For many years, students who have been classified as “special” have been sent to a different classroom to learn. Students who earn this designation often feel segregated from their classmates and it can create the foundation of bullying in the modern classroom. Inclusion classrooms end the segregation. Should “special education” students be part of the regular classroom? Here are the pros and cons to consider.
The Pros of Inclusion Classrooms
1. It eliminates the idea of “different.”
Students who learn better in non-traditional methods or environments are not any better or worse than any other student. An equal learning environment helps to foster equality in other areas.
2. It encourages cooperation.
A class of students takes responsibility for one another, whether they realize they are doing it or not. This cooperative environment helps to provide more learning opportunities for those students who may not learn as well under traditional teaching methods.
3. It eliminates restrictions.
It may be difficult for a school district to find qualified staff to teach a small number of students that require a different environment. With inclusion classrooms, the needs become different. Instead of segregation, the same money can be used to provide in-room supports for the teacher.
The Cons of Inclusion Classrooms
1. It creates the idea of a disability when none may exist.
Although inclusion helps to supplement learning options, it also creates the idea of a “weak link” within the class when none may actually exist. Some students may see increased attention on a specific subgroup of students as disproportionate favoring and rebel as a result.
2. Most schools aren’t structured for it.
Although teachers are adaptable, they aren’t always adaptable enough to support several different methods of learning at once. At some point, a student is going to receive an inferior experience in learning when demands like this are placed on teachers.
3. Not all students can make it to the classroom.
An average of 5% of students in any given school district receive teaching services outside of the classroom. This could be at home, at a hospital, or even at a work location. Solving the problem of getting all students together when outside learning environments are the least restrictive and most beneficial may require resources a district just doesn’t have.
Inclusion classrooms are a wonderful idea and should be implemented in some way. By weighing the pros and cons of this school structure, each district can look for ways that will work with their own unique needs.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.