Week 4 - Reply to Discussion Board Post 2 - Jennifer
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 (Jennifer):
From my perspective, inclusion is not all it is cracked up to be because it is not done properly in most cases. Inclusive education does have many proven benefits when implemented well. Studies show that inclusion is beneficial for both general and special education students having both short- and long-term positive effects. Special education students who are placed in inclusive classes are absent less often and develop stronger skills in reading and math. The same studies show that general education students who are part of inclusive classrooms are more tolerant of differences and have increased self-esteem. (Understood) In my experience, I have not seen inclusion classrooms run in the manner which they were intended leading to many issues and a lack of learning.
I do not believe that self-contained classrooms can or should be labeled as “good” or “bad”, they are one tool among many in special education and have both pros and cons. One main advantage of self-contained classrooms is their smaller class sizes which in turn can lead to more individualized attention and instruction. Smaller class sizes and lower student to teacher ratios also allow for students to form strong relationships with their teachers and give the teacher more time to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, students who spend most of their time in self-contained classrooms tend to struggle socially and emotionally. Segregation from the general education population can lead to lower self-esteem and more behavioral problems.
Why do you think NJ is so far behind in inclusive practices? Why haven’t we gotten this right after all these years?
In my opinion, we do not do enough to support teachers. I have heard people say that teachers are superheroes before however people often seem to forget that teachers are not in fact superheroes, they are human beings. There are only so many hours in the school day and only a small portion of them are dedicated to teacher preparation time. In my experience, I have had at maximum 80 minutes of preparation time in a day, however more often than not we were only provided with 40 minutes and you only had that 40 minutes if you weren’t pulled to cover a class or attend a meeting. With so little preparation time just planning for the general education curriculum is challenging and modifying it for inclusion is nearly impossible. Many, if not all teachers, take work home with them and I do believe that teachers should expect to take a certain amount of work home with them, however there are still only so many hours in the day. Teachers need more time and more resources in order to properly implement inclusive teaching.
How do we change teacher preparation programs so teachers are more prepared to serve students with disabilities in the general education classroom?
If we are going to properly prepare teachers to serve students with disabilities in the general education classroom there must be changes made to teacher preparation programs and to professional development. I believe all teachers should be trained in special education and special education teachers should receive even more specialized training. I also feel that all teachers should receive training in inclusive teaching and in Universal Design for Learning (UDL). UDL offers flexibility in the ways students access materials and show what they know and is geared towards giving all students an equal opportunity to learn.
Why is family engagement important?
Family engagement is regarded as a best practice in education and has a powerful influence on children’s educational success. Studies have shown that family engagement leads to increased student achievement, improved attendance and behavior, improved social-emotional skills, and increased graduation rates. Family engagement can also benefit parents and teachers as well as students. Teachers may be able to assist parents with understanding homework and academic concepts and engaged parents tend to think more highly of teachers, leading to increased morale. (Waterford, 2021)
What are 3 actions that you can take to promote family engagement?
There are many strategies for promoting family engagement. First and foremost, it is important that schools and teachers create a welcoming environment for families. Hosting a special event or parent night at a time that is convenient for families to attend is one way that teachers can help to foster relationships with families. Another way to promote family engagement is to be available and responsive to families. This can be done with simple actions such as sending home newsletters and responding to emails and phone calls within a reasonable amount of time. Ultimately, I believe the most important actions we can take to promote family engagement are to listen and to be understanding. Parents want to be heard and if teachers can take the time to listen to their concerns, the parents and teacher can then work together to address them. Parents who feel heard will also be more likely to listen to what their child’s teacher has to say, leading to better communication all around.
Admin. (2021, June 1). Self-contained classrooms: Guidance. The Underrated Teacher. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://theunderratedteacher.com/self-contained-classrooms-understanding-the-pros-and-cons/
Hehir, T., & Pascucci, S. and C. (2016, August). A summary of the evidence on Inclusive Education . Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://alana.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/A_Summary_of_the_evidence_on_inclusive_education.pdf
Understood Team. (n.d.). 4 benefits of Inclusion Classrooms. Understood. Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.understood.org/en/articles/4-benefits-of-inclusive-classrooms
How Parent Involvement Leads to Student Success. (2021b, October 6). Waterford.Org. https://www.waterford.org/education/how-parent-involvment-leads-to-student-success/
Reply to Discussion Board Post 2
Hello Jennifer, having gone through your work, I can confirm that you did your homework well. I agree with you that inclusive learning is not done correctly despite the many benefits that come with it—inclusive learning benefits special and general students with both short and long-term positive outcomes. Special education students do better when placed in the same classes as other students (Wilson et al., 2021). Additionally, general learning students tend to portray more tolerance to their differences with special students in inclusive classes and have boosted self-esteem.
Self-contained classrooms tend to have their advantages and disadvantages too. For instance, since they handle fewer learners, educators can offer more individualized attention to the students. On the contrary, students subjected to special or self-contained classrooms tend to have difficulties interacting with others or forming relationships with their peers (Wilson et al., 2021). I agree that there is a need to make changes in inclusive classrooms where teachers have to simultaneously deal with special and general students.
One necessary change is that educators should be given proper or specialized training to meet every student’s needs. Family engagement and involvement in student learning play a key role in their performance. Parents may devote extra time to their children and teach them various concepts they may need clarification on when they return home. Educators can cultivate good relationships with the student’s families by constantly engaging them regarding their child’s performance and what needs to be done to improve it (Wilson et al., 2021). They can also encourage them to assume an active role in the child’s learning to boost learners’ confidence and self-esteem.
Wilson, W. J., Harper-Hill, K., Armstrong, R., Downing, C., Perrykkad, K., Rafter, M., & Ashburner, J. (2021). A preliminary investigation of sound-field amplification as an inclusive classroom adjustment for children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Communication Disorders, 93, 106142.
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