What is inclusion?
Inclusion is an educational environment in which all students are grouped together in the same classroom regardless of their intelligence level hence the phrase used, “Least Restrictive Environment”. This practice means that an increasing number of regular classroom teachers are called upon to teach exceptional children in regular classrooms, sometimes also termed inclusive classrooms (LeFrançois, G. 2011).
IDEA was established for children with learning disabilities and has been mandated as a part of every educational facility. As defined by the American Psychological Association, “The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.”
Not every student learns equally; however, every student should be given the equal opportunity to do so regardless of their learning abilities. With that, inclusion provides an environment where not only students will learn together, but regular students will respect and build friendships with students with learning disabilities. While I never had the change to experience this firsthand, this type of environment will enhance friendships and students helping one another. I think that when a child is included in something, their self confidence improves and they will strive to work harder.
Second, inclusion allows students to understand one another and learn from each other as far as customs and courtesies and attitudes. Students are vulnerable to imitate what they see whether it be good or bad. According to the text, one of the benefits of inclusion is the learning of socially appropriate behaviors by students with disabilities as a result of modeling the behavior of other students.
Lastly, inclusive classrooms provide students with learning disabilities access to general learning like the rest of their peers. They will learn the same information instead of the curriculum being adjusted which may omit valuable information. In this case, these students may be learning information that could be too easy depending on where they stand knowledge wise. For others, the adjustment may hinder learning more challenging information some could be ready for.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/disability/idea.aspx
LeFrançois, G. (2011). Psychology for teaching (11th ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
What is inclusion?
“Inclusion is being a part of what everyone else is, being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs” (Tomko, 1996).
How does the legislative mandate of IDEIA support inclusion?
“IDEIA mandates education in the “least restrictive environment” and the right to zero rejection and parent participation, due process and nondiscriminatory evaluation, free and appropriate educational services, and an IEP for eachchild with special need” (LeFrançois,2011).
Reason 1 (For/Against) Inclusion
Inclusion allows for an equal opportunity for all the students in the school. It ensures each child has an equal opportunity to learn the same material in the same environment (SEDL, 2015).
Reason 2 (For/Against) Inclusion
Heubert (1994) believed that students succeed better in classrooms that are inclusive because classes with teachers that only include lower ability students have lower expectations of performance. Also, these classes tend to have “watered down” curriculum and the students tend to remain in these classes instead of transitioning (SEDL, 2015).
Reason 3 (For/Against) Inclusion
“Stainback, Stainback, and Bunch, and others (National Association of State Boards of Education, 1992) suggest a non-inclusive classroom does not prepare students with disabilities for the real life. The “real life” environment is inclusive and is not separated like they are used to with a non-inclusive classroom (SEDL,2015).
Tomko, C. (1996). Inclusion. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from Kids Together Inc., http://www.kidstogether.org/inclusion.htm
LeFrançois, G. (2011). Psychology for teaching (11th ed). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
SEDL. (2015). Introduction – issues …About change, inclusion: The pros and cons, volume 4, number 3. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from SEDL, http://www.sedl.org/change/issue/issues43.html