Talking points: Should students with special educational needs be taught separately?

Compiled by Kelly Ho

Hate it when you can’t talk back? Well, you can with 'Young Post'. Have your say and share with students around Hong Kong

Compiled by Kelly Ho |

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Hui Pui-ying, 13, SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School

I think it would be good for SEN students to be taught separately, especially those with severe learning disabilities. It could protect them from being bullied by students who don’t understand their differences. This is important because hearing rude remarks from their peers can be very damaging to their self-esteem and confidence, which could in turn affect their learning.

Furthermore, teachers typically have to cover a set syllabus within a limited time frame. They cannot slow down for students who might not learn as quickly as other students. It can be very disheartening to fall behind in class, so it would be better if these students were put in a separate class where they can learn at a more suitable pace.

Lee Cheuk-ling, 14, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School

Definitely not. We should treat all students – whether they have special educational needs or not – the same. If they are all in one class, students can help each other if someone is struggling. They will also learn to care for and respect each other. If SEN students are taught separately, other students won’t know how to interact with them when they grow up, and vice versa.

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Choi Nok-him, 13, SKH Tang Shiu Kin Secondary School

Yes. Teachers in mainstream schools may not have the time or expertise to teach SEN students effectively and help them with their problems. Some SEN students might not learn as quickly as others and it would only stress them out to have to keep up with their classmates. There is also a chance they will get bullied by other students because of their differences in behaviour or appearance.

Teaching SEN students separately can ensure they learn in a safe environment at a suitable pace. I think this would boost both their confidence and academic performance.

Sadak Meeran Ahamed Sultan, 12, HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

Yes. I believe most parents of SEN students would prefer their children to be in a special class where they would feel comfortable. It’s the parents’ responsibility to make sure their kids are happy at school. If SEN students are not separated, they may not be able to get the attention they need to be taught properly.

Shirley Hon, 17, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

No. I have some classmates that are SEN students and I think they should have the same resources as other students. I also think they would be happier if they could learn with the other students, as they wouldn’t miss out on the chance to make more friends with non-SEN students.

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Kanak Khanuja, 12, HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

How would you feel if you were in a world where everyone had the same capability as you and there was no competition? Bad, right? This is why I believe SEN students should not be taught separately. I think all students should be taught equally because everyone has the right to learn and grow. That is not to say they will not face challenges along the way, but no pain, no gain. If they are not separated, they can have an opportunity to learn from their peers. I think it is important to know that there will always be someone better than us, the only thing we can do is work, step outside our comfort zone, and strive for the best!

Marco Ng, 17, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

Yes, people with special education needs should be taught in a separate class. This way they can get more attention from teachers and have a better chance to learn. The pace of learning in other classes class might be a bit too fast for them, it would be better if they were to be taught in a class better tailored to their learning needs.

Teresa Kwok, 14, South Island School

I’m not really sure whether they should be separated or not. I can see pros and cons to both sides. If SEN students were not taught separately, it would be easier for them to get used to a more typical school settings. Other students can also learn to accept people with special needs. On the other hand, SEN students may find it hard to catch up with learning and homework, and may feel left out.

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Lu Chong-kai, 18, Fung Kai No.1 Secondary School

I think they should not be taught separately. SEN students could improve their communication skills if they interacted with non-SEN students, too. They can make more new friends, which would boost their confidence to face the difficulties in their life. Also, they can get extra support from more classmates and teachers than if they were separated.

Oorvi Goyal, 12, HKMA David Li Kwok Po College

I think SEN students would learn better if they were taught separately. The teachers can focus more on helping them overcome their problems, understanding them. Whereas, if they were in the same class as the other students, they might feel inferior to them and might not be able to make many friends. I strongly feel that they would be more comfortable and do better if they were taught in a separate class.

In our next Talking Points, we’ll discuss:

Should the HKDSE be postponed because of the ongoing protests?

We are now accepting your answers for this topic. To take part, email your answer with your name, age, and school, along with a nice, clear selfie (make sure it’s not blurry), to [email protected] by lunchtime on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line.