Essay, Research Paper: Inclusion

Education

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Within the past decades and a half considerable discussion has occurred
regarding the most appropriate setting within which to provide education for
students in special education. Although the change in the educational
environment is significant for handicapped student the concepts of inclusion
also bring up new issues for the regular education classroom teachers. The
movement toward full inclusion of special education students in general
education setting has brought special education to a crossroad and stirred
considerable debate on its future direction. Proponents of full inclusion argue
that the needs of students in general education. The problems dealing with
children who have special needs have been the subject of much educational
research and findings have helped educators provide programs and services for
many children who otherwise would not have been helped. Full inclusion is
"an approach on which students who are disabled or at risk receive all
instruction in a regular classroom setting" (Hardman, Drew, Egan, &
Wolf, 1993). Inclusion is more effective when students with special need are
placed in a general education classroom after adequate planning. Inclusion does
not mean unilateral changes in student's placements without appropriate
preparation. In 1990's, inclusion appears to be emerging terminology of advise
to describe educating students in special education. P. L. 94-142 (1975) in
effect, reinforced a separate special educational system to meet the educational
needs of children identified as having a disability. A cornerstone of the
federal law (reauthorized in 1990 as the federal law (reauthorized in 1990 as
the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA) is that students with
disabilities should receive an appropriate education in the least restrictive
environment (LRE0 until recently, courts favored conclusions that the most
appropriate education for students with extensive disabilities would most likely
occur in segregate setting that had more resources and special help. But as we
approach the 21st century, advocates are still concerned about discrimination
and the courts have been rethinking the need for physical inclusion to enhance
the opportunities for learning from students who do not have disabilities.
Inclusion is not a program that a school system should consider as a way to save
money. To do it right will cost more money. However, the pay off for all
students is likely to be worth the extra cost. We have found that in most cases'
students with special needs who are included are achieving at far higher levels
than they did in segregated classrooms. We have also found them blossoming
socially, and many have developed real friendship with children in their
neighborhoods. In additions, all students with special needs who are included
are achieving at for higher levels than they did in segregated classrooms. We
have also found them blossoming socially, and many have developed real
friendship with children in their neighborhoods. In addition, all students have
benefitted from having such extra supports as curricular adaptations, study
aids, and more individualized assistance. All students are learning that
everyone brings strengths and needs to every situation. They are learning about
conflict resolutions and the importance of being responsible. Things that were
stumbling blocks at first have become benefits. For example, greater
collaboration among teachers and other staff members has allowed them to share
skills and resources and has led to the improvement of all instruction. We no
longer have regular education supplies and special education supplies. We simply
have educational supplies, and money has been reallocated to reflect that.
Morever, we no longer have the needs for a large fleet of special education
buses to bus students out of their home attendance areas for a particular
special education class. Our school system did not increase funding during two
years of inclusion; we operated on a frozen budget. Though costs have now
increased as more schools in our division have begun to adopt inclusion, our
per-pupil expenditures for students with special need are still less than those
of most neighboring school system, especially those that bus students to other
schools and those that pay tuition for students with special needs to attend
school in other school districts. We also found ways to reallocate resource
despite the fact that Virginia allocates special education funds categorically
and not according to inclusion models. We have found that, through writing
waivers, we can please teachers in cross-categorical positions so that they may
consult from school to school on student needs a cost comparison of
self-contained versus inclusive programs in our system showed that, with the
latter, money could be saved on classroom equipment, transportation,
instructional materials and mobile classrooms. With the recent passage of the
Americans with Disabilities Act and the continuing success stories emerging from
inclusion programs around the county, we believe that our school reflect a
society that is ready to embrace all children regardless of abilities or
disabilities so that they can be educated together and learn to value one
another as unique individuals. Those schools that continue to struggle to keep
students with disabilities out of general education classrooms should seriously
consider investing their time, effort, and money instead in the creation of
environment that welcome all students. What was learned from this journey?
First, they learned that they could succeed in general classes, as did other
at-risk students and students with disabilities. The general and special
educators learned several teaching procedures that worked under a co-teaching
argument. The school staff learned that inclusion would not succeed unless major
changes were made in terms of the content that was taught, the methods used to
assess competence, and the support provided to teachers and students when
difficulties were encountered in the general education classroom. Second, the
planning team learned that general educators at Clayton High School were
reluctant to give up teaching content for leaning strategy instruction,
particularly if the class was a heterogeneous class designed for average to
above-average students. Teachers, at Clayton High School received tremendous
latitude in making decisions about curriculum, they still felt pressure to teach
certain core skills and competencies and to keep expectations at a very high
level. Thus, the teachers found that students with disabilities needed more
intensive instruction and many more practice opportunities to master leaning
strategies than did typical students. This type of instruction requires time
that is often not available in general education classes. Given the limitation
of the general education classroom, the Clayton High staff not believes that the
ideal plan for inclusion is to teach students with disabilities strategies in
the resource room and teach all students a brief, adapted version of relevant
strategies in general education classes. This approach provides instruction in
strategies for all students while providing a review for students with
disabilities, was are more likely to use the strategy because it is part of the
general education curriculum. Foremost among this positive outcomes was the
marked increase in collaboration among the staff. Specifically, the staff at
Clayton High realized the importance of developing a support system for all
at-risk students to ensure that inclusion would be successful for low-performing
students as well as students with disabilities. Therefore, a training center was
conceptualized that would provide leaning strategy and study skills instruction
and tutoring for all students. The following year, the remedial teacher and
their teaching interns opened the Mark Twain Learning Center. IN addition,
during the use of objectives tests and use more alternative or performance-based
assessments (e.g., portfolio projects and presentations). These and others
change helped students with disabilities and low-achieving students experience
success in regular classes. What was learned from this journey? First, the
learned that they could succeed in general classes, as did other at-risk
students and students with disabilities. The general and special educations
learned several teaching procedures that worked under a co-teaching arrangement.
The school staff learned that inclusion would succeed unless major changes were
made in terms of the content that was taught the methods used to assess
competence and the support provided to teachers and students when difficulties
were encountered in the general education classroom. Second, the planning team
learned that general education at Clayton High were reluctant to give up
teaching content for leaning strategy instruction, particularly the class was
designed for average to above average students. Although teachers at Clayton
High received tremendous latitude in making decisions about curriculum, they
still felt pressure to teach certain core skills and competencies and to keep
expectations at a very high level. However, they were willing to integrate brief
instruction in related study skills and were especially enthusiastic about the
use of content enhancement routines. Third, the teachers found that students
with disabilities needed more intensive instruction and many more practice
opportunities to master leaning strategies than did typical students. This type
of instruction requires time that is often not available in general education
classes. Given the limitations of the general education classroom, the Clayton
High staff now believes that the idea plan for inclusion is to teach students
with disabilities strategies in the resource students with disabilities
strategies in the resource room and then teach all students a brief, adapted
version of relevant strategies in general education classes. This approach
provides instruction in strategies for all students, while providing a review
for students with disabilities who are then more likely to use strategy, because
it is part of the general education curriculum. Finally, the teachers discussed
- as many other educators and researchers have concluded that detracting and
inclusion of students with mild disabilities in regular classes require
extensive planning. Many of these students have had significant learning and
behavioral disabilities. The faculty has always been and continues to be a group
of hard-working dedicated competent professionals who care about students and
are willing to make adaptations and modifications for the benefit of students.
However, even this group of professionals could not make detaching or inclusion
work for everyone without significant changes in teaching and assessment methods
and in support system. Inclusion can work but only if it is supported inclusion.
Successfully including students with mild disabilities at the secondary level
requires both administrative and instructional adjustment. In the two cases,
studies presented here, teachers received considerable time for planning and
managing administrative support throughout the change process. Changes require
considerable time and effort. The instructional program was characterized by a
high level of collaboration among general and special education teachers,
specifying a scope and sequence of learning strategy instruction across classes
and grades, and a commitment to alter what and how content was delivered in the
general education classroom through the use of various content enhancement
routines. In short, successful inclusion of students with learning disabilities
withing the general education classroom was realized only when the set of
instructional conditions associated with the notion of supported inclusion was
met. This case study describes the educational experiences of students with
learning disabilities (LD) who were included full-time in general education
classes in one elementary school in Virginia. Date for two students with LD were
collected through observations, interviews, and record reviews. The students
were observed in reading, mathematics, and science classes. Interviews were
conducted with the principal, the special education supervisor, one special
education teaches, two general education teachers, two students, and two
parents. The review of student records provided information on achievement
levels, referral information, and IEP goals. Descriptions of the context for
inclusion, the model of including the role of special education teachers, and
students' educational experiences were included in the case report. Valley
Elementary School was one of 32 elementary schools in Volunteer County School
District, a district serving over 47,000 students. The principal described their
program as: A decentralized special education program in this school system. We
have one school board for all general education and special education. The
process in volunteer works this way, I mean, if a child is referred for possible
evaluation, the referral comes right here. Every building has a designated
special education coordinator. The referral goes to the special education
coordinator and that person will bring the case before the child-study team for
the screening components. A decision in made at the point as to whether or not
to proceed to full evaluation and we are in control of those evaluations
totally. Every school has educational diagnosticians available at least
part-time and school psychologists . . . So we are in control of those
components and we take it all the way through to eligibility in writing of the
IEP and if the child needs to go, say, to a central program that is not in my
building, we simply all the principals of the school down the road that has the
EMR class or the Ed self-contained class and we say, "we have got one
coming to you." Nothing goes through the central office. It is a lot of
work, but it puts all of those services to the customer, to the parent, and it
gives us control. The collaborative teaching model at Valley Elementary School
was developed locally, without university involvement, from inspiration and
training provided by staff in the country special education offices. The
collaborative teaching model was implemented initially at the high school level,
then expanded to several elementary schools in the county. The special education
supervisor explained: "It started in secondary because there was a real
need for a secondary program. The institutional specialist for learning
disabilities had been looking at trying to find a way to improve the secondary
program. This, the collaborative teaching model one of the special education
options available to students with LD in Volunteer County School District. The
principal reported that at Valley School they moved into a collaborative
teaching model slowly, beginning only with fifth grades (in 19988), then serving
only third and fourth grades (in 1990). By 1991, however, the program had
expanded to include third, fourth, and fifth grades. The collaborative teaching
model provided full-time services in general education classes for students with
LD who had been served in a resource program. Only 23 of the 40 students with LD
and two of the seven special education teachers were involved in the
collaborative learning disabilities programs in this school: the remaining
students with LD and students with other disabilities who attended this school
were taught in resource rooms and self-contained classes by the remaining five
special education teachers. The students with LD in the collaborative program
were all assigned to the general education teachers were co-teaching. The
collaborative teaching model, strategy training was a central component.
Accommodating individual student needs was identified as a second important
component of the collaborative teaching model. Local personnel in Virginia
developed an inclusion model to improve services for students with LD. The
collaborative teaching model they chose involved placing into the mainstream
students whose IEP goals could be met in a special education teacher committed
to changing her role, and a general education teacher volunteering to
participate in the collaboration. The model was implemented in only one class
per grade level, and only three grade levels in the elementary school reflecting
the perceived current needs of the school. School personnel reported that the
success of the model was contingent on having personnel who believe in the
model. The collaborative teaching approach was part of a continuum of services
available to students with LD in the district. Students with LD were clustered
into age-appropriate classes at each grade level so that a special education
teacher could team teach with a small number of general education teachers for
90 minutes per day. The in-class services consisted mostly of instruction on
learning strategies. The majority of the school day of the target students with
LD was spent as part of the general education group. Full inclusion occur when a
child with disability learns in a general education classroom alongside his or
her age mates with all the necessary supports. These supports are provided
through extensive teamwork and communication. Moreover, in providing these
supports school must always consider the best interests of the student with
disabilities, his or her peers, and all the members of the inclusion team,
including the special educator, the general educator, parents, building
administrators, therapists, and other support personnel whatever, else it maybe,
inclusion should never be seen as a money-saving option for a school or district
under inclusion, no support services are taken away from students; indeed, even
more support maybe required to enable a student to function optimally in the
general education classroom. An individual child's educational program is
developed and owned by all team members. These are not a single expert, but a
team of experts who contribute interdependently to each child's program. We have
our support for the philosophy of inclusion on three fundamental arguments.
First, we believe that inclusion has a legal base. The great majority of court
cases have not upheld the traditional practice of segregating students with
special educational needs. Many cases are still pending but it is unusual to
pick up an education journal today without seeing some references to inclusion
and the legal mandates that support the practice. The bottom line of the
argument for inclusion is that each child has a legal right to an equal
opportunity to obtain an education in the "least restrictive
environment" possible. For many advocates of inclusion, the fight for
inclusion has become a civil rights issue in the segregated programs are seen to
be inherently unequal and a violation of the rights of students with special
education needs. A second argument for inclusion rests on the results of
research on best practices. Research continues to show that students who are not
pulled out do better than those who are segregated. Analyses of segregated
special education programs indicate that they have simply not worked. Despite
increases in spending and the growth of the special education bureaucracy,
children in segregated special education programs have not shown the growth that
was predicted. Finally, but perhaps most important, a strong moral and ethnical
argument can be made for the "rightness" of inclusion: it is the best
thing to do for the students. Segregating students the day in any way is not
good: it classifies, it creates bias, and it makes them different. Schools are a
reflection of the communities they serve, and so all members of those
communities should be a part of the schools. Students with special needs are a
part of our communities, and with the inclusion philosophy, we can make them
more and more a part of our school communities. We need to learn from one
another in our schools so that we can do the same in our communities. In the
future, students majoring in education are likely to regard the practice of
segregating students with special needs in much the same as we look upon racial
segregation before the 1960's. The Role of the Special Education Teacher: When
inclusion was first initiated in some school systems, the myth existed that
special educators would no longer be needed since the children once taught in
separate classrooms would be in general education classrooms. This is very far
from the truth. Indeed, the role of the special educator is crucial. The special
education ran act as the case manager for his or her students, facilitating team
meetings and planning sessions. He or she is responsible for determining the
curricular adaptations that may need to be in place on a daily or weekly basis
and for facilitating the development by parents and team members of
individualized education program (IEP) throughout the year and is usually the
liaison with the therapists. The special educator should also be involved in
actively developing and participating in planning and supports sessions
involving the classmates of the child with a disability. These sessions are
necessary to the success of the child who is included. Peers need to understand
the unique aspects of their classmate to learn fact, not myths: to learn how to
interact with their classmate: and to develop empathy and respect for that
person. The job description could literally go on and on but the most important
role the special educator takes on is that of team playing especially in
supporting the classroom teacher. Inclusion does not mean that a child never
receives separate instruction in skills or functional routines. However, if a
child is to receive separate instruction, it should be a valuable experience
that can only be done outside the classroom. For example, if a child needs
intensive reading instruction in a small group or even one-to-one, this
instruction should be built into his or her schedule at an appropriate time
(e.g., during the language arts period). Such specialized instruction maybe
provided by a general educator, a special education, or an instructional
assistant. Some educators argue that students with significant physical
disabilities or with intellectual disabilities cannot learn functional life
skills in a general education environment. If a student needs to work on toilet
skills, the type of classrooms he or she is in makes not differences. Bathrooms
can be found in the school building, and these skills can be worked on there at
natural or scheduled times of the day. Similar advise applies for mealtimes
skills, grooming skills, and many other skills that may be priority areas on
some children's IEP. Community living and vocational skills can also be a part
of students' schedules, as long as they are skills that the parents and team
members have identified as being necessary and relevant. We have also had the
opportunity to work with included children who face behavioral challenges. This
is the most controversial and unsettling aspect of inclusion. No matter what
environment a child is in, behavioral challenges are constant and
time-consuming. This in nothing new to public schools or to special education.
The fact is if teachers put a group of children together who demonstrate
challenging behaviors these behaviors will tend increase and become more intense
through imitation and an effort to attract more attention. If teachers wait for
a child to be "ready" to move into an inclusive setting by expecting
his or her behavior to improve in a segregated environment that day may never
come. The "readiness theory" is a myth. Children with challenging
behavior need positive role models, structure, and specific behavioral plans
based on natural rewards and contingencies that are designed to replace negative
behavior with positive ones. The Role of Classroom Teacher: To be successful in
an inclusive setting, a general education teacher must believe that students
with disabilities can learn successfully and deserve the opportunity to learn in
age-appropriate classrooms. We continue to celebrate the abundant leaning that
takes place among classmates of all abilities in classrooms throughout our
school. We see students with disabilities learning alongside their nondisabled
peers in an environment in which support is provided and a real feeling of
communist exists. Students in an inclusive setting develop a new sense of
understanding and respect for one another and for human differences. Classroom
teachers who do not lower their expectations continue to be amazed at what
students can achieve in a risk-free environment where differences. Classroom
teachers who do not lower their expectation continue to be amaze at what
students can achieve in a risk-free environment where differences are recognized
and celebrated. Members of the class get to know one another, talk about likes
and dislikes, and start to realize that they are all equal members of the
classroom community. There are many components to such a community classroom,
and more important, we have found that strategies that are effective for
inclusion tend to benefit all learners, regardless of their abilities or
disabilities. Effective discipline strategies must be in lace, and part of any
successful discipline strategy are the settings of realistic and positive goals
for students. With realistic goals in place for individuals, appropriate
classroom behaviors thrive. When students recognize the appropriateness
trustworthy and confident. Cooperative leaning is a noncompetitive teaching
strategy that works well in an inclusive classroom. Through the activities of
cooperative learning groups, each student can play an equal part in classroom
activity. The roles of group members need to be define clearly and all members
of the group must participate, allowing each student to make a contribution to
the learning member are clearly important, and each student can feel valued even
as a student develops needed interpersonal skills. Therefore, from the first day
of school, the classroom teacher must take ownership of included students with
special needs. These students are no longer thought of as the special education
teacher's students who have been placed in a general education classroom for a
short period. The classroom teacher should become very involved with the process
of developing of IEP and with making sure that the necessary supports and
services are provided to the included student. The student feels a real sense of
belonging in such and environment. The Role of the Principle: The principal
plays one of the most important roles in an inclusive school. Researchers have
found repeatedly that inclusion programs are not successful if the principal
does not take an active and positive role in the process. Principal cannot see
inclusion as a program that takes place only in classrooms. Inclusion must
become a school wide philosophy; it must permeate the school and become a
building block for all other programs that occur. Curriculum and Instruction: A
very important part of allowing each student to participate actively at his or
her own level and to meet individualized goals is an overlapping curriculum.
Offering different materials in the same topic but at different reading levels
has proved to be very successful. The same curriculum goals are expected of all
students, but differences are taken into account. Parent involvement has proved
vital in inclusive classrooms. Most often, if parents are informed of what is
taking place in the classroom, they will be supportive. Parents can be invited
to volunteer in the classroom, both to assist the teacher and to witness
firsthand how he or she goes about meeting the individual needs of the students.
When the classroom community is extended to include parents, greater involvement
will lead to greater success." Involving students as peer helpers for
students with disabilities is a very effective strategy. Teachers will need to
model strategies for students and allow students to be involved in
problem-solving sessions. Peer assistance and support can help nondisabled
students build and maintain relationship with their disabled peers. In a
successful inclusive classroom, the general educator, the special educator and
the instructional assistants must collaborate to meet the needs of all students
for successful collaboration to take place, the following assets are by:
Communication. Teacher who collaborate must be honest and open about concerns
and feelings. Flexibility. Teachers in inclusive classrooms must be willing
to "roll with the punches," to compromise, and to do things
differently if necessary. Shared ownership. The student with an IEP is part
of the general class and thus "belongs to" the general education
teacher. The special education teacher plays a variety of roles that support the
student and the classroom teacher. Recognition of differing needs. All
students can successful met the same curriculum goals with adaptation and
support appropriate to their individual needs. Need-based instruction.
Collaborators must be willing to plan activities that ensure success and not be
overly concerned with time lines. Willingness to be a team player. The team
must be willing to plan and work together on all issues, especially student
behavior. Dependability: Each team member must be prepared for his or her
part of all planning and lesson responsibilities. Cooperative grading. The
special education teacher and the

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