This argument is based on the notion that inclusion is more than a reorganization of an education system to fit special education students. Inclusion involves a complete overhaul, since both the regular and the special education roles and relationships will need to be changed, as well as the normal ways in which things in a classroom, school, district, and state. It is in this knowledge that, a school, district, or even a state should fully understand its dynamics prior to partaking of it.
Interestingly not many of the proponents or opponents of the concept of inclusion and mainstreaming are well versed with what inclusion and mainstreaming looks like, some even do not know the difference between partial and full inclusion. As it is, many questions need to be answered and many changes put in place if inclusion and mainstreaming are to achieve the targeted objectives.
It is this prevailing miasma of confusion prevailing on inclusion and mainstreaming issue that triggered the urge to conduct a research in view of unearthing its dynamics, strengths, weaknesses, and its future in the education system in the US. The paper will tackle many issues that define the study topic. Specifically, a thesis statement, a brief definition of the study topic, a brief history of the issue, classroom application, outline of the major philosophical assumptions that proponents and opponents hold relative to their attitudes about inclusion.
A comprehensive personal opinion/conclusion based on the studys findings and in reaction to the thesis question will be given, and at the very end of the paper will be a list of references. Thesis Statement As hinted above inclusion and mainstreaming is an issue that continues to draw a heated debate among educators, parents, school administrators, and others alike. The purpose of this paper is clear; to investigate the impacts of inclusion and mainstreaming among students with disabilities and the non-disabled students.
The measuring unit of the impact will be whether it brings classroom equality/everyone on the same page, for all the students (students with disabilities and non-disabled students) or not. Definition of the Study Topic and Terms In an educational context inclusion is taken to mean the practice of teaching special needs students in regular classes together with the other normal students all the time of the day or sometimes partially instead of them learning in special education classes.
On the other hand mainstreaming refers to the practice of educating special needs students (SEN) in regular classes during specific times of the day based on their skills. The main discrepancy between these two theories of education is that whereas inclusion involves both partial and full inclusions, in mainstreaming special education is carried outside regular classrooms, whereby students with special needs switch between regular classes and special needs classrooms they leave the regular classrooms to be given more intensive instructions.
Nevertheless, both theories are empirically embedded as they have a similar underlying philosophy that, educating children with disabilities alongside their normal counterparts induces a sense of understanding and tolerance, hence equipping them with a wide range of abilities to survive in the world beyond school. [Rodgers, 1993] Education for the special needs students in the US before 1975 was characterized by segregation and exclusion, whereby students with disabilities barely mixed in the same classrooms with non-disabled ones public schools educated a fifth of those with disabilities.
However, following the enactment of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHA) in 1975, and the ensuing amendments that also led to the change of the Acts name to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) the course of the public education was completely altered, the new law demanded that special needs students be placed in Least Restrictive Environments (LRE) in order to fully utilize fruits of equality of opportunities as provided for by the education in America.
IDEA demands that children with disabilities be educated in regular classrooms unless the nature of severity of the disability is such that education in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. And thus schools are always under obligation to endeavor to include students with disabilities in the regular general education classes.
[Reynolds, (1988)] The strengthening of the IDEA in 1997 meant that students with disabilities must be included in most state and local assessments such as the high school exit exams. Application in Classrooms Any form of segregation of education leads to the watering down of expectation of the curriculum. In order for an education system to bring everybody on the same page then, an all-inclusive classroom situation must be provided.
Whether full or partial inclusion, the teachers responsibilities often increases and therefore there is the need for teachers to acquire skills and knowledge that will help them to deal with the special needs students adequately. Shore (2005) put forth a number of common strategies that are applicable to virtually all kinds of disabilities that a teacher can apply in an inclusion class to bring everyone on the same page, these strategies are described below. [Shore (2005)]
The most important part in learning is the instruction giving, with SEN students this may seem to be a difficulty, it is therefore advisable that simple and clear instructions be given. The directions should be made of few words, and whenever possible the student should be made to repeat the directions. Sometimes if the directions are complicated a teacher may be forced to do some simple demonstrations and then let the students follow while the teacher observes them.
Again, it is wise to give the out instructions one or two at a time if they are complicated. Another rule of the thumb is scouting for a true classroom buddy and attaching them to the SEN student. The buddy should be someone who carries mature and responsible traits, and who can always provide assistance to the SEN student whenever a teacher is not around. Another version of this strategy is to place students in tables or desks whereby the students will be in apposition to help each other when problems or question arise.