Volume 3, 2017
Beyond Providing Accommodations
How to be an Effective Instructor and Ally to Students with Learning Disabilities
In this essay, I provide some insights on how to instruct students with learning disabilities. The first half of this essay deals with the theoretical issue of equal opportunity. I begin by examining the question of access and consider the various ways philosophy remains inaccessible to students with learning disabilities. Then, I use the legal definition of accommodation to argue that it is possible to make philosophy courses accessible to students with learning disabilities without fundamentally altering the nature of these courses. Finally, I point out several reasons for preferring the accessibility model of equal opportunity in education over the accommodation model. The second half of this essay proceeds to highlight several pedagogical practices an instructor can employ to create an inclusive college-level philosophy course under the accessibility model. Specifically, I provide recommendations for how to write effective accessibility statements, develop inclusive course design, ensure equal assessment opportunities, utilize technology in the classroom, and maintain strong academic relationships between instructors and students.