Special Education vs General Education: Difference and Comparison

Education causes a natural and long-lasting shift in a person’s thinking and skill to realize a selected objective. It allows us to analyze our thoughts and feelings and prepares us to communicate them in a variety of ways.

It is the primary motivator for us to distinguish between right and bad since we cannot do what we need or reach our goals without education.

As a result, it is divided into two types: Special Education and General Education, based on the teaching and preaching methodologies and needs.

Key Takeaways

  1. Special education is tailored to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities or learning challenges, while general education follows a standard curriculum designed for most students.
  2. Special education often involves smaller class sizes, individualized instruction, and additional support services, while general education classes are larger and follow a more standardized approach.
  3. Both special and general education aims to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills, but special education focuses on adapting the learning environment to accommodate individual needs.

Special Education vs General Education

Special education is a form of instruction for the individual needs of students with disabilities. General education is a broad curriculum designed to meet the educational needs of all students. Special education is for special needs, while general education is for all types of learners.


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Special Education vs General Education

Students with special needs are included in the special educational system, which is why the term “special needs” is applied to students who have partial or more special abled needs.

Teachers must concentrate on individual students and tailor their lesson plans to meet the needs of each child. Their primary responsibility is to provide assistance and teaching to pupils with special needs to facilitate their participation.

General education is a concept that is frequently used to characterize the educational experience of ordinarily developing children — children who are not challenged mentally, physically, emotionally, or socially.

In contrast to special education, general education is meant to address the requirements of all kids in regular classrooms. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSpecial EducationGeneral Education
DefinitionIt was created to teach and preach to pupils who have unique needs. It is a type of education that teaches kids that have little or no special requirements.
EducatorsTeachers must possess particular abilities to cater to and manage the classroom.There are no such prerequisites.
Environment for Teaching and Learning It can be done in or out of the classroom.Restricted to the usual classroom’s interior.
Instructional TechniquesStudents are taught using a variety of special tactics that can be altered depending on the situation.Every student must adhere to the established procedure.
Methodology of Instruction A child-centered approach is applied in a specific or individual way. Not all students are taught in the same way.

What is Special Education?

Special Education programs are curriculums that are specifically intended to meet the requirements of kids who are physically, socially, emotionally, or mentally delayed, causing them to lag behind their classmates in development.

Simply said, this educational system caters to pupils with specific needs, hence the term “special needs.”

Teachers who specialize in special education must pay close attention to individual children and tailor their lesson plans to meet the needs of each kid.

Their primary responsibility is to provide assistance and teaching to pupils with special needs to facilitate their participation.

Furthermore, special education is not only restricted to being given in a traditional classroom setting. Anyone working as a special education teacher might have to work in a variety of settings, such as the standard classroom, outside the traditional classroom, resource rooms, and so on.

Outside of the typical or traditional classroom, special education students must be able to collaborate with other classmates also.

Different work settings allow for the fulfillment of the varying needs of a larger group of special needs students.

What is General Education?

The term “general education” is frequently used to express the educational experience of developing children or students, particularly those who are thought to be less mentally, emotionally, socially, or physically challenged.

In contrast to special education, general education is meant to address the requirements of all students in general classrooms.

As a result, in the general education classroom, an individual child-centered approach is not always required or fulfilled.

In general education, the educator’s primary role is to develop, plan, coordinate, schedule, and evaluate the curriculum and instructional results in a safe and inclusive classroom environment.

In short, teachers are stated to be in charge of their general classroom pupils’ growth, implementation, and evaluation.

Furthermore, kids in general education courses frequently get whole-group instruction. Lectures, writing, conversations, group projects, case studies, and individual student projects are all examples of teaching approaches.

Main Differences Between Special Education and General Education

  1. The special education system was created to meet the needs and requirements of specially-abled kids, whereas general education is the traditional education system that has been in place for years and enrolls pupils who are neither challenged nor partially challenged.
  2. Teachers in special education are hired based on their various skillsets; they are expected to know special skills through which they can communicate, such as being social or speech therapists, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, in general education, there is no such requirement for a teacher’s or educator’s special skill set. 
  3. The teaching and learning process in special education is not restricted to be in a classroom but also can be performed outside the classroom whereas comparatively, on the other hand, in the case of general education, the teaching and learning process is often restricted to the indoor classroom. 
  4. The instructional strategies used in special education are special techniques that can be used according to the needs and requirements of the students, whereas the instructional strategies used in general education, on the other hand, are required to be followed by every student in all circumstances.
  5. In special education, the teaching strategy is selective and individual attention, often known as a child-centered approach, whereas in general education, the teaching approach is not required to be individual.
Difference Between Special Education and General Education


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0360131514000682
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2307/4126967
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/42899917
  4. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/07419325020230050101
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