Week 4 - Reply to Discussion Board Post 1 - Shannon
This is a Discussion Board post from a Special Education class. It’s fairly easy. All that’s required is a “reply” to the student’s post below. The reply should be a minimum of 7 sentences, about one paragraph in length. At least one in-text citation must be included in the reply from any source referenced below.
Student’s Post (Shannon):
I have taught in an inclusive classroom for six years and I have seen the benefits of the classroom setting. As it was determined by the Oberti v BOE case, “Inclusion is a right, not a privilege for a select few” (2016). Students have the right to learn the same way that their peers do. Each of the readings as well as the webinar addresses the over thirty years of research that has proven the benefits of inclusive education. The inclusive classroom not only benefits the students with disabilities but those without as well. As mentioned in the webinar, in 2004 students in an inclusive setting made significantly greater progress in reading and math. I truly believe this because in my inclusive classroom there are two teachers in the room for subjects. You get two different strategies and two different ways to learn without having to leave your current classroom. In 2013 they also found that there was no significant difference in academic achievement with students without disabilities. If this is the case, there are students who are making great progress because of inclusion.
I don't think there is anything wrong with self-contained classrooms but I do believe that they limit a student's social and emotional growth. I feel that if a student is spending so much time in a self-contained special education classroom then they aren’t interacting with their peers as much as they can. I also believe that students learn from each other and rise to the occasion. They develop and learn strategies from their fellow students with much more ease than a teacher. As it was mentioned in the New Jersey Education Report, once a child has been identified as having a disability that is a fixed perception and there are low expectations for that student thinking they will continue to struggle in the same way (Waters, 2021). There is a tendency to not move out of what is comfortable and we forget as educators that students learn the most when they are pushed and uncomfortable.
I was actually very surprised to see how far behind New Jersey is for inclusion and how the rates for inclusivity have stagnated while other states have grown. This surprised me because I have been working in the school system for fourteen years now and I feel like my current district is very good at inclusivity. But as the March 1 Education Law article explains, our state's inclusion rates have barely changed in twenty years while the national average has gone up. Even some districts that got extensive training showed noncompliance in LRE. I think this is in response to our leadership and their commitment to education. I feel like our state is very capable and smart in comparison to the rest of the country and I really don’t understand the resistance in this area.
As it was described in both the Ted Talk and the webinar, the changes need to come to the whole of the instruction. We need to focus on general education because that is where the majority of our students get their needs met. If we are utilizing MTSS and UDL in the classroom we are then reaching the wide array of learners in our classrooms regardless of their disabilities or non-disabilities. Both of these approaches help to eliminate barriers and make new understandings and give students the support they need in addition to the general education class, not instead of it.
Family engagement is so important because the family is the other piece of the school puzzle. Home and school need to work together to make a difference in a child’s life. A student with a disability family has a lot more roles than the average student and you need to take that into account because the parents have a lot more responsibilities centered around their child. When the school works collaboratively with the home life it helps to support the learning and development of children. When you take an interest in students outside of the classroom they feel like you care. It can be as simple as attending after-school activities that your students are a part of and seeing them at a different place and time. Both students and parents find this to be a genuine action and how you see their child as an important part of your life. Some actions I try to use to promote family involvement are open communication, having families share their stories, and listening and supporting when it is needed.
Part 1 - Least Restrictive Environment and Inclusion
Read: LRE & Inclusion: Utilizing a tiered system of supports (TSS) to support students with disabilities in general education settings.
https://www.nj.gov/education/specialed/idea/lre/LREWebinar.pdf OR Listen/Watch to the webinar https://www.njcie.org/webinarsgallery/2018/6/19/mental-health-in-schools
Explore: NJ rates of Inclusion
Watch: Reimagining Disability & Inclusive Education (a focus on UDL) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtRY_1mZWWg
Part 2 - Engaging Families
Complete Module: https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/fam/challenge/#content
Click NEXT on the bottom of the screen to go through the entire module, which is 7 slides.
Special Education class Discussion Board Post 1 Reply
Hello Shannon, I have gone through your work and agree that an inclusive classroom is important for learners. Inclusion should be regarded as a right, not a privilege for a select few. Also, numerous research done by various scholars approves that inclusive education is beneficial to learners. There is nothing wrong with having self-contained classrooms, but they are a huge hindrance to learners’ social and emotional development. That is because learners have to spend a lot of time in these special classes that they are left with little or no time to interact with their peers. Having a student attend an inclusive classroom allows them to learn from their peers and rise to the occasion. In most cases, learners find it easy to learn various strategies from their classmates than from educators.
According to Paseka & Schwab (2020), inclusive classes are beneficial to all students and not just those who are supposed to receive special education services. Additionally, inclusive classrooms have both short-term and long-term implications for all learners. Educators can meet the needs of all students by presenting their lessons in various ways considering that different people learn differently. Moreover, inclusive classrooms comprise diverse learners with unique strengths and challenges. Inclusion gives these learners a chance to converse on how they all learn differently, and through such conversations, they may discover that they share a lot more in common than they thought (Paseka & Schwab, 2020). As a result, such discoveries may go a long way in helping learners understand that their difference is nothing unusual but a normal part of life. An inclusive classroom creates high expectations for all.
Paseka, A., & Schwab, S. (2020). Parents’ attitudes towards inclusive education and their perceptions of inclusive teaching practices and resources. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 35(2), 254-272.
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