Inclusion

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

  1. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Dec 6, 2017

    My district SpEd director let us (site administrators) know that we will be rolling out inclusion (push in) services over the next few years.

    I am not looking forward to it. Many (most?) of our SpEd kiddos need a small group setting with minimal distractions. Putting them in a regular ed classroom with up to 32 students is not what’s best for them.

    As a teacher, I would not have wanted a SpEd provider co-teaching with me. It’s nothing personal—it’s just not my style to have someone teaching alongside me. Additionally, if the SpEd teacher is going to be pulling the student to a table for small group help within the Gen Ed classroom, why not just take the student back to the SpEd classroom and work on the lesson there?

    Furthermore, I went to school to be a gen ed teacher. I am not trained to teach children with specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional disturbance, etc.

    Maybe I’m completely misunderstanding inclusion. Maybe I’m judging it before giving it a chance. Maybe I’m being a Negative Ned. All I know is that I can completely understand my teachers’ apprehension and frustration.
     
  2. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    This is quite an interesting thread because the concept of inclusion runs counter to everything I know about education. We have different grades because it is assumed that education is a process that builds upon itself. You don't put elementary school students into high school unless they have proved that they are capable of comprehending the material.

    I understand that there are supposed benefits to putting students with learning disabilities in with normal students, but from my experience, I get enough of that because the filters we use to assign students to particular classes and grades are not perfect.

    There's always that one (or three) student in the back of the class who routinely needs extra attention, and I have my ways of handling those types of students, but to actually force this on me and my usually well-mannered students seems to be madness.

    Would anybody care to make the case for "inclusion" as a productive strategy?
     
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  3. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    Dec 6, 2017

    I'm not an expert, but one of my students joined an inclusion classroom about 2 years ago. All of his teachers say that his confidence has absolutely skyrocketed as a result and he has gained valuable social skills.
     
  4. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    I'm sure there are always individual successes. Your student could very well have been improperly classified due to the economic incentives for schools to improperly classify students in order to receive extra funds that the IDEA provide for students who qualify.

    Who determines whether a student qualifies for IDEA?
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Comrade

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    I'm just saying that confidence and social skills are likely a benefit for many kids. This student has very high needs and a documented disability so I doubt he was improperly classified.
     
  6. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    A classification under IDEA requires documentation of a disability, so the only thing I have to go on is that this student has very high needs.

    It's not that I'm disagreeing with your assessment of your student and how being put into an "inclusion" class helped. It's just that anecdotal evidence is not exactly what I was hoping for when I asked for an explanation as to the theory behind inclusion.

    Sure, confidence and social skills are a benefit for anybody. If I didn't have confidence, I would find all you teachers quite intimidating. With no social skills, I would have been banned the day I joined this forum because so much of what you guys talk about seem to be the height of folly to me, as this inclusion business seems to me.

    As I explained, we have different grades because education builds upon itself, but inclusion seems to be saying that putting elementary school kids in with college students is a good way to classify students, because intellectual ability is not taken into account with inclusion.

    I'm assuming that intellectual ability is different for SPED students, so inclusion is the same as putting a first grader into a fifth grade class.

    Am I wrong?
     
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  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Dec 6, 2017

    Not entirely, but it's far more complex than the black and white decision you're trying to make inclusion. Intellectual ability is most certainly taken into account. Things like motivation, work stamina, family support, social skills, etc. are also considered. I've had children with genius IQs who can't hack it in a Gen Ed room. I've also had children who technically borderline on being classified as cognitively delayed...and they were very successful in a typical setting with the right accommodations.

    I have very mixed feelings about inclusion, but the research shows that students with IEPs grow faster when they're in the Gen Ed setting. Maybe they have more peer models or opportunities for a more robust curriculum...I'm not sure...but my personal experience confirms this. My current school practices almost all inclusion and the kids I get are much more well-adjusted than I've ever seen, academically and socially.

    That being said, I don't believe in blanket inclusion, and I don't believe in inclusion without the right supports/resources. (For teachers AND students!)
     
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  8. Belch

    Belch Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2017

    Okay, well an IEP ((I'm still trying to work my way around this alphabet soup that American teachers use) means an individualized education program. This means that you need to have a teacher focus on that IEP, rather than getting up there and teaching a classroom full of basically equals.

    In other words, an IEP student in a class of 20 or 30 some students is going to necessarily take the teacher's attention away from the majority of students in order to focus on that one student. Throw a few more into the mix, and that just multiplies the problems by taking the teacher's time away from the class as a whole to focus upon individual students.

    I understand that I'm perhaps seeing things in black and white, but for me, I have to deal with my whole class, and putting a few or twenty special education students into my class means I'm going to have far less time for my other students.

    So yes, I understand that IDEA provides funds to provide an extra teacher into the classroom, but that's just two classes in a single classroom.

    Why do we bother with walls? Would not a single auditorium filled with all of the teachers and all of the students in a single large room not provide the same thing that inclusion theory says works?

    I'm sorry, but I think we have different grades and classes and schools for a reason, and that reason is because of differeing abilities. If I have a class of 40 students, I want to reach all 40, and that means no inclusion.
     
  9. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2017

    I know this was directed at the OP, but basically, you're saying that the on point kids and the advanced kids don't need a teacher, and so send them to watch videos? Just because they are where they should be doesn't mean they don't need help, or need challenges. So, kids are penalized for not having disabilities? I'm sorry if I sound offended, but I hate when people tell me to focus on the struggling learners and don't worry about the others--they'll take care of themselves. My son is a good example. He is one of the advanced kids. He gets bored in class because the teacher goes too slow for him--so, he starts reading or doing puzzles, and forgets to finish work or doesn't turn it in--not because it's not done, but because he finished 5 math questions in 5 minutes, but half of the class took 30, and the teacher was working with them. How is he getting an education? He should be challenged.

    This is why inclusion doesn't work. Yes, some students benefit, but not most. If they can't write a cohesive paragraph, they have no business analyzing Shakespeare. And that is where I am at in my 12th grade class. I have students who can't understand a 3rd grade reading passage, but they are expected to deeply analyze works by Shakespeare and Hawthorne and Dickinson. Why? Because it's in the curriculum. Should they not be introduced to those ideas? Maybe not--because isn't our purpose to make sure they can function outside of school.
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Dec 7, 2017

    The state of California.
     
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  11. Attiqa Batool

    Attiqa Batool Rookie

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    Dec 7, 2017

    Can somebody suggest any idea about Innovative use of technology in project making at early years?
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Dec 7, 2017

    This has been a good thread to read. Inclusion in my mind does exist for a) providing the experience and benefits of the regular classroom to the SPED students b) streamlining services.

    But, yeah, it's interesting to think about it from a just-simplify-everything-and-do-your-best perspective, and that leaves me scratching my head.
     
  13. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Dec 7, 2017

    Legal disability encompasses a wide range of functional ability. I am visually impaired, so I qualify under ADA and IDEA even though I function in a classroom with almost no modifications. I needed to not have scantron tests; that's it. I was hardly unable to succeed nor did I pull attention from non-IEP students. It was the same for my brother with dysgraphia. IDEA eligibility does not in any way predict actual needs and potential performance.

    I think you're not understanding the difference between inclusion as it's intended to be and inclusion as it's been implemented in some places. Pedagogically speaking, inclusion does not demand that students who are 5 years behind grade level be placed in classes with on-level peers. In those situations, children are often mainstreamed for art, music, and gym in order to foster social skills. Inclusion demands that students with special needs are allowed access to mainstream classes when appropriate, like my friend's autistic brother who had language delays but was a math whiz. He joined us for math because he was on par with skills, but not for reading. He was included in any homeroom activities like any other student. That's how it's supposed to work, but not necessarily how it's been implemented. Inclusion is cheaper and parents often fight for inclusion when it's not the best choice for their child. Then we get into racial/socioeconomic biases and things get ugly. Also keep in mind that there are wide ranges of ability amongst our non-IEP kids. In some cases, kids who don't have IEPs are behind kids who do.
     
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  14. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2017

    Another thing with inclusion...I've taught ICS HS math in algebra 2 and geometry with a few different people, and I've yet to have a special education co-teacher who was competent in math. I've had co-teachers teach kids the wrong thing, and I've had to step in to correct it. The best ones, unfortunately, have been the ones who just keep the kids on task and stay away from the math.
     
  15. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2017

    So they are telling you that the SpEd teacher will co-teach? But will they? We've been told that, but when the day comes, the child with special needs arrives alone. Every time.

    Having a child in the room who should not be there, who is in an inappropriate setting, not only hurts that one child, but every other child, as well. When lessons are sabotaged by outrageous behavior and violence, you begin to question why you even bother to teach at all.

    Hopefully, your situation works out for the best.
     
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  16. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    Dec 7, 2017

    nah
     
  17. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Rookie

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    Dec 8, 2017

    This. In every school I've worked at, inclusion for the most part is across the board. I had an autistic boy several years ago, fairly severe, but not severe enough for self-contained. Nice boy, but would get very agitated with large crowds and loud noises (the class he was in). He could function in art, but not the other classes, but he was mainstreamed in all the others. Guess what--he graduated with honors--why--because for every five assignments done in class, he would do half of one and was given an A for it. Last time I had a student with something like dyslexia or dysraphia was five years ago--all my students now are not in that boat--they are simply behind, but because they have an IEP, they are put in inclusion.
     
  18. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Dec 8, 2017

    strong retort.
     
  19. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    When Amy and I agree on something you know it is a problem. It isn't enough to make me quit yet but I'm frustrated this year and I do have colleagues who I respect who are ready to quit because they are tired of being beat up for "not doing enough" for their SPED kids despite having 35 kids in class and no training.
     
  20. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Comrade

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    Dec 8, 2017

    It got the job done.
     

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