What is an Inclusion Classroom?
Looking in, an inclusion classroom may look exactly like a regular education classroom. But there are some significant differences. Typically the inclusion classroom has two teachers, a regular education teacher and a special education teacher who co teach. Some inclusion classrooms will have a regular education teacher and a special education assistant. The students consist of regular education students and special education students who are taught together. At times, the classroom will break into groups for small group instruction and other times they are taught together. Students do not know which ones have an IEP and which ones do not. The teachers in the classroom help any student who needs help. The special education case manager ensures that the IEP is being followed and the special education students are meeting their goals.
When is an Inclusion Classroom a good idea?
The inclusion classroom helps students with an IEP to be educated alongside non disabled peers. This helps with socialization and ensuring higher standards. Students in the classroom have differentiated instruction. This means that students will learn at their level. Some students will have more academic responsibilities than others depending on unique needs.
An inclusion classroom is not only good for students in Special Education. When implemented correctly it is positive for everyone. Those students who struggle, but do not qualify for Special Education services often do very well with the extra supports in place in this classroom. Students who are advanced, learn to be more accepting and often offer assistance to others. A good teacher can offer material that is challenging for all students, while meeting the needs of those who learn differently. This is not accomplished by teaching all students the same, but by teaching at each child’s level. I have nothing but respect for the teachers who can do this well!
While inclusion is a great place for many students, not all students learn best in this environment. There are students who need more individualized instruction at a much slower pace. There are students who do not do well with the stimuli in a regular classroom environment. It is important to consider all factors when determining the best environment for your child. Another option is inclusion for part of the day and a special education classroom for certain classes. The IEP is to be individual for each student and his or her needs must be considered. Some schools embrace inclusion classrooms, while others have limited classrooms. Check to see what is available at your school.
Follow Up Article: What Makes a Good Inclusion Classroom?