Inclusion

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I'm interested in hearing what teachers think about inclusion and what needs to be done to make inclusion work well. Before this semester, I was a fan of inclusion because I thought it meant a few students with IEPs in a general education classroom with another teacher or an aide. I am student teaching two 8th grade classes and one is an inclusion class with 50% students with IEPs. They did not split up students with IEPs because they only have money for one aide. We also do not have a co-teacher because the teacher is dual certified. I'm so frustrated by this situation because I feel like the general education students are getting so much less out of the class. We are unable to do any challenging examples with this class because a lot of the class is getting confused and we have to go so slow, but many of the general ed students are getting sooo bored. In the other class, we were able to go through notes quickly and work on some challenging examples with negative numbers. Many students in this class have very low reading levels so my mentor does not want to do contextual problems. I feel like my job is to provide support to all students, not just the special ed students. I'm not sure how I can challenge every student in the class right now because I feel like we are supporting the special ed students but not the other students. I'm going to talk to my mentor about whether I can look through IEPs or get a list of each student and their specific needs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    That is NOT inclusion. That is a school district saving money by having a teacher with dual certification.
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Yes, that is definitely what has happened. There are so many issues with this school and they really aren't serving the students. I am not a huge fan of tracking, but I think it would be better for the students if they just grouped them by ability for each class so we could better meet their needs if we can't split up the special education students.
     
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  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Honestly, I have been around since the rise in popularity of inclusion, and I was very familiar with a case in NJ where the parents of a student with Down's Syndrome pushed for inclusion not for the academics, but for the social interaction. Let's say that from that understandable begining there are many educational scenarios that are lumped under "inclusion" which I don't favor. It was always a point of contention when taking the TOSD classes. I am fairly certain that it can work, but feel it doesn't work as well or often as people would like to believe. I do favor co-teaching, but feel that having one teacher with 2 endorsements is not ideal, personally. FYI, my son is an ESL co-teacher in a HS, and I believe that in that setting, it works quite
    well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    As a student teacher, getting a better understanding of their individual IEP goals is a great idea and you should look into that. It's also the whole point of inclusion. How are you and your cooperating teacher meeting these goals?

    I'm just fine with inclusion. I think it's a great idea when it's done thoughtfully.

    However, on a personal note, I would wager that over half my class this year has or very easily could have IEPs and 504s. It gets hard without the right support. At some point, it seems the class has gone from the inclusion class to a glorified SPED class.
     
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  7. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    A lot of my students have a lot of difficulties reading. Many are reading at a 3rd grade level and they are in 8th grade. I know that our students with very high needs (about 4 of them) have communication disabilities. A lot of the kids in this class are doing math at a 3rd or 4th grade level as well. My mentor teacher is differentiating by giving different kids different worksheets during class. I'm wondering if this is what I should be doing as well next semester. During direct instruction, she does easier examples for the inclusion class. Behavior is a huge issue and a lot of our time is spent handling behavior of some of the sped kids. I am asking her if I can look at IEPs before next semester.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  8. Been There

    Been There Companion

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    Unfortunately, this class does not provide the proper setting conducive to your developing the foundation skills that every student teacher needs to have. In a perfect world, inclusion may hold some merit - however, in a dysfunctional school such as the one you describe, it is merely a "pie in the sky" concept. Factors such as class size, teacher training/attitude, classroom size and equipment, # of those with IEPs, administrative support (school/district level), availability of an aide and available supplementary curriculum materials determine the success or failure of implementing an inclusion model.

    If it isn't too late, talk to your university supervisor and ask for a change of school placement. If that isn't an option, make the best of the situation by concentrating on what you can learn from the experience. You might even maintain a list or a daily log of everything that takes place (or not) that will be useful for your student teacher reports.
     
  9. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I don't want to change my placement now because my mentor is amazing and I have gotten to know the students well. My mentor gives me a lot of support and is a really kind person. Even when my lesson yesterday didn't go well, she didn't blame me and still found positives. I think she'll write me a great reference. She does her very best in the situation that she is in, but this is her first year teaching general ed. She is used to teaching special ed and prefers spec ed so she's not used to the challenges of managing a class, etc. I have friends in my placement who are in schools where the teacher doesn't even teach, kids are always on their phones, the teacher can't get the class to be quiet ever during instruction, etc. and my situation is much better than that. I'm just wondering how I can teach this class and still meet 8th grade math standards. It seems horribly unfair to the gen ed kids. I will be teaching linear functions next semester so if anyone has resources on this topic that is challenging yet accessible that would be great as well.
     
  10. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Rookie

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    I have yet to see it work correctly. I understand the idea behind it, but I don't think it works. I think tracking is better. Put kids of like abilities together so they can learn what they need. If all the students are two levels behind in reading, then put them together. Give them the same texts as the other kids, just at their reading level, and work them up to where they're supposed to be. When you have a student in 12th grade who doesn't know what the words "ornament" and "submit" mean, and those have to become vocabulary terms, how does that prepare the kid who knows what those words mean? Tracking should not be to pigeonhole kids into a future, but to provide them with the skills they need to succeed.
     
  11. Been There

    Been There Companion

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    Do you have computers available in your classroom? Is there a projector and screen in the room? If you do have this equipment, this is what I would recommend. Show your class instructional video from sites such as Khan Academy (Mr. Khan does an excellent job with the distrib. property) and MathTV. Advanced students can then be allowed to work independently using these videos while you continue working with the others who unable to tackle the 8th grade math standards.

    Use the same procedures and explanations from Khan Academy with the lower students. Then when you are observed again, you and your students will be on the same page! If you find it helpful, watch these videos at home to prepare for delivering the same lessons in class the next day. You can use your laptop and project lessons onto the screen for the lower group while advanced students are busy working on the computers.

    Depending on how it is set up at your school, you might be able to send the advanced group to the computer lab to work while you remain in the classroom teaching the lower group. Of course, this might only be possible once in a while due to other classes using the lab and whether or not you are required to send another adult to supervise the students. In some schools there is a computer teacher in the lab who is available to supervise the class.
     
  12. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    Ideally we would differentiate, but given a choice of teaching to the top or teaching to the bottom, I would teach to the top every time.
     
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  13. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I am a gen ed inclusion teacher this year. I teach all subjects to fight grade, and my special education partner comes in for two hours a day—one for reading one for math. I have done co-teaching before where it didn’t work, but this year it is working, and I can’t imagine it any other way!

    We use parallel teaching for math. The class is in four groups, and we each see two groups a day. We teach the same skill to each group, but our lessons and practice vary due to the needs of the group. We regroup the students as needed, and always when we move on to new topics (ie long division after a multiplication unit). All students are given the same exit ticket so we can assess daily progress.
     
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  14. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    How do you teach a grade-level skill when, for example, students are completely deficient in a more basic skill? How do you help a student comprehend multiplication when they don't comprehend counting?
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    What do you do about the kids at the bottom then? (I'm not trying to be rude--I'm just wondering what this would look like in a classroom with so many sped students.)
     
  16. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    My experience with inclusion is largely negative, as our teachers suffer through classes with violent, out-of-control kids who need to be in self-contained rooms, but are not, because doing so costs more money than our legislators will allow.

    In Indiana, inclusion is little more than an euphemism for cost cutting at the expense of education, with the added benefit of driving teachers from the field.

    What could be done? Raise revenue for education. Since that does not benefit the wealthiest of Americans, it will never happen.
     
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  17. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    What needs to be done and what's in the best interest of the students may not be allowed to be done, but the kids who are severely deficient need to be separated to work on the preliminary skills. It's not helping anyone to teach math that's over their heads and not meeting the needs of the on-level kids either. One group doesn't understand and the other doesn't learn. I've seen firsthand what happens when students are passed on without grasping the basics. That's how I ended up explaining ratios and percentages to a college junior.

    One thing that may help is a verbal or written explanation step by step in paragraph form. Part of the confusion in math is not understanding what numbers are or where they're coming from in an equation. E.g., The equation for a line is y=mx+b or the y axis point is the slope times the x point plus b, which is the y-intercept. The slope is rise divided by run. The y-intercept is where on the vertical y-axis the line crosses. *I don't teach math, so there may be flaws in my explanation * Then practice finding each individual variable independently until they can plug it all into the equation and solve.

    Personally, I've haven't had trouble with inclusion, but then again, I teach music. My non-SPED kids were more hassle than my SPED students. I'm also in favor of flexible tracking.
     
  18. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Then prepare to get called to the carpet for not doing enough for your SPED kids since they are the only ones that anyone looks at when it comes to state certification and rankings. That is the exact problem we are facing my district right now. Inclusion has been an abject failure in every possible way.

    Who cares if it is actually good for the kids, right?
     
  19. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    What's the movie, "Stand and Deliver"? The students will rise to the expectations. Will the lower kids get As? Absolutely not. But will they get low Bs or Cs, and leave the class after being exposed to some higher level content? Absolutely. I also find that behavioral issues lessen when things are slightly more challenging. When things are too easy for the kids, that's their cue to fool around.
     
  20. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    Who says teaching to the top=not doing enough for SPED kids? I feel things can be done to help SPED kids achieve at a higher level, without resorting to making the class easier.
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    ^^
    Honestly, I think the disruptions during my lesson were because it was too challenging for the sped kids so they were getting frustrated.
     
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