Inclusion: Ensuring Every Student's Involvement in School

InclusionLori Burnett-WilliamsNorthcentral UniversityInclusionThe school environment should offer each, and every student with equal access to an interesting and engaging educational experience, that will help them to grow academically. Students should have equity, when it comes to receiving an education, in the school environment. What is equity? Equity is being fair and not showing bias for any students. All students- regardless of race, color, national origin or zip code-deserve a high-quality education that includes resources such as academic and extracurricular programs, strong teaching, technology and instructional materials, and safe school facilities (U.

S. Education, 2014). I am interested in exploring this topic, because I work in this environment every day. I ask myself is it equitable on both sides. Is both the special education students, that are included and the general education students receiving an equitable education? All students in many school districts are being included in the general education classroom, because of the IDEA clause of all students being taught in the least restrictive environment, with the many behaviors that accompany the special education students, the problem is it is difficult for all students to learn in the inclusion environment.

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In the Inclusion ClassroomFor the purposes of this paper, inclusive education simply means allowing individuals, with or without disabilities, to learn in any environment with the proper support systems (Phillips, 2017). This general education classroom consists of students with and without disabilities. According to Phillips (2017), proponents argue individuals with special needs can increase their quality of life, self-esteem, and interactions with normal peer groups when permitted to participate in inclusive educational schools.

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The classroom can be from twenty to thirty students or more. This classroom will consist of two teachers. The two teachers are the general education teacher and the special education teacher and both teachers have the responsibility for all students, in the classroom. The special education teacher is responsible for all the students in the classroom, however the special education teacher’s primary responsibility are for the special education students in the classroom.It is the responsibility of the special education teacher to review the files of each student that has an exceptionality and is labeled special education. Once the special education teacher has reviewed the files, he/she has to make sure the general education teacher is aware of each student with an exceptionality. The special education teacher has to make the general education teacher aware of supports that will aide this student in accessing the general curriculum. The general education teacher will always consult with the special education teacher if there are any questions and/or concerns for any of the special education students. The special education teacher is the expert in the classroom for the students with disabilities, just as the general education is the expert in the subject/s being taught in the classroom. Inclusive education is a process of strengthening the capacity of the education system to reach out to all learners and can thus be understood as a key strategy to achieve education for all ( The special education teacher has the responsibility of making the lesson/s or concepts of a lesson being taught accessible for the special education student to experience success, in the general education classroom, among their peers without disabilities. I am a special education teacher and work in the inclusion environment. I have worked in the inclusion environment for 8 years. According to Immicke (2017), I see the many benefits for all inclusion students-but these benefits often get overlooked, because successful inclusion can be challenging to implement. The idea of inclusion is easier said than done. The inclusion students are not always the easiest to work with, in the classroom. Academically, it is a challenge to work with the students, as well as behaviorally. If it was all academics, it would be far more easier for the teacher. On many occasions, the students not only come to the inclusion classroom with deficits academically, because of disabilities, but also with behavioral issues. The behavior issues can be a huge challenge. It is not always easy to manage the behavior and be able to teach in a positive learning environment. Students with behavior issues can impact the classroom, negatively. Students with behavioral issues can be distracting to themselves, as well as to their peers, who are trying to learn, in the classroom. The problem presents, again, with the many behaviors that accompany the special education students, in the classroom. It is sometimes difficult for all students to learn in the inclusion environment. Perspectives of the Identified ProblemEveryone has a right to an education. This is one idea that has been around for many years. Most people would agree to this idea. Not until recently, in the 1900’s, did segregation of students with disabilities began to be in the forefront of the educational system. This idea is ethical and only fair to all students. Although very ethical and fair, it has a few issues that yet has to be figured out. The inclusion has to be fair on both sides of the idea of a fair education to all students. Not only should the special education students have rights, but also do the general education students without disabilities. Social learning theory by Bandura (1977) states that observation, modeling and imitation are important means for cognitive and behavioral learning (Suleymanov, 2015). In the classes of the 21st century, this is the proper way that students should learn from other students, on the correct way to behave. It is quite the opposite, in the classroom, today. Students, today, are modeling the behavior of students that are misbehaving and distracting the learning environment. It causes for laughter to break out in the classroom, from many students, distracting the students without disabilities that want to learn. I teach in this environment every day and look in to the faces of students that want to learn, however are very disturbed with these daily distractions. The teachers must follow the IEP, to be supportive of students with disabilities and use strategies that will minimize the misbehaviors. This does not always work and destroys the positive learning environment. Misbehavior in the inclusive environment causes many students not to be able to focus, on the lesson or concept being taught. This misbehavior makes it very difficult for students who want to learn.Distractions in the Inclusive ClassroomThere are many causes to why the student with disabilities act out in the classroom. Many problems range from attention, lack of self-confidence, lack of knowledge in the subject area, very low deficits, psychological issues, and focus issues. Regardless of what the issues may be for the special education students included in the general education environment, there still has to be equity for the general education student. The general education student deserves the right to be taught in a positive learning environment, free from distractions. Many strategies are used, daily, in the classroom. The special education teacher is taught various strategies to use to address distractions in the inclusion environment. The special education teacher also has the responsibility to share that information, which is support information, with any teacher that teaches the student/s throughout the day. The teachers must be knowledgeable of the students expected or anticipated behavior and how to diffuse the actions or be proactive regarding any actions the student/s may display. On the one hand, inclusion is formulated as a vision that is, in principle, limitless (Hansen, 2012). On the other hand, there seems to be an agreement that inclusion has a limit in the pedagogical practice (Hansen, 2012). Theoretical considerations and empiral findings both agree that according to Kourkoutas, Toth, and Vitaliki, (2015), special educators and teaching staff in general should focus on developing the necessary strategies and pay the relevant attention to each child who is struggling with difficulties relevant to academic success and learning performance (Farrell, 2011). Inadvertently, the problem still exists, does so much time spent with the special education students take away from the attention or time needed for the general education students. Overall, Special Educational Needs (SEN) do not only refer to a certain group of students, such as those displaying learning difficulties, but to a wide range of social, emotional, behavioral, and developmental difficulties/disorders (Kourkoutas, Toth, and Vitaliki, 2015). The students that are identified with having special needs of lack of social skills, emotional difficulties, and behavioral issues need extensive time from the special education teacher and the general education teachers. These students are often very distractive and minimize the learning of the general education students. I don’t think general education students’ rights to a good education and a positive learning environment should be infringed upon. Yes, all students should have the right to be taught in the least restrictive environment. When I say all, I am referring to both the general education population, as well as the special education population. Shared Responsibility in Inclusion.As schools become more populated with special education students, the role of the teacher has to be one of dedication to differentiation and support of a variety of learners. Many different styles and strategies will have to be implemented, when teaching in the inclusive classroom. Inclusion will become more prominent, in the future and there must be shared responsibility amongst the staff, community, and parents. Negative attitudes of teachers, parents, the community and politicians will only cause for the inclusion environment to not be successful. All stakeholders must help to resolve educational barriers, as well as behavioral barriers, in the classroom. Stakeholder’s roles must become more important and vocal in the inclusion of special education students and general education students both deserving the right to an education, in a positive environment. Stakeholder’s Training.Stakeholders involve administration, teachers, support personnel, students, and parents. These stakeholders must have training on the best inclusive practices. This is very important in building inclusive positive communities and environments that will value the education of both general and special education students. In order for special education and general education students to be successful in the classroom together there has to be training on the differences in the groups of students and how to teach them value and respect for one another. Methodological studies built on practices in the past of various studies that were both qualitative and quantitative studies. These studies were designed to get results all over the country. Findings reported in this paper come from three recent studies conducted in Greece and Hungary (Kourkoutas, 2011; N©meth Tіth, 2014). The studies showed teachers must get training to be able to work with the special education students, effectively. Everyone that is in the special education student/s lives must be educated on various strategies and techniques to work with the students with disabilities.ReferencesBandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Florian, L. & Black-Hawkins, K. (2011). Exploring inclusive pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37, 5, 813″828.Hansen, Janne H., (2012). Limits to inclusion, International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16:1, 89-98, DoI: 10.1080/13603111003671632IMMICKE, K. (2016). Inclusion: Friend or Foe? ASHA Leader, 21(4), 8-9. Retrieved from &db=ccm&AN=114074690&site=eds-liveKourkoutas, E. (2011). Education inclusive dans les pays m©diterran©ens: R©flexions critiques sur les obstacles barrires et les perspectives. ™n . Carrozzino & P. Ruffinatto (Eds.) Dignity and effective citizenship for the person with disabilities (pp. 207-233). Roma: Nuove Frontiere.N©meth Tіth, A. (2014). Theory and practice of Inclusive Education in Hungary. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 3, 2, 1-17.Phillips, K. (2017). Inclusive Education. Research Starters: Education (Online Edition). Retrieved from F. (2015). Issues of Inclusive Education: Some Aspects to be Considered. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 3(4), 7-13. Retrieved Summer, 15, from ejie.U.S. Education Secretary Announces Guidance to Ensure All Students Have Equal Access to Educational Resources. (2014, October 01). Retrieved December 12, 2018, from

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Inclusion: Ensuring Every Student's Involvement in School. (2019, Aug 20). Retrieved from

Inclusion: Ensuring Every Student's Involvement in School
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