Education and special educational needs: pay attention to diversity

initially, special schools were seen as “tailor’s drawers” where there were pupils of a very diverse nature who could not be followed in the ordinary school. Thus, the use of the term “special schools” fell into disuse, the connotation was linked to a categorical and watertight conceptualization of classification and / or segregation, to switch to the use of the concept of “special educational needs. ” (BORN).

This phenomenon understands the situation of the pupil as a dynamic and interactive learning process, to which the school must adapt the lessons to the individual characteristics of the pupil (capacities, limits, rates of learning, etc.). With this change, students with special educational needs it is housed in the regular classroom and integrates with other students in order to improve their personal and intellectual development.

    Special educational needs

    The first contributions to the conceptualization of SEN were not made until the 1960s, although it was in 1974 that Mary Warnok published a report on the state of special education in Britain. This fact was the trigger for the application of the first measures in the education system on a global scale, mainly:

    Teacher training and development

    This was done in the sense of orienting this group towards greater competition and specific knowledge of the concept of special education and the implications of its application. The initiative aimed to provide all teachers with a set of official one-year qualifications and an additional economic incentive.

    Anticipation of special educational intervention

    More specifically, among SEN students under five, increase the total number of preschools and nursery schools for children with more serious academic difficulties.

    The extension of the field of action

    He went to work too with pupils with BEP aged between sixteen and nineteen once compulsory schooling is over, in order to offer them the corresponding help and guidance in order to consolidate greater social and economic integration into adulthood.

      Educational inclusion

      The concept of “integration”, which initially meant a very significant advance in terms of taking charge of all SEN pupils, subsequently lost its nascent essence. Thus, this phenomenon began to be linked to the segregation and alienation of schoolchildren. with learning difficulties or some kind of physical or mental impairment with regard to children without these characteristics.

      In this way, the integration process was understood as a type of differential education, where the educational program was applied in a singular way. The result was again and paradoxically a distance between the two classes of students.

      Contrary to the above, the term “inclusion” replaces the previous one, definitively giving the meaning that it initially intended to give to the previous nomenclature. Inclusion manages to disintegrate the individualistic and perniciously taxonomic vision to achieve the priority objective of provide quality and equal education to all studentsWhether he has a deficit or a limitation.

      In order to unify both the aspects relating to the school environment and those corresponding to the community space in a global way for each pupil, this methodological and conceptual change is made.

      In inclusive education, each student is accepted and valued by their particularities, circumstances and capacities, and also offers them the same learning opportunities and supports necessary to boost their development to the maximum qualitative level.

      This new model is therefore limited to a more cooperative field, to the detriment of the competitiveness of the integration stage.

        Principles of attention to diversity

        Attention to diversity is defined as a new way of understanding education, which is based on the principles of:

        Quality education

        In other words, the guarantee of providing equal educational opportunities to all students at the same time assumed the existence of diversity in this group, Which is inherent and natural to human beings.

        The shared effort

        Refers to ‘ atmosphere of collaboration and engagement among the parties that make up the educational community.

        European educational area converge

        In this context set and agree common goals within the education system.

        In this conception, the law on “equity in education” is proposed, which aims to provide BEP students with a series of supports of different types that guarantee a quality educational learning process. These aids refer both to the material and personal resources granted to the centers and to the families, to the development of specific educational programs and to the flexibility at each stage of the education system.

        The ultimate goal of this proposal is to show a greater personalization in the teaching process adapted to the particularities of each student.

        Educational intervention in the attention to diversity

        In order to achieve the goal of inclusive education and to follow the principles of attention to diversity, in the field of educational psychology, the following strategies are proposed to be applied in the context of the classroom:

        Work in pairs or in small groups

        This resource has the advantage of encouraging both peer interaction and the sharing of joint experiences, as well as allowing contributions from one particular student to complement offerings for another, so that a greater enrichment during learning.

        Consideration must be given to the potential effect of “deficit settlement” that the most limited students may have. in the event that the teacher’s requirement is not fair for all students in the same way.

        Work in the corners

        The division of the class into different stations or learning corners allows a greater dynamization and an active participation in the learning process since all the students go through all the stations, the activities to be carried out have been prepared selectively by the teacher previously.

        Flexible groups

        The fact of making partitions of the class groups according to the pedagogical needs, the level / speed of learning or the particularities of each student allows a greater use and a greater personalization of the teaching.

        A negative aspect in the application of this resource is the possible appearance of comparative attitudes regarding the characteristics of other classmates belonging to a different subgroup.


        In this case, working groups are formed according to the interests and concerns of the students. This resource has the advantage of being motivating for children, even if it must ensure that at one time or another, everyone has to do all the workshops in order to ensure a more complete learning.

        In this methodology, the teacher acts as a guide, So that the expression of creativity, initiative and greater work autonomy are encouraged.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Cabrerizo, D. and Ros Ma J. (2007). Pay attention to diversity: theory and practice. Madrid: Pearson Education.
        • Marchesi, A .; Coll, C. and Palacios, J. (1991). Psychological development and education. Madrid: Alliance.
        • Tilstone, C., Florian, L. and Rose, R. (2003). Promotion and development of inclusive educational practices. Madrid: EOS.

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