What is the Difference between Special Education and Remedial Education?

Some use the terms special education and remedial education interchangeably, but when you begin to study for a degree in education, you will learn that the two are very different. Both special and remedial education programs are specialized, structured programs that are designed to help students who need extra attention succeed academically. The target demographic and the delivery of the material vary between each specialization, as do the certifications that you need to teach. If you are interested in learning the difference between each specialization before you choose a program or a major, read on and learn what you need to know.

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What is Remedial Education and Why Are these Programs in Demand?

In simple terms, a remedial program is for students who have average or higher intellectual abilities but who are not performing well in school. Typically, remedial students are not struggling because of their intellectual abilities but instead because they are struggling with one subject area like reading, writing or mathematics. Remedial programs are designed to help give the students the individual attention that they need to build their skills and their confidence so that they can live up to their potential.

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Remedial programs that offer students special one-on-one attention are much more in demand. Many students today find it difficult to sit down and stay focused in class because the delivery of traditional lectures does not grasp the attention of all learning types. Many public schools today will mainstream remedial programs into the class offerings and teachers typically need nothing more than the average certificate and smaller class sizes. Taking courses to learn special remediation skills and methods can be helpful for educators to deal with common learning problems.

What Are Special Education Programs and How Are They Structured?

Special education differs from remedial education because the students in these programs lack the intellectual ability to perform in a class that teaches standardized concepts and subjects. The students in these classes may lack social maturity, emotional maturity, physical ability or the analytical skills that are needed to perform in a remedial or a standard classroom environment.

Delayed students who have special requirements will need to be in a special education program where the content and delivery is adapted to help meet the needs of each individual student. Because of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, children who fall into the definition of a child who has “unique needs” can receive specially designed instruction at no cost. Teachers who provide special education services in public and private schools must be certified to do so. These professionals take extra coursework on child development, research-based methods of teaching, theory and instructional practice to earn their credential.

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As you can see, there is a major difference between special and remedial programs, not only in the type of student that each caters to, but also in how the content is delivered. Remedial program teachers will spent more time working with students so that they get the extra attention that they need to develop their abilities. Special education teachers earn special credentials to develop content that caters to each student who is delayed in their class. Now that you know the differences between special education and remedial education, you can decide which path to take.