Case Study 4: Student D

“D.” is a 5-year-old student and according to observations, controlling emotions is a difficult skill to achieve. When peers are, from “D.”s perspective, being mean, the first reaction of the child is to be angry and offended, which later on results in tears.

Today, during recess, “D.” and “Z.” had a fight on the playground and “D.”s reaction was to hit the other student’s face with a shovel, that led to “Z.”s nose bleeding. Once the students came back to the classroom “D.” started to cry, approached the student-teacher and genuinely asked: “what is wrong with me? Everyone hates me and makes me so angry. Only my parents do not make me feel like this. I wish I could be normal like the others.”


Reflection Questions

  • If you were in the student-teacher’s shoes what would you respond to the student?
  • How would you react to the violent acts of the student?
  • How do you help the student to deal with their anger?
  • What strategies could you implement in the classroom to the well-being of all students?
  • How can you include “D.” in the classroom?
  • Which learning barriers do you think the student could be facing?

While reflecting on this case study and the learning barriers previously analysed, it could be possible that “D.” is facing an emotional learning barrier. This can be seen as it seems that the student is externalising their emotional response with aggressive behaviour towards their classmates (Bowie, 2010). This emotional response could be directly influenced by the external factors that the student is surrounded by, in particular being the social interaction with peers (Pekrun & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2014). It leads to the question if this emotional barrier is a result of a previous social barrier that “D.” is experiencing in their classroom environment. As a consequence, some strategies for emotion regulation could be implemented in the classroom as a whole, and on an individual level to support the inclusion of “D.”

Tier 3 – Individual support: Dialoguing with children and regular check-ins through reflection

Dialoguing: Talking with children about emotions and their regulation in the format of a dialogue rather than just stating rules on telling them what to do, could be more powerful.
Use words that are already familiar to students and encourage them to think and share their own ideas on how to manage their personal and interpersonal situations. At the same time, it is beneficial to guide the children to evaluate their solutions to conflict or difficulties in terms of the consequences that might result if the solution were to be tried out (Macklem, 2010).

The questions that the teacher can use to support this dialogue might consist of somewhat open-ended questioning. You can ask questions such as (Macklem, 2010, p. 129):

  • ‘‘Do you know why this is happening?’’
  • ‘‘How can you find out?’’
  • ‘‘How did it make you feel when. . .?’’
  • ‘‘How do you think __feels when. . .?’’
  • ‘‘What might happen if . . .?’’
  • ‘‘Can you think of a way to. . .?’’
  • ‘‘That’s one way or one idea, can you think of another. . .?’’

In the case of “D.”, this type of strategy could be used to get to the root of the child’s feelings and response to these feelings. By guiding the child with open-ended questions towards understanding their personal actions, could lead the child to understand that we all have emotions to learn to deal with our emotions.

Check-ins: In order to regulate emotions and therefore self-monitor, a student must be able to recognise when the behaviour is inappropriate or harming. A teacher can help students with this process by offering ways to reflect and evaluate their behaviour throughout the day
(Minahan, 2016).

According to Minahan (2016), this type of check-ins through reflection could be done with the help of the teacher. At the end of each day, the teacher can meet with the student and briefly talk about their behaviour or emotional state during the day. These conversations are an opportunity to encourage the student and give feedback, so that the students can evaluate their emotions and behaviour. Many students need help for this evaluation until, developmentally, they are able to learn to reflect on the way they feel.
During these conversations, the teacher should be non-judgemental and can guide the student towards understanding what is appropriate behaviour and what is not.
For instance, “Remember how you threw a pencil when you were frustrated? What could you do next time?”For students facing challenges like “D.”, it could be a great opportunity to learn to reflect upon how they feel and evaluate their emotional state to then be able to take actions that do not harm anyone else.

Tier 2 – Small groups: Help students establish positive peer relationships

According to Henley and Long (2003), the peers surrounding individual children are crucial to their emotional development. Positive peer relationships promote self-confidence, encourage tolerance of others, and help students to build effective interpersonal skills. Whilst peer relationships are negative, it could result in a feeling of exclusion and therefore aggressive behaviour, negative feelings and poor self-esteem.
Positive peer relationships also contribute towards empathy and a more personal understanding between the students.

Teachers can enhance peer relationships by structuring their lessons in ways that foster a sense of classroom community. Some of the examples could be cooperative learning strategies or peer tutoring.These structured student interactions help to prevent negative effects of already established friend groups in the class while promoting the notion that everyone has something useful to contribute (Henley and Long, 2003).

Whilst referring back to the situation of “D.”, fostering such lessons where positive peer interaction is encouraged could help “D.” to feel more included and valued in the classroom. It also contributes to better peer understanding of what the child could be going through.

Tier 1 – Whole classroom: Teach emotion management skills through mindfulness

Teachers who recognise that misbehaviour always has a reason are more likely to avoid impulsive reactions that students could have. This could be done by teaching students as a whole class to reflect on their actions and use more constructive ways of managing their emotions. It would not only lead the students to take steps towards managing their own emotions but to also understand the emotions of others (Henley and Long, 2003).

Management of emotions could be taught to children as a whole class activity through mindful practices. One of the examples could be the implementation of a mindful minute at some point of the day or lesson to enable the students to reflect on how they feel and why they feel that way. Ask the students to close their eyes and take a few breaths. They can put their attention to breathing or to a guiding question announced by the teacher, such as: “How did the situation on the playground between X and Y, make you feel?” (Ackerman, 2020).


For students like “D.”, this could be a time in the day where they are able to ground, understand how they are feeling, and an opportunity to learn how to manage their emotions.

Additional resources

Case Study 5: Student E

“E.” is a 12-year-old student from Indonesia who goes to a local primary school there. The student-teacher, from the Netherlands, was giving English support lessons to students aged between 4 and 12. The class consisted of 43 students.

After a week of teaching the class, “E.” stopped talking to the student-teacher. The student was mad about something but would not say a word when the student-teacher tried talking to them. The student-teacher had a local teaching assistant who was able to help the student-teacher translate and communicate with “E.”. The teaching assistant also explained to the student-teacher that it is inappropriate to mix yourself into an issue. The teaching assistant talked to “E.” which did not seem to help.

There were 42 other children in the class for the student-teacher to take care of. The problem with “E.” never got solved. The week after, “E.” came to class as if nothing had happened. The student-teacher tried talking to “E.” again but they replied they did not know what the student-teacher was talking about.

Reflection questions

  • If you would be in the shoes of the student-teacher what actions would you take?  – we need more info about this case study.
  • Why do you think the teacher assistant told the student-teacher that it was inappropriate to mix yourself into an issue?
  • Why do you think the student refused to talk to the student-teacher?
  • Do you think that the classroom environment could influence the behaviour of the student?
  • What kind of learning barriers are the students facing in the classroom?
  • What kind of learning barriers is “E.” facing in the classroom?

In this case study, the authors have identified a prospective cultural learning barrier. This identification is based on the fact that there seems to be a miscommunication between the student and the student-teacher due to a lack of communication, based on cultural differences. This could be confirmed by the response to the situation by the teacher assistant. As Nunez, Nunez Mahdi, and Pompa (2017) outline, in cultural situations, a variety of perspectives can occur due to how people perceive the situations around them. This could be a cultural barrier for the student-teacher that was projected on the behaviour of “E.” On the other hand, this situation could also occur due to language (the student-teacher and “E.” speak different languages), environmental (classroom size and teacher-student ratio), or emotional (the emotional state of “E.”) barriers that the child is facing in general, and expressed in this way.

This brings up the question on how to deal with cultural barriers within the classroom for both the teacher and students to make sure that everyone is included on a general and personal level. The following strategies could be integrated:

Tier 3 – Individual support: Becoming culturally sensitive/aware

According to Nunez et al. (2017), people are not always aware of the impact culture can have on their communication and their perception of the world, that leads to misunderstandings and cultural learning barriers. Becoming culturally sensitive will bring people to look at different cultures from their cultural frame of reference, and will be able to adjust their behaviour in order to create harmony and make everyone feel included.

It is understandable that the student-teacher in question aimed to help and understand “E.”, but in this specific case, “E.” did not perceive it as help, however rather felt provoked by it. The student-teacher should not take the situation personally, but rather understand why the help was not appreciated.

Because of the interconnection of the various countries and blending of cultures in today’s world, the teacher should gain information about the students regarding their linguistic and cultural background. Having a better understanding on the students’ image will help the teacher develop a stronger connection with the students (TESOL, 2020)

Smyser (2020) suggests a variety of questions that could help the teacher reflect and understand better the students’ background. Some of the questions are the following:

  • Where are my learners from?
  • Why do they want or need to learn English?
  • What are their first languages?
  • Which cultures do they belong to and identify with?
  • What do they expect to see in a typical language lesson?
  • What kind of relationship do they expect between themselves and each other?
  • What kind of relationship do they expect between themselves and me?
  • What kind of relationship do I expect between my students and me?
Tier 2 – Small groups: What does the image tell you?

According to Berberi (2003), understanding culture can happen through the study of texts and language, but analysing images can also develop a deeper understanding and meaning of a culture.

In a primary school setting, engaging with images creates opportunities to make connections between the real-world and personal experiences. Furthermore, the observers (students) are engaged intellectually and emotionally, developing imagination and reasoning skills (Mantei & Kervin, 2014).

Mantei and Kervin (2014) explain that a supportive and meaningful environment can be developed through the connection students make between the world and images.

The case study previously analysed, being a large classroom with students varying from 4 to 12 years old, can benefit from creating groups according to their English proficiency. Even though the age gap could be evident, the differences in views create a more engaging and open-minded environment, where unique interpretations can be understood and respected (Pantaleo & Sipe, 2008; Mantei & Kervin, 2014). When each group is looking at the set of images they have, some questions can be further analysed according to their ability, for instance:

  • What do you see in this image?
  • What is happening in this image?
  • What are people doing in this image?
  • Can you tell where this picture was taken?
  • How do you feel when seeing the picture?
  • How do you think the people in the picture feel?
Tier 1 – Whole classroom: Express interest in students’ backgrounds

The international teacher should be aware of the multicultural diversity at different levels present in their classroom. At the same time, the teacher should be able to encourage the students to respect this multicultural environment and inclusion of all. Gudling, Hogan and Cvitkovich (2011) state that becoming culturally aware of one’s own cultural norms and of other’s cultural norms is the initial step toward understanding the differences among cultures and being able to use one’s own understanding to better communicate and interact within a new culture.

See the Chapter on Culturally Responsive Teaching for more details.

Additional Resources

Case Study 6: Student G

“G.” is a 4-year-old student from Russia attending an international preschool. In the classroom there happens to be another 5-year-old student, “T.” that is also from Russia.

During recess, “G.” and “T.” were on the playground. The student-teacher observed them playing and noticed that “T.” appeared to be bullying “G.” They were talking Russian to each other. “G.” could not explain to the student-teacher what was happening due to a lack of English proficiency. The student-teacher saw how “G.” took a toy and started hitting themself with it. When asked, “T.” refused that they were bullying “G.”

Reflection questions

  • Why do you think “G.” was harming themself?
  • Why do you think “T.” was bullying “G.”?
  • Do you actually think “T.” was bullying “G.”? Could there be a cultural misunderstanding from the side of the student-teacher?
  • Do you think that this happened because of the fact that “G.” does not speak English?
  • Do you think it would have been easier to understand the situation if “G.” could explain the situation?
  • What kind of learning barriers do you think “G.” is facing?

Whilst reflecting on this case study, the authors outlined a conceivable mental barrier connected to the situation of the child harming themself. The self-harm reaction could be based on the incident that “G.” had with “T.” and perceived as a mental coping mechanism against the adversity experienced (MHF, 2018). Due to “G.” being very young, the child might not be aware of their actions and the reasons behind them. However, an important aspect in this situation is the perception of the student-teacher, and the underlying cultural and language implications. The child being very young, and the cultural implication very high, it is difficult to judge that this situation is the result of a mental barrier. However, it is crucial to make sure that each child feels included in the classroom and that their mental needs are acknowledged in an open and deliberate way. The following strategies could be implemented in personal and group settings:

Tier 3 – Individual support: Observing and talking to the child

Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Well-being (2013) is designed to provide educators with information on the early signs of mental health challenges: one of the first steps towards supporting the child’s mental health is talking about it with the child. Teachers can notice warning signs whilst observing children’s interactions, their behaviour, and their academic performance. Teachers are important mentors in the lives of their students and may be a supportive adult to whom students can turn to when they have a problem. As a consequence, educators should create safe opportunities for the child to share and receive support. For older children, the educator can offer the child to talk to a professional at school and figure out a way to tell the child’s parents – together with the student.

Whilst observing the children in the classroom, the educator can notice some early signs of mental health challenges through the behaviour the children may show. They can then approach the child and ask guiding questions such as: “James, I have noticed that you seem quieter than usual. Is this only happening in this class, or are you feeling this way in other classes?.” This could enable the student (if they are comfortable and willing) to reflect upon the way they are feeling together with the teacher (The Ontario Public Service, 2013).

In the case of “G.”, the teacher can support the child by asking “I have noticed that you were upset after play time, did something happen, or are you just not feeling it today?” The educator can encourage the child to draw how they feel (if it is difficult for them to express themselves in English).

Tier 2 – Small groups: Adult participation in play situations

According to Tarman and Tarman (2011), play is an important process of promoting children’s mental, emotional and social development in ways that cannot be directly taught by the means of classroom instruction. However, to support this development through play, a teacher can participate in these play situations and guide the children in understanding certain social and emotional issues.

Throughout the day, the children are exposed to various situations of play. Usually, students tend to play in smaller groups and it is the perfect opportunity for the teacher to join them. As the teacher joins, they take the role of a playing member and adapt accordingly to the situations that the children are playing whilst acting out model behaviour. For instance, in the case of the situation between “G.” and “T.”, the teacher could act out how upset they are if in the situation where the children are playing with dolls another doll is mean to the other one.

Tier 1 – Whole classroom: Teaching about mental health through books

Children and especially young children have a limited understanding of emotions and how others might feel in different situations, whereas books can offer emotional experiences that children can take part in. Fictive stories that can be read to the entire class, create situations where emotions are stimulated and our mental well-being reflected. Reading and discussing these types of books as a whole class prepares children for dealing with empathy and emotions in real life (Nikolajeva, 2013).

When a certain situation happens in the classroom, the teacher can find a fictional book that deals with this type of situation and read it to the class, following it up with a discussion and activities.
For instance, in the case of the situation between students “G.” and “T.”, the book ‘Simon’s Hook’ by Karen Gedig Burnett could be read and discussed. The book talks about how to handle situations when teased or bullied and how to respond to it mentally and emotionally. This could be a good opportunity to encourage discussion on how bullying makes the character feel and how the character deals with how they feel. Therefore, it helps the two students reflect on what they have experienced (Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health, 2013).

Please be aware that bullying is a topic that needs to be taken seriously, especially with the effects it can have on students’ mental health and well-being. Many schools have policies in place on what to do if there is a bullying issue in the school. If possible, have a look at these documents. If you observe bullying, talk to your mentor-teacher and let them know your concerns.

Case Study 7: Student M

M.” an 8-year-old child from Suriname who moved to the Netherlands together with their mother and sister the previous summer. “M.” started their first year in the Netherlands in an IPC Dutch school and has entered 3rd grade with 30 classmates. “M.” can speak a little bit of Dutch, but most of the student’s conversations with the teachers are half in Dutch, half in English.

During one of the lessons, the student-teacher saw that “M.” was trembling whilst working on an individual task. The student-teacher approached “M.” to check on the child to which “M” responded: “I am not feeling okay.” The student-teacher guided the child out in the hallway to have a little chat to calm the student down.
After school, when “M’s” mother came to pick “M.” up, the teachers and the student had a chat about what had happened earlier in the day when “M.” bursted out in tears and explained: “I am so anxious, and I hate school work, and I do not have any friends.” No one knew that “M.” was going through this, neither the teachers nor the parent.

Reflection Questions

  • What do you think the talk was about once the student-teacher took the student out in the hallway?
  • Why do you think “M.” feels this way?
  • How would you help the student overcome their anxiety?
  • How would you make sure that the student gets integrated into the classroom better?
  • What kind of learning barriers is the student facing?

Through reflection, a social barrier is apparent in this case study, and this can be observed based on the previously stated information regarding this barrier. On one hand, the child seems to have difficulties in integrating into such a big class (that has been previously formed) and therefore is not developing their social skills. On the other hand, the child comes from another culture and has been placed in a Dutch school that is mainly monolingual and monocultural. As James (2002) states, the lack of social skills could lead to emotional difficulties (feeling anxious), peer rejection, isolation from peers and difficulty making friends.
Even though the social barrier seems to be apparent, there could be multiple causes and perspectives on why the child feels uncomfortable in the school environment, however, the teacher could integrate the child and make it less challenging to be socially included, by adopting personal and general strategies, such as:

Tier 3 – Individual support: Warmth and support for each student

Warmth and support refer to the academic and social support that the students receive from their teacher and peers. The teacher needs to create an environment where each student knows that they are cared for. The educators can demonstrate that they care about their students by asking students questions, following up with students when they have a problem, and acting in ways to show the class that they are welcomed and safe. To support this, the teachers can implement structures in the classroom where all students feel included and appreciated by their peers (Seitz, 2016).

According to Seitz (2016), examples of these types of structures for warmth and support could be morning meetings, individual time with the teacher throughout the week (lunch, recess), or class projects where each student has a comfortable space to share what they have learnt.
For students such as “M.”, an exit ticket could be implemented at the end of the day, where students draw, write, or orally share with the teacher how their day went (what they found challenging or what they liked). This would enable the teacher to know how each of the children in their class feels each day and would be able to intervene to offer additional support when necessary.

Tier 2 – Small groups: Group work

In order to include each student in the classroom, the teacher can strategically assign students to work in pairs or groups (e.g. based on their interests). Guided and non-guided group work can provide social interactions for students who are often isolated and can help to foster their social competency by improving social skills and building self-esteem. Before the group activity, the teacher can identify particular social behaviours they would like to see (e.g. one student helping another one with a task) and reinforce those behaviours by praising the students (Seitz, 2016).

The teacher can form different types of groups for students to work in for a longer or shorter period of time. The longer a group exists, the more caring, supportive and committed to each other the group members will be. The educator can also assign roles to each student (questioner, time-keeper, recorder, encourager, etc.) to make sure that each child is fully included and engaged (Yassin, Razak & Maasusum, 2018).

This type of approach could be beneficial for students as “M.”, since they are struggling to feel included in the class. When a big class as theirs is divided into smaller groups, the students can work together and support each other.

Tier 1 – Whole classroom: Classroom activities to support peer interaction

According to research, it is beneficial to offer children planned and systematic opportunities to engage in social interactions and practice emerging social skills. This could be done with the implementation of various fixed routines and activities in the classroom that foster social interaction. These could lead towards stronger connections between the children, and therefore contribute to the integration of each child in the classroom (Yoder, 2014).

Shapiro (2004), offers whole class activities that can be implemented to teach children different types of social skills in various areas; ranging from ways to communicate, being part of a group, expressing feelings, caring for others, problem-solving, etc.

For example, in the situation of “M.”, the teacher could use the activity “Joining a Group” (see p.38). During this activity, the children discuss as a whole class that all the time they are exposed to situations that lead them towards joining a new group of peers and friends. After, they need to fill out a worksheet about how to include a new child in the group and how the child should act when joining a new group. This type of activity could raise awareness on how to join a group and include other students for both the entire class and “M.”.

Case Study 8: Student K

“K.” is a 9-year-old 4th-grade student in a local school. The student has been diagnosed with ASD and Tourette syndrome. The student has difficulties with mathematics but is really proficient in art tasks. For a very long time, the child has been apart from their classroom in a separate room where the learning has been individualised. The student-teacher tried to include the student back in the classroom where improvement was visible. However, the student has the tendency to get physically and orally aggressive when things do not happen the way the child wants the things to go. On some days, without sharing their thoughts with the student-teacher, the student would run out of the classroom to search for something that came into their mind. For instance, running to the 8th grader classroom book collection and searching for something in it. It would be impossible to re-engage the student to work until they found what was on their mind. 

Reflection Questions:

Type your exercises here.

  • Do you think the inclusion in the classroom is effective? What could be the impact on the other students?
  • Do you think that the long-term exclusion from the other students could have an impact on the child’s well-being?
  • How does a student like this impact the other students?
  • Do you think that the exclusion and then the inclusion affects the child’s behaviour?
  • How would you support the student to thrive?
  • What kind of learning barriers is the child facing?

Attentively analysing the case study led towards the thought that the child in question might be mainly facing a cognitive barrier to learning. Cognitive learning barriers, as previously mentioned, outline the limitations that people might have in the field of cognitive functioning that includes social, conceptual, and practical skills (Frederickson & Cline, 2015). This could explain the exclusion of “K.” in the first place and the difficulty to reintegrate the student back into the classroom. However, the challenges “K.” is facing should not be seen as limits of their capabilities as they could not only be due to the cognitive factors, but by a set of other barriers leading to challenges. To prevent the exclusion of this child and encourage the peers to be aware of the importance of inclusion of “K.”, the teacher could use the following strategies:

Tier 3 – Individual support: Learning about the learner

Each child with ‘special needs’ or cognitive barriers is unique. As a consequence, the individual approach that is taken to support the child is also unique (Cremin & Burnett, 2018).
In an ideal model, the classroom teacher works together with the parents, other professionals in the school (special education teacher, principal, school psychologist, occupational therapist, social worker, speech therapist, etc.) and the child, to offer personalised individual support. The most common product of this cooperation could be an individual learning plan (ILP). An ILP guides the inclusion of the student in the classroom with three main aims: access, participation, and progress. It helps both the student and the teacher to make sure that all learning needs are accommodated and that progress is made (Ticha, Abery, Johnstone, Poghosyan, & Hunt, 2018).

When entering the classroom as a student-teacher, the student-teacher should learn about the learners in their classroom in order to create lessons that are inclusive and beneficial for all students.
This can be done by communicating with the mentor-teacher and asking which children need additional support, what strategies are already in place, if students have an individual learning plan, and what the student-teacher can do to support individual students. Throughout the various interactions with the students, the student-teacher should be attentive to the various learning needs, all by cooperating with the mentor teacher and the students themselves. In the case of “K.”, the student-teacher was paired up with the student for a longer period of time. As a consequence, the student teacher got to know the student better through interaction, trial and error, and support from other teachers. This led towards including “K.” in the classroom, all by still staying at their side and offering constant support to make this inclusion process easier.

Tier 2 – Small groups: Peer modeling

According to Kennedy (2013), inclusive classrooms are an opportunity for children with cognitive challenges to develop their social skills with reliable peer models. Students with this type of challenge, can have an opportunity to observe, practice, and model the behaviour of their peers. Through these observations and interactions, the peer models are providing age-appropriate social, language, play, speech, and behavioural skills.

On the other hand, the peers have opportunities to interact with children that are different and have different needs. This can lead towards the learning of compassion, empathy, tolerance, and acceptance of differences and similarities amongst the children in their classroom (Loutsch, 2020).Peer modelling can happen naturally throughout the day or with opportunities (activities, games, tasks) implemented in lessons or routines by the teacher

Peer modelling opportunities come naturally or can be encouraged by the implementation of free working time where the students can complete activities of their choice together (e.g. reading, educational games on a computer, listening to a book, etc). The teacher can also implement opportunities of peer modelling during lessons by encouraging children to work in groups or pairs on tasks given in the lesson.

For students like “K.”, this type of interaction could be encouraged in creative activities, as it is something that the child enjoys and feels more confident in. The student can sit at a table with other students during this type of task and observe how their peers are handling stages of the activity (mixing the paint, cleaning up after themselves, explaining to the teacher what they are creating, etc.).

Tier 1 – Whole classroom: Calming activities for the whole class

Whilst being in the classroom all students might become easily overwhelmed with the various social, emotional, environmental and mental stimulations. Students with cognitive barriers are more likely to be overstimulated, and as a consequence need coping strategies already implemented in the classroom (Watson, 2018). The educator can use calming activities available for the whole class to help each student feel safe, included, and not stressed. These activities can provide an opportunity for the child to take a moment to calm down (McClelland, 2016).

There are various calming activities and routines that the teacher can implement as a whole class strategy  to accommodate the inclusion of students like “K.”. These types of strategies can benefit all students and are available for all students throughout the day. One of the examples could be “Break Cards”(McClelland, 2016).They are used as a tool to help the child when they become overwhelmed with a situation with the aim to take a moment to do something to distract themselves and relax.

Ideally, the cards are physical and have coping techniques written on them ranging from techniques of deep breathing to going on a walk . They can be general or personalised for each child and can be kept in a common place in the classroom or in the individual drawers of each child. Using cards that have techniques already written on them (that can be explained and agreed upon beforehand), can ensure that the child is doing something productive in their break based on their own choice. Having this type of activity in the classroom can ensure that the personal needs of the child are fulfilled without direct intervention from the teacher (McClelland, 2016).This type of intervention could be beneficial for “K.” when they feel overwhelmed with everything happening in the classroom and willing to run away, but is also beneficial to their peers, as the students also have an equal opportunity to take a break when needed.

ASD is the acronym for autism spectrum disorder which is a developmental disorder that can have an effect both on communication and behavior. The Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder which is characterized by multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. It is important to remember that the tics happen involuntarily and are difficult to control. Tics can range from mild to severe and can include things like shoulder shrugging, touching objects, grunting or repeating words. Those affected by Tourette syndrome can frequently encounter social and behavioral challenges. (Mayo Clinic, 2018)



The eight barriers to learning: cognitive, physical, social, emotional, mental, language-based, cultural, and environmental all have an impact on students’ behaviour, learning, well-being, and development. It is through the implementation of different strategies on an individual, small group, and whole class level, as being described in the case studies, that the impact of various learning barriers can be reduced so that students can develop to their full potential and reach a full inclusion in the classroom. The ultimate goal is to have all students included in the classroom, and this can only be reached by observing students, identifying barriers to learning they may encounter early-on, and implementing interventions to support the individual needs of the students.

It can be challenging to find the exact underlying causes of the difficulties that the students can face, since the child can be exposed to various challenges on a daily basis and these might change over time, making it even more difficult to identify what the child is going through. As seen in the case studies, there are multiple learning barriers at once that can have a reciprocal influence on each other, and therefore have a magnifying effect on the student. The challenges that students face can be minimised when barriers to learning are identified and successfully reduced.

The strategies offered throughout the case studies are based on the background knowledge, perspective, and the research process of the authors. Students in different classrooms around the globe require individual approaches based on their unique needs. In the ideal classroom setting, all of these needs are considered and responded to by accommodating all learners and providing classroom experiences that all students can benefit from. This brings the authors towards the following question: should teachers strive for Universal Design for Learning in their classrooms?




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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by room305 and Inclusive Education Class 2020-2021 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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