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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 1, September 2005

New web site: bctf.ca/TeachingtoDiversity

A joint project of:
BCTF Research, Special Education Association
Learning Assistance Teachers’ Association
English as a Second Language Provincial Specialist Association

It’s September, and you have a brand new class of students. Whether elementary, middle, or secondary, the reality of your classes means a diversity of students and student needs. How do you address all their needs? In December 2004, BCTF launched the Teaching to Diversity web page to provide access to information, resources, and contacts for teachers and all those who support the needs of learners in the B.C. public school system.

At this stage, the web page focus is on information relevant to meeting the needs of students who receive special education, learning assistance, or ESL services but who are, for the most part, included in mainstream classrooms. Whether you are a regular classroom teacher or a specialist support teacher, this site provides links to information that will support your teaching. Find out about current resources for a variety of issues, download checklists, find easy-to-implement strategies, and many ways to include all students in learning.

The web page has been developed by the BCTF with three provincial specialist associations&151;English as a Second Language PSA (ESLPSA), Learning Assistance Teachers’ Association (LATA), and Special Education Association (SEA). Through networking and sharing of information with a variety of people around the province, this web site continually changes and grows to support the work of all teachers.

Web site features of interest

Resource inventory
The bulk of the web site’s information is stored here and includes information regarding profiles of learner needs, Ministry of Education designations, documentation (IEPs and school-based team), assessment of student learning, lesson plans, and a plethora of resources related to specific disabilities, adaptations and modification, strategies, collaboration and teamwork, and transitions.

When teaching students with a diversity of needs, it is helpful for overall understanding to have a common language. This extensive glossary will help you become more familiar with the terms used.

Provincial policies/reports
B.C.-related policies from the Ministry of Education, BCTF/ CUPE, and the School Superintendent’s Association.

Sample scenarios
Become familiar with the web site through some specific scenarios that you may encounter in your class. The primary classroom teacher whose class includes a student with autism, ESL students in an intermediate classroom, helping resource teachers advise classroom teachers on how to work with teacher assistants.

Pro D
Expanding your knowledge base and expertise takes a concerted effort. Listed in this section are a wide variety of choices including after-school or full-day workshops, special conferences or seminars, university courses, and online courses.

Links on a variety of topics--parent support groups, school district student support services, colleges offering teacher assistant training or special education post-secondary courses, sports and leisure activities for students.

Online journals
Access and links to free journals like the Council for Exceptional Children, Early Childhood Education Journal, International Journal of Special Education and International Reading Association, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Learning Disabilities Online, and Pro-Ed Inc.

Monthly highlights
New additions to the web site, or links and information you don’t want to miss!

E-mail discussion group
The teaching-to-diversity mailing list is available for you to network with other educators and professionals willing to share their expertise or ask questions of each other. It’s a quick way to connect with a variety of professionals with only a few keystrokes!

B.C. projects
Projects involving B.C. teachers’ inclusive approaches. Initial reports are from teachers in Prince George, Nanaimo, and Coquitlam, and focus on mentoring/professional conversation support groups for resource teachers, IEPs, year-at-a-glance calendar for resource teachers, Universal Design for Learning, and the use of Boardmaker.

Parent support
This section, as well as others in the web page, may be useful for parents. Listed are many parent-focused resource materials, books, videos, and support groups.

We welcome your input. To suggest content, contact Karen Horner at khorner@dccnet.com. For other inquiries about the web page, contact Charlie Naylor, BCTF Research at cnaylor@bctf.ca.

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