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Overview

Planning instruction that acknowledges and honours diversity means thoughtfully selecting instructional supports that maximize student achievement.

A classroom is a community of learners, each with unique learning preferences, interests, strengths, needs and potential.

Teachers use effective instructional practices and strategies to support student engagement, achievement and success.

Examples of instructional supports for teachers include differentiated instruction, the use of technology and the selection of learning and teaching resources.

Instructional strategies and refugee support

Building Hope: Refugee Learner Narratives

Instructional Strategies and Supports

Differentiation

Differentiated instruction is a philosophy and an approach to teaching in which teachers and school communities actively work to support the learning of all students through strategic assessment, thoughtful planning and targeted, flexible instruction.

The key idea of differentiated instruction is that all students can learn, in their own ways and in their own time. Making a commitment to a more differentiated classroom does not mean starting over, but rather building on current best instructional practices in an explicit, intentional, focused and systematic manner.

Most teachers naturally incorporate elements of differentiated instruction to some degree in their classrooms every day.

Making a Difference (2010) (PDF, 4.4 MB)

Individualized Program Plan (IPP)

Students are at the center of the IPP and Individual Student Profile (ISP) process. When the focus is on students’ individual strengths, needs and participation, the IPP/ISP process can provide many benefits for all partners.

Individualized Program Plans and Instructional Support Plans

An effective, student-focused IPP/ISP process can:

  • encourage well-articulated instructional and assessment plans
  • increase understanding of individual students’ learning needs and strengths
  • enhance communication between teachers, parents and students
  • help students build the skills and knowledge they need in order to be effective self-advocates and participants in their own learning
  • help create a long-term plan that can assist families with transitions and future planning

Template types

Alberta Education has provided optional templates that can be used for students identified with special education needs:

  • Template A (for students with learning disabilities, mild cognitive disabilities, and/or working one to three years below grade-level expectations).
  • Template B (for students with moderate or severe cognitive disabilities requiring individual goals).
  • Template C (for students who are gifted and require additional challenge).

IPP templates

Template A

Template A - Division 1 (grades 1-3) (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Template A - Division 2 (grades 4-6) (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Template A - Division 3 (grades 7-9) (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Template A - Division 4 (grades 10-12) (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Template B

Template B (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Template C

Template C – Grades 4-9 (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Template C – Grades 10-12 (PDF, 1.9 MB)

Learning coaches

Learning coaches are teachers who are knowledgeable about inclusion and the Alberta Program of Studies. They are also skilled at teacher collaboration and sharing promising practices.

Learning coaches work as part of a learning support team to build the capacity of the school and work side-by-side with teachers to improve instruction and design learning experiences that are accessible, effective and engaging for all students.

Alberta Education has created a number of documents and videos exploring the potential role of Learning Coaches in Alberta.

Resources

The Learning Coach in Alberta Schools (PDF, 365 KB)

Learning Coaches Literature Review (PDF, 443 KB)

Exploring School-based Learning Coaches in Alberta (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Coaching to support inclusion

Coaching to Support Inclusion: A Principal’s Guide, an Alberta Teachers’ Association publication

Transitions

Transitions are any events that result in changes to relationships, routines, expectations or roles. Although they are a normal part of life, these changes can be difficult for students.

School transition strategies are purposeful, coordinated, and outcomes oriented approaches designed to help students successfully move from home to school to post-secondary education or employment.

This planning is ongoing and begins at the start of each new school year and evolves throughout the year.

Effective planning for transition is:

  • Thoughtful and deliberate
  • Collaborative
  • Comprehensive in scope

The probability of successful transitions increase when school communities work together to coordinate school transition support strategies.

Resources

Managing School Transitions (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Planning for Transitions (PDF, 189 KB)

Transitions for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Students (PDF, 1.4 MB)

Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities (PDF, 13.2 MB)

Behaviour support

Behaviour issues in schools can have an impact on learning, instruction and positive school climate.

Some students, for a variety of reasons, may not understand acceptable social behaviour and be unable or unwilling to meet the school’s behavioural expectations.

Positive behaviour supports is a school-wide collaborative effort to design and implement strategies, practices and interventions for promoting positive social and communication skills.

Response to intervention (RtI) is a systematic way of providing evidence-based supports to students.

Assistive technology

Assistive Technology for Learning (ATL) is a subset of a broad range of technologies that enhance students’ learning.

ATL is defined as the devices, media and services used by students to actively engage in learning and to achieve their individual learning goals.

Like other technologies, ATL ranges from simple tools to complex systems. It could be as simple as providing a pencil grip for writing or as complex as a computer with software for reading and learning.

ATL is directly related to the delivery of learning outcomes in the Alberta programs of study.

In practice, all technology can be described as assistive technology—it assists everyone in doing something better, easier or faster.

Resources

Infusing Assistive Technology into the Individualized Program Plan Process (PDF, 334 KB)

Educational Change

Learning Technologies