April 24, 2012
503: Seminar in Education
The Promise of Inclusion
As you know, the topic that I chose for my Interview Project was "The Promise of Inclusion", but before I can tell you what the promise of inclusion is, I must first give you a clear view as to what Inclusion means.
Inclusion is defined in many ways by many people, but there is no legal definition. According to Webster's Dictionary, Inclusion is the act of including and the state of being included. From an educational aspect, Halvorsen and Neary purported that, Inclusive education, according to its most basic definition, means that students with disabilities are supported in chronologically age-appropriate general education classes in their home schools and receive the specialized instruction delineated by their individualized education programs (IEP's) within the context of the core curriculum and general class activities. (Halvorsen &Neary, 2001)
The National Institute for Urban School Improvement yields that, Inclusion is an effort to make sure students with disabilities go to school along with their friends and neighbors while also receiving whatever, “specially designed instruction and support” they need to achieve high standards and succeed as learners. Inclusion, mainstreaming and/or integration are not the same. Mainstreaming attempts to transition students from special education classrooms to regular education classrooms, only in instances where they're able to keep pace with their typically developing peers without substantial support. Integration provides only “part-time” inclusion, which eliminate the students from becoming full members of the general education classroom.
The National Center on Educational Restructuring and Inclusion developed the following working definition of inclusive education: “Providing to all students, including those with significant disabilities, equitable opportunities to receive effective educational services, with the needed supplementary aids and support services, in age appropriate classrooms in their neighborhood schools, in order to prepare students for productive lives as full members of society. (The University of New York, 1995)”
In the Center for Studies on Inclusive Education (CSIE) they list many meanings for inclusion such as;
"Educating all children with disabilities in general education classrooms, regardless of the nature of their disabling condition(s), Providing all students enhanced opportunities to learn from each other’s contributions. Providing necessary services within the general education setting. Supporting regular teachers and administrators (time, training, teamwork, resources, and strategies). Having students with disabilities in age-appropriate academic classes and extracurricular activities, including art, music, gym, field trips, assemblies, and graduation exercises" (The University of New York, 1995).
Although, there are many different definitions of inclusion, people still tend to get confused by the definitions. Here are some examples of what inclusion does not mean: It does not mean “dumping” students with disabilities into general education classrooms without preparation or support. It does not mean providing special education services in separate or isolated places. It does not mean ignoring children's individual needs. It does not mean jeopardizing students' safety or well-being. It does not mean placing unreasonable demands on teachers and administrators.
Many focus on inclusion itself, but there are different types of inclusion such as; Full Inclusion. According to WEAC, "Full inclusion means that all students, regardless of handicapping condition or severity, will be in a regular classroom/program full time. All services must be taken to the child in that setting" (Stout, 2001). Compared to their definition of Inclusion itself,
"Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child, to...