This blog posting will focus on a growing issue concerning with special education students. The issue is if full inclusion is the best option for students with disabilities? Like any controversial issues, there are advocates supporting the notion that full inclusion is the best option as well as many who are in opposition. If students with disabilities were to be fully included then changes would have to be made. The curriculum and teaching styles will need to be changed, as well as teachers will have to pay closer attention to the social dynamic of the students (Scheuerman, 2013). These advocates who are in support of full inclusion feel that it will reveal not what can’t be done but rather what isn’t being done to support these students. They believe that any teacher committed to excellence would want to make changes in curriculum, instruction, and classroom management to better suite all students (Scheuerman, 2013). Those in opposition feel that students, especially those with disabilities benefit from a wide range of services, from full inclusion to separate classrooms (Scheuerman, 2013). Furthermore, they believe that full inclusion will not create self-directed learners. Scheuerman (2013) states that, “inclusion sacrifices remediation for compensation; that is, adapting the learning environment rather than focusing instruction on necessary academic skills (p. 2). Those in opposition feel that the pull-put model fully meets the needs of the students across the wide development continuum.
Whether you are an advocate for full inclusion or are in opposition, the one thing that stands true for special education students is the type of services they will receive. More specifically the types of accommodations received in school. Many are in total support of providing accommodations towards children in special education. As always, there are many who are opposed to accommodations, believing that they are enabling special education students and are denying the opportunity to achieve greater independence. So what exactly is an accommodation? According to Evans (2008) an accommodation is, “an adjustment to an activity or setting that removes a barrier presented by a disability so a person can have access equal to that of a person without disability” (p. 317). Even with this definition of accommodation, there is still a great deal of confusion. This is the case because many times these accommodations help students out, but other times these accommodations seem to give an unfair advantage or make work too easy for the student (p. 317). Those in opposition of full inclusion believe that if an accommodation were to be made, then it must be available to the entire class. This will result in the pace slowing and narrowing (Scheuerman, 2013).
I personally feel that full inclusion is not the ideal solution for providing students with disabilities the attention and services they require. I believe this because of the growing number of students classified as special education – that there is not enough time or space to ensure quality learning for each and every student. These separate classrooms can provide the necessary accommodations without limiting the entire mainstream class. Likewise, I feel that accommodations are vital for the success of special education students. I believe that great thought and planning must be done prior to any accommodations that will be made ensuring that we as educators are removing barriers for the student’s success, rather than making work easier to complete. Overall, I feel that there is no simple answer or solution pertaining towards the needs of students with disabilities. We must do things in the best interest of special education students, as well as keep in mind the best interest of the rest of the general population too.
Evans, D. L. (2008) Taking Sides: Clashing Views of Controversial Issues in Teaching and Educational Practice. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Scheuerman, R. (2013, April 10). EDU 6989 Course Lecture – Session 3: Special education and exceptionalities.