Effective Practices in the Classroom and School

A teacher sits at her desk, grading a notebook before her and smiling.October 2011
A legacy resource from NICHCY

A critical part of improving educational results for children with disabilities is using effective practices in the classroom and across the school.

Special educators have built an impressive knowledge base across 30 years of experience individualizing instruction for children and administering special education and related services in our schools. We are pleased to make that knowledge base available to you, in the following areas:

Basics of Learning and Teaching

Understanding How The Brain Learns
Research on the human brain has brought an explosion of excitement and promise to our understanding of ourselves—how we think, how we learn, how the brain regulates activities and reacts to stimulation. Emerging findings speak directly to effective educational practice.

Understanding Universal Design
Universal design is “an approach to designing environments and products so they can be used by the widest range of users without adaptation.”

What Schools Teach and Helping Students Learn It

Connecting with the Expertise of Special Education
Special educators have a tremendous amount of expertise to share, especially about individualizing instruction for students with specific kinds of disabilities. Here are half a dozen “starter” links that will take you into the heart of more, more, more.

Using What Works
This resource page is a companion to Structured Abstract 80, which summarized the findings of a fascinating meta-analysis of special education research about “what works.” And what did work? Learning strategy instruction, peer tutoring and cooperative learning, explicit instruction, mnemonic instruction, graphic organizers, study aids and guides…very exciting for teachers and students alike.

Addressing the General Education Curriculum
IDEA requires that students with disabilities be involved in, and make progress in, the general education curriculum–the same subject matter and skills that children without disabilities are expected to learn: math, science, history, and so on. Need resources to help them succeed?

C0-Teaching: General and Special Educators Working Together
This resource page is a companion to Structured Abstract 81, which focused on the findings of a metasynthesis of 32 qualitative research studies of co-teaching. Building on those findings, this page will connect you with more information about the fundamental requirements for effective co-teaching.