Inclusive Approach

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The selected topic is ‘should students with learning difficulties be allowed to participate in the mainstream classrooms?’ This essay discusses two possible solutions for the issue and explicitly presents my personal statement and philosophy in regards to it.

This topic is a controversial issue because it considers many conflicting advantages and disadvantages. The ethical principles involved in the topic include caring, respect and inclusivity which can be drawn from the Early Childhood Australia Code of Ethics (Early Childhood Australia's National Council meeting, 2006). Including or excluding students with learning difficulties in the mainstream classroom also reflects teachers’ identity regarding the concept of fairness. There are three ethical principles listed by the Tasmania Registration Board (Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania, 2006) which will fit in the selected issue: respect, empathy and justice.

Some teachers believe that if we put a student with a learning disability in the mainstream education setting, it is not fair for other students in the classroom because they are not valued equally. Teachers in the classroom hold the opinions that every student in the classroom should receive the best education (Knowles, 2006). As the student with a learning disability could occupy too much of teachers’ teaching time, then other students in the classroom could be deprived of learning time. Hence, they think it is better to pull the student out of the class group to work individually with teacher assistants. Additionally, when teachers direct too much attention on students with disabilities, it may cause the rest of the class to act out in order to seek for the attention (Moss, 2007). In such a situation, behaviour management would be a very challenging thing for teachers to deal with in the classroom. My personal interactions with some primary school teachers shows that most teachers do not feel comfortable having students with a learning disability in the classroom as they think they have not been equipped with the skills to teach these students and allowing them to work individually can help teachers to concentrate more on during the general class teaching time.

Some people believe students should be placed in a learning environment according to the type of their disabilities as it will help them to reduce their stress while learning and growing. Students might not feel comfortable to stay in a mainstream education setting. This is because students with learning disabilities face more difficulty coping with the learning environment as they do not just have to deal with their disability, they also need to deal with the issue of lack of peer acceptance (Ashman et al., 2009). Hence, if we send these students to work individually with teacher assistants, the teacher assistants can concentrate more on these students' social, emotional and personal needs which can help these students to achieve more.

Another reason students with learning disabilities need to be excluded from the mainstream classroom is because these students might require trained special education staffs to design and work on their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in order to better support their development. If we put these students in the regular classroom to learn the same thing as other students do, they would not benefit so much from the learning. For instance, if the whole class is learning how to count to 100, but this child can only count to 10, it will waste his time to join in the whole class activity as he do not have the capacity to do it.

Contrary to these statements, some people believe that all students in the environment should be included in the mainstream classroom and all students can benefit from the inclusion approach if we apply it in the classroom effectively. There three main reasons behind this statement. Firstly, by including students with learning difficulties in the regular classroom can give them a...
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