Making Difference Ordinary in Inclusive Classrooms
The denotative meaning of Special Education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students’ individual differences and needs. It can involve the individually planned and steadily monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials accessible settings, and other interventions designed to help individuals with special needs accomplish a higher level of personal self – sufficiency and success in school and everyday life. This will enable those students with disabilities to fully participate in the learning and social communities of the classroom. The information in this article somewhat contradicts the origin of what categorizes children with special needs or disabled.
I agree with most of the ideas suggested by the authors in this article. Most of the authors feel by having inclusive classrooms in a general education setting can and will benefit both students, with and without disabilities. Inclusion is based on the assumption that children can be helped both academically and socially in general education classroom setting. Therefore children with special needs should not be separated from students in a general education classroom this may cause them more harm than good. But bringing them together may be extremely helpful, make them more comfortable, as well as balance learning abilities and social skills.
It is suggested that this change applied to our local schools be completed gradually, obviously nothing happens overnight, and Americans are impatient people. Education is a process, and deciding to midstream students with disabilities is a very big decision, which is a challenge proposition for our NYC public school system. As discussed in the article research- based methods, conferences academic assessment and intervention should be done before making any changes. People need to become aware of what is going on. It is my educated belief that the alliance of both parents and teachers would rapidly initiate these much needed changes.
I feel strongly about implementing the inclusive classroom. There are many students who will benefit from this process. For example, there are many students who seem to be within the normal parameter but may have special distinctive disability issues. However, if inclusion system is applied the child will be able to receive their intervention needs. A side benefit would be, the special needs child would develop some of the behavioral characteristics of the so- called normal student, as well as a sense of positive self esteem, and less stigmatization of being separated. The typically developing student may also benefit in relation to becoming more caring with regards to being able to develop the ability to show empathy. The authors explained, “If inclusion is to be successful, a goal for all classrooms must be to expand this circle of tolerance so that a broader range of behaviors are tolerated and provided for through supports that an ordinary part of the school day.” The author and I share the same views about inclusive classrooms.
In the book, “Creating an Inclusive School,” 2nd Edition Villa & Thousand states that,
Even after inclusion is operationally defined, it remains an elusive term. Part of the confusion arises from assumptions associated with inclusion- that it is a program or that it is a research- devised strategy. The underlying assumption, however, is that inclusion is a way of life – a way of living together-- that is based on a belief that each individual is valued and belongs.
Indeed, the author pin-points the actual target and my personal views of “Inclusion Concept” are the sooner it is implemented the more positive impact it would have on our students.
Mc Leskey, J & Waldron, N. (2007). Making Differences Ordinary in Inclusive Classrooms, pp. 162-172
Thousand, J. S. & Villa, R.A. Creating an Inclusive School, 2nd Edition, pp.1- 8