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This makes some sense. Can you give me information on that meta-analysis you mentioned?
A meta-analysis of studies looking at the effectiveness of inclusion for behavior disordered students shows that it is an ill-advised practice. These students do not imitate the desirable behaviors of their typical peeers. In fact, lower functioning typical kids will imitate the behavior of the problem students. Appropriate behavior must be taught, reinforced, and practiced across of a variety of settings before any discussion of inclusion should be undertaken. Further, children with behavioral difficulties are often faced with a situation in which they receive no positives in a general ed. classroom. They will only continue, and likely worsen their problem behaviors until they are put in a structured setting designed to teach, maintain, and generalize their desirable behaviors. Ignoring this population's unique instructional needs is much like saying, "Cardiac patients need no specialized care. If we put them in rooms with healthy people, they would develop healthy cardiovascular systems." Pure nonsense that none of us would accept. Yet we swallow that line whole when applied to kids' unique learning differences.
Many of these students NEED to be taught in a place where they can be successful. A lot of the behavior problems come from a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. Children act out to get attention. But when other children start calling them "bad" or "stupid", self-esteem plummets and more problems ensue.
The idea that all students fit one mold or another is not taking into account the individuality of each person. There are as many different scenarios as there are children. We do have to look at what is best for all children. Preserving the rights of one group over another has habitually caused the other group to suffer. Placement should be made based on each students presenting needs. There should also be a little more room for non-traditional approaches to education for both special and general education students. In this day of limited resources, it is important to look at the talent from within and reshape the box to meet the needs of all students. The general education student should not have to suffer a loss in instruction due to outbursts of another. Nor should a student be segregrated from his/her peers on the basis of a label which can sometimes be made as a lesser of two evils.
As a general education teacher, I could have used some of the assistance of the special educator for my bubble students who clearly needed help in one area yet did not meet the "requirements" of special education. By the same token, I work also work as a special educator and I need to have the ability to transition my students into the general education environment as the student is able to tolerate and still have a reasonable expectation of success.
The main barrier to implementation of this sliding scale currently falls to the halls of higher learning. As a teacher trained for the general education population, my exposure to special education included one introductionary class. As a teacher who received additional instruction for special education, my exposure to the general education curriculum included one reading methods class. If all I am taught is to teach core curriculum under one hat and how to teach using differentiated instruction while wearing a special education hat, I can see how the student becomes the one to lose. Both groups need to receive the transdisciplinary instruction so that the needs of all students are met. We would then be able to tear down the "us and them" mentality that so pervades education these days.
Sara Wagenmaker, M.Ed
Elementary Language Arts
What is the "BEST WAY"...If a great percentage of the teachers time is spent "working" with special needs students then of course the "regular" students teaching time will be lessened... Is this really the best way now? Here we go again with the same old story. Each situation is different and there needs to be careful assessment... no cookie cutter model should be acceptable. Educational decisions /placements need to be different for each student.
In the past it was called mainstreaming and teachers usually had an one aid per student. MORE $$$
Maybe parents need to be responsible in someway for the extra costs... I don't know how... let the Harvard Brains make some brilliant recommendations. If we need glasses does the school pay for them? Inclusion has been bantered around for years... just like Head Start... It failed miserably. Many children are misplaced or dumped into classrooms with teachers who are not equipped to "teach" students with special needs. A free, public education for all... how far do we go with it? It's not really free. If it is then let's buy computers for all students since it might help with research skills/learning for eveyone...Who pays for it???? Public Education is in the tank and needs a major revision this century. The Best Way seems to challenge our Harvard educators... what do they propose the best way is... with all their research what are their findings? Cost effective??? That is putting the students with special needs in places where their education isn't the "best". What if this compromises what is best for them? Yeah, as usually it all comes down to the $. Everyone wants the Best but there is a cost.
Why wasn't this poll sent to the teachers in the state of Florida? This would be a more honest poll if taken by the population of professionals who are working with this population of students.
I believe if we taught classes with projects and computers instead of boring papers and books with everyone required to set at their desk and be quiet, we would not notice so much of the so called behavioral problems. These kids are most likely bored. It's the same reason kids act out at home, they want some fun and attention, something to do that means something to them. Ask a teacher at a Montessori school and they will know how to handle behavioral problems. It's rare with that method. We need to be more creative and less restrictive.
As a special ed teacher, I work under the concept of smart inclusion. This means that the inclusion of a student with special needs must be a successful experience for ALL involved. I have taught students with severe emotional/behavioral disorders, and it is often not a successful experience for them to be include with their peers all the time. As an educator, you must know and understand what does or will set your child up for success and failure before you decide when and where to include them with typically developing peers.