance in a strategy workshop by the learning disabilities teacher
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