Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility The role of the shadow teacher in improving the social skills and independence of people with disabilities

The role of the shadow teacher in improving the social skills and independence of people with disabilities

The Role Of The Shadow Teacher In Improving The Social Skills And Independence Of People With Disabilities


The current article aims to highlight the role of the shadow teacher in filling the gaps that limit the education of students with disabilities in the general education classroom environment with their peers by helping them to learn in less restrictive environments. The shadow teacher provides the necessary support that the individual needs in curricular and extracurricular activities. And develop his social and academic skills. The results of the current study focused on shedding light on the importance of the role of the shadow teacher in developing the skills of students with disabilities from several aspects: Including time management skills, Academic skills such as reading and writing, Social skills such as interacting with peers, Say hello and engage in social conversations. The study recommended providing a shadow teacher in integration schools and working to develop their skills through workshops, training programs and seminars.


Blended learning is one of the richest areas of educational education for research and studies. Some countries have updated old standards and replaced them with new research standards according to the results of research conducted on individuals with disabilities. Moreover, the issue of integration into public schools has become an important and well-known issue. As individuals with disabilities are the group that has faced the most neglect previously, which made them face many difficulties, especially in engaging with society. All of this may be due to lack of awareness. Lack of modern studies, And the societal outlook, which in turn contributed to exacerbating these difficulties. Societies viewed them as an obstacle and a social burden. The lack of research and information in this field is due to the lack of previous interest by governments in this category. As for now, This field took a different curve with a broader scope; Many countries have moved to open special classes for them, prepare public school classes for integration, and employ specialized teachers to provide support.

In general classrooms, individuals with disabilities face great challenges in adapting to classroom environments, understanding and following rules, which affects the effectiveness of education, acquiring the necessary educational skills, and integrating with their peers. This is where integration programs and providing a shadow teacher come in to provide support. Shadow teachers are teachers who follow traditional curricula but control the environment and change methods according to the needs of the individual. The role of the shadow teacher lies in providing academic and social support individually and making the necessary exceptions to bring the student to the desired result by acquiring information or skill.

Given the recent interest in the topic of the shadow teacher and the lack of research related to it, parents still have some reservations and concerns regarding the effectiveness of the integration program and the presence of a shadow teacher with their child. They believe that the presence of a shadow teacher may increase the child’s dependence on the teacher instead of the child relying on himself. It may happen that the child tends to become dependent, but not because of the nature of the service provided by the shadow teacher. Rather, it happens if the teacher is not trained and skilled enough to provide this type of support. From here we come to some steps that in turn contribute to achieving the goal of having a shadow teacher in integration classes. It is as follows:

Shadow teacher

Choosing the right shadow teacher is essential to the success of the program. The appropriate teacher is selected based on:

  • Experience: The shadow teacher must have sufficient experience working with students with disabilities. He is aware of the exceptional needs of children and how to provide the service in the best possible way.
  • Qualifications: A shadow teacher must have the appropriate qualifications for the job. This includes a degree in special education or a related field.
  • Personality: A shadow tutor should be a good fit for your family and your child. Furthermore it; Must have a patient, compassionate and understanding personality who is able to work well with students and adults.

After choosing the appropriate shadow teacher, The teacher must be allowed to spend some time with the child in order to determine the child’s skill level. including social skills, Determine the child’s way of learning and communicating, And so on, first and foremost.

School meetings

It is important for the shadow teacher, classroom teacher, social worker and parents to communicate and collaborate together effectively, To ensure a successful meeting, It is essential for the shadow teacher to be aware of the child’s interests, strengths, weaknesses, and behavioral challenges. The classroom teacher should be aware of the child’s learning style and how they learn best. The social worker must be able to address any behavioral challenges the child may face. Finally, The parents must participate in the child’s education and ensure communication with the rest of the team to ensure that the child receives the support he needs.

Here are some tips for effective team communication:

  • Hold regular meetings to discuss the child’s progress and identify areas that need additional support.
  • The team must remain constantly informed of any changes that occur in the child’s life. Such as new medications or treatment appointments.
  • Flexibility and readiness to adapt the curriculum based on the child’s needs.

Write clear goals

Setting clear short-term and long-term goals is essential to help your child integrate into school. A clear plan ensures that the expectations of teachers and parents regarding the child’s performance are set. Short-term goals help shadow teachers monitor the learning process of students and gradually guide them to reach long-term goals. Do not forget that it is important when setting goals that the short-term goals are achievable within a week to one month. While long-term goals are achieved within a few months or a year.


Monitor and identify the child’s learning needs on an ongoing basis; This includes identifying the child’s areas of difficulty, including:

  • Child’s social skills.
  • The child’s ability to follow classroom rules.
  • The ability to move from one activity to another.

Observation helps identify the causes of behavioral problems and provide solutions for them. Monitoring may include talking to the child, parents, and other professionals to obtain data that leads to a better understanding of the problem. Once the cause is precisely identified, Solutions can be presented and implemented.

Treatment plan

A shadow teacher is a direct supporter who helps a child with special needs succeed in school. After observing and analyzing the child’s behavior, The shadow teacher will design a plan to help the child improve their performance. We note that the presented plan is not limited to the academic aspect only; Rather, this plan includes behavioral goals and interactive strategies aimed at stopping unwanted behavior when it occurs and reinforcing the desired behavior.

We mention here some interactive strategies that the teacher may implement in the classroom depending on the educational plan:

  • Time out: This includes removing the child from the educational situation for a short period of time if necessary.
  • Positive reinforcement in the classroom: For example, reward the child for good behavior and give him a sticker or a small toy.
  • Training the child to acquire social skills: It involves teaching the child how to interact with others in a positive way, Teach him how to share, How to rotate, waiting for turn, And solve simple problems.

The mix of interactive strategies used is important in helping pupils learn appropriate behaviour.

Generalization of acquired skills

Shadow teachers are typically trained in the ABA approach to understanding and changing behavior to provide support to children with autism in the classroom. According to the individual ABA approach, Once a child learns a new skill, A shadow teacher can help him generalize this skill in school and similar environments outside of school.

The shadow teacher’s presence gradually faded

In order for the maximum goal of the integration program to be achieved, the service of the shadow teacher for the child must disappear until the child reaches independence and generalizes these skills with different teachers in different environments. The individual plan will go through steps before reaching the point of independence. The shadow teacher first needs to explain to the class teacher how the plan will be implemented in the classroom so that the plan is understood and implemented smoothly. When the classroom teacher can implement the program independently and smoothly, A shadow teacher can gradually fade away help by moving away from the student until he or she is completely out of the classroom.

Here are some additional tips to help your student achieve independence:

  • Be patient and persistent; It may take some time for your child to adjust to independence without a shadow teacher.
  • Provide reinforcement; When your child is able to independently demonstrate the skills he has learned, Provide positive reinforcement to the child.
  • Communicate with your shadow teacher and classroom teachers; It is important to communicate with your shadow teacher and class teachers about your child’s progress. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your child is getting the support they need in the way they need.

By following these tips, You can help your child move out of the shadow teacher service and succeed in achieving the goals of the inclusion program.

Performance evaluation

During the shadow teacher’s withdrawal phase, The teacher needs to constantly evaluate the student’s performance with the teachers. It is possible to make some modifications to the plan according to the student’s performance. The evaluation also identifies the difficulties teachers faced when implementing the plan and works on modifying the plan accordingly.


This study found that there is a positive relationship between shadow teachers and academic and social support for children with disabilities in schools. Shadow teachers play a strong and positive role in education because they provide academic and social support to children with disabilities. Such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Shadow teachers help pupils develop their academic skills in reading, writing and listening. It also helps students develop social skills on the other hand, such as communication, speaking and listening, time management, Develop the concept of right and wrong, This makes a fundamental difference in the child’s life.

The study concluded that the presence of a shadow teacher is important for children with disabilities, especially in the first year of school, to enable the child to sit in a school environment and engage in the learning process independently.


Firstly: Recommendations for improving training and support for shadow teachers

  • Provide more training to shadow teachers on how to work with pupils with disabilities.
  • Establish clear guidelines and job descriptions for shadow teachers.
  • Provide support from school principals and teachers.
  • Provide shadow teachers with opportunities to network with other shadow teachers.

secondly: Recommendations for some points that comprehensive schools can do to enhance the skills of shadow teachers

  • Providing training opportunities for shadow teachers.
  • Create a supportive environment for shadow teachers.
  • Providing the necessary resources.
  • Learn about the work of shadow teachers.

the reviewer

Abdul Hamid, Hafiz Muhammad Irshadullah, and Zikra Faiz. (2021) Role of Shadow Teacher in the provision of Academic and Social Support for Children with Special Needs at Inclusive Schools.

Effective shadowing . Autism Partnership. (2023, April 28).