The Dilemma of Difference in Inclusion
Though the prominent belief exists that special education students need to be included into the mainstream classroom, there is also the need for protection from discrimination and isolation. This poses a dilemma in definition and what is actually happening according to Florian (2010). If a student is given the accommodations and special education support to be successful, does this not segregate the student from others because of that support? Teaching strategies have not been found to be effective differentially with different classifications of learners. Though this is a true statement it does not mean that there are not relevant differences educationally between learners nor does it infer that there is no need for accommodations of specialists for that student.
Florian also argues that the delivery of education is centered on what is being taught instead of how the learner learns. For example, if the concept for a history class is the civil war, there are proven strategies that work for special education students with the concept. Most special education and mainstream teachers will use a system that helps the learners learn the concepts at their level. Though it is a proven system, it is not suitable for all learners. The need of the student must be narrowed to specific parameters for the student to learn the concept their way and at the same way meet the standard to pass that concept.
The researcher also argue that when the magnitude of the task of teaching exceeds the teacher’s capacity to respond with a degree of confidence, then the student is assumed to need accommodations or specialized teaching. Too often teachers will consciously or unconsciously turn to special education alternatives than use the resources that she or he has in the classroom. This results in the over identification and students are put into special education classes when they really don’t need to be there. The definitive line of what constitutes an accommodation and what does not has not been drawn in public education.
Florian believes that paradigm shift of inclusive pedagogical thinking among curriculum designers and teachers evolves, the idea that education will be delivered with the philosophy that education will fit all and different or additional supports will be allowed by a few. The way to take away discrimination, the author feels, is to also allow the supports for other students during the time of need and not label a student who receives these supports.
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