Nurturing Inclusivity and Academic Growth: Supporting Diverse Learners in the Classroom


In today’s diverse and inclusive educational settings, teachers encounter students with varying learning needs and challenges. Addressing the individual needs of each student is essential to foster a supportive and equitable learning environment. This comprehensive report focuses on two critical aspects: the development of SMART goals for a grade 6 student with ADHD named Mia and the implementation of research-based adjustments and supports for five diverse learners in the same classroom. By crafting tailored goals and applying evidence-based strategies, teachers can effectively support students’ academic progress, behavior, and overall well-being.

Mia, a grade 6 student with ADHD, faces various difficulties that impact her academic performance and behavior. This section outlines two SMART goals for Mia, one focused on curriculum improvement and the other on behavior and social skills. These goals aim to create a structured and supportive learning path for Mia to reach her full potential and succeed in the classroom. Five diverse learners in the classroom, Beth, Brandon, Elliot, Tracey, and Craig, possess unique learning needs. This section delves into the individualized adjustments, supports, assistive technology, and teaching strategies designed to cater to each student’s strengths and challenges. By promoting their well-being and ensuring their safety, teachers can foster an inclusive learning environment that encourages active participation and growth.

Part 1: Individual Education Plan (IEP) Goals for MIA

Mia, a grade 6 student with ADHD, exhibits various challenges in the classroom that impact her academic performance and behavior. To address her specific needs, the development of SMART goals in both curriculum and behavior/social skills is crucial.

  1. SMART Goal for Curriculum: By the end of the semester, Mia will demonstrate improvement in her academic performance by achieving a minimum of 80% accuracy in completing assigned classroom tasks and assignments aligned with the grade 6 curriculum.

Measurement: Mia’s progress toward this goal will be measured through regular assessments and teacher observations. The teacher will track Mia’s completion of assigned tasks and assignments, recording her accuracy and on-task behavior.

Teacher Support: The teacher will provide Mia with individualized instructions and task reminders to help her remember and stay on track with her classroom assignments. The teacher will also offer additional assistance during class, such as breaking down complex tasks into smaller, manageable steps.

Resources: The teacher may use visual aids, checklists, and timers to support Mia’s task completion and time management skills. The school’s learning support specialist can provide additional resources and strategies to address Mia’s academic challenges. Collaborating with the student’s parents to reinforce goal-setting and time management skills at home can further support Mia’s progress.

  1. SMART Goal for Behavior/Social Skilling: By the end of the semester, Mia will demonstrate improved impulse control and appropriate classroom behavior by reducing the number of disruptive incidents and unsolicited outbursts by 50%.

Measurement: The teacher will keep a behavior log to document the frequency of Mia’s disruptive incidents and outbursts. The teacher will also record instances where Mia demonstrates improved impulse control and appropriate classroom behavior.

Teacher Support: The teacher will implement behavior management strategies, such as a token system or a visual behavior chart, to reinforce positive behavior and encourage self-regulation. The teacher will also have regular check-ins with Mia to discuss her behavior and provide positive reinforcement for progress.

Resources: The school counselor or behavioral specialist can offer support and strategies to address Mia’s impulse control and social skill development. Additionally, the school may consider implementing a social skills group or peer mentoring program to support Mia’s interactions with her classmates.

Part 2: Adjustments and Supports for Students in the Class

Beth (Twice Exceptional): Adjustments and Supports:

  • Provide alternative methods of communication to accommodate her selective mutism, such as writing or using visual aids.
  • Offer differentiated reading materials to challenge her gifted reading abilities while also providing support for comprehension.

Brandon (Dyslexic): Adjustments and Supports:

  • Provide audiobooks and text-to-speech technology to assist with reading and comprehension.
  • Use multisensory learning techniques to reinforce reading skills, such as tactile letter cards or sand trays.

Elliot (Cerebral Palsy): Adjustments and Supports:

  • Ensure the classroom is physically accessible, with adjustable furniture and clear pathways for mobility.
  • Provide assistive technology or adaptive tools to support fine motor tasks, such as speech-to-text software or specialized writing tools.

Tracey (Mild Intellectual Disability): Adjustments and Supports:

  • Offer simplified instructions and visual aids to help her understand new concepts and tasks.
  • Encourage her to use drawing as a means of expressing herself and understanding complex ideas.

Craig (FASD, ADHD, Trauma-impacted): Adjustments and Supports:

  • Implement a structured and predictable daily routine to support Craig’s executive functioning.
  • Utilize behavior management strategies, such as a behavior plan and positive reinforcement, to address his emotional regulation and attention difficulties.

Promoting Well-being and Safety: To promote the well-being and safety of each student, teachers need to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment. This involves the implementation of various research-based adjustments, supports, assistive technology, and teaching strategies tailored to each student’s unique needs.

Beth: Promoting Well-being and Safety:

  • Encourage a safe and supportive atmosphere where Beth feels comfortable expressing herself through writing or visual aids.
  • Facilitate peer interactions and group activities to gradually build her confidence in verbal communication.

Brandon: Promoting Well-being and Safety:

  • Provide additional time and resources for reading tasks to reduce anxiety and pressure.
  • Offer positive reinforcement and celebrate his progress in reading to boost his self-esteem.

Elliot: Promoting Well-being and Safety:

  • Collaborate with the school’s occupational therapist to ensure the classroom environment is accessible and conducive to Elliot’s mobility.
  • Use collaborative learning activities that promote teamwork and inclusivity, allowing Elliot to participate comfortably.

Tracey: Promoting Well-being and Safety:

  • Provide a calm and patient environment for Tracey to process information and ask questions.
  • Encourage her love for drawing as a means of self-expression and creative outlet.

Craig: Promoting Well-being and Safety:

  • Implement a quiet corner or a designated space where Craig can take breaks to manage emotional overload.
  • Use positive reinforcement and rewards for his focus and participation in class to build his self-esteem.

Fulfilling Legislative Requirements and Professional Responsibilities

In providing these adjustments and supports, teachers align with The Victorian Teaching Profession Code of Conduct and relevant legislative policies. The Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) emphasizes the importance of reasonable adjustments to support students with disabilities and ensure equal access to education. By implementing evidence-based strategies, teachers fulfill their professional responsibilities to provide equitable and inclusive learning opportunities for all students.


Inclusive education requires educators to recognize and respond to the diverse needs of their students. This report demonstrates how the development of SMART goals and the implementation of research-based adjustments and supports can positively impact student learning experiences. By embracing individuality and catering to various learning styles, teachers can create an environment where all students feel valued, supported, and motivated to thrive academically and emotionally. Through continuous collaboration with stakeholders, adherence to legislative requirements, and a commitment to professional responsibilities, teachers play a crucial role in nurturing inclusivity and academic growth for all students.


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  3. Smith, T., & Polloway, E. A. (2019). Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms. Pearson.
  4. Australian Government. (2018). Disability Standards for Education 2005. Retrieved from



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