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One of the current trends in the education system of most American public schools is the shift towards full inclusion of learners with disabilities. There has been an increase in the number of learners with disabilities engaging in learning in general classrooms based on the concept of full inclusion. The strategy of full inclusion came into existence as a result of the natural outgrow of mainstream movement during the 1960s. Inclusion is believed to be based on the rights of every student and the benefit they acquire from being members of the general education classroom. Many individuals view this strategy as a solution to the issue of the best method to educate children living with disabilities. The opponents of full inclusion believe that the strategy is based merely on the feelings that the proponents perceive to be socially correct and not on any real benefit to the learners involved. The main issue that has often been debated upon is whether or not the concept of full inclusion is successful and helpful to students with disabilities. The objective of educating students with disabilities should not be different from those of educating students in general education since both of them should be educated in a way to help them unleash their full potential. However, students with disabilities tend to have different learning abilities compared to normal students and it is often hard to determine how best to help them realizes their full potential. Only after examination of the pros and cons of inclusion can we be able to decide whether or not full inclusion is beneficial for students with disabilities.
Inclusive learning tailors teaching for all learners. An inclusive classroom encourages collaboration between special education teachers and general education teachers in meeting the needs of the students. Teachers in inclusive classrooms are able to design instructions in a way that can facilitate students’ progress. Such strategies are helpful for all students regardless of their disability status. Teachers in an inclusive classroom tend to instill positive behavior interventions and support (PBIS) (Gaille, 2019). The teachers also provide differentiated instructions by tailoring their teaching in a way that students learn best. Inclusion makes it possible for teachers to meet the requirements of all students using the universal design for learning (UDL) and presenting lessons in different ways to accommodate all students.
Inclusion makes the difference less different. While the segregated approach creates a distinct division between the normal kids and the unique kids, inclusion creates diversity in learning and depicts the strengths and weaknesses of each student (Gaille, 2019). An inclusive classroom enables children to understand their uniqueness and appreciate how they have a lot in common with other kids than they thought. Such interactions enable children to build and maintain friendships by being aware that their difference is a normal part of life. An inclusive classroom makes children feel equal to each other which increases their learning potential and problem-solving skills.
Inclusive classrooms provide support to all students. In segregated traditional classrooms, children with special needs tend to be pulled out of the class to have special services such as speech therapy and different kinds of specialized instructions. Teachers in an inclusive classroom tend to invite special providers such as reading specialists and speech therapists in class (Halder et al., 2017). Information shared by such specialists are often helpful for all students in their learning and development of skills. Moreover, special needs students in regular classrooms get an opportunity to learn different social skills with their no-disabled peers who gradually embrace human differences.
While inclusive classrooms may be beneficial and fit for all students, there are various disadvantages associated with such classrooms. While inclusive classrooms provide an individualized approach to accommodate the needs of every student, resources channeled to special education may be directed to other uses forcing students with special needs to embrace the general learning system. Lack of individualization in an inclusive classroom makes it hard for students with special needs to meet their goals and learning objectives (Halder et al., 2017). Additionally, some special disabilities require configuration in a special classroom due to the nature of the disability. Some disabled students such as those with processing disorders may feel uneasy being in an inclusive classroom making it hard for them to concentrate or fit in despite the accommodation provided for them. Other students with disabilities may be quite disruptive in class making it difficult for other students to be focused on the lesson. The only solution for such cases may be working with the students in a specialized area where their educational requirements receive all the attention it requires.
Regardless of all the pros of an inclusive classroom, I believe that an inclusive classroom is beneficial to students with special needs. An inclusive classroom not only benefits the student with special needs but it also benefits the regular students since they are able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and learn to embrace the differences of others. An inclusive classroom prevents disabled children from feeling secluded or isolated since they get to interact and make friends with non-disabled kids and get to discover their strengths in the process. An inclusive classroom enables the special education teacher to help all students in that class and educate teachers on the best way to handle children with special needs and create an accommodating environment to make them feel accepted by other children.
Gaille, L. (2019, May 20). 15 pros and cons of an inclusion classroom. Vittana.org. https://vittana.org/15-pros-and-cons-of-an-inclusion-classroom
Halder, S., Assaf, L. C., & Keeffe, M. (2017). Disability and inclusion: Current challenges. Inclusion, Disability and Culture, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-55224-8_1