Having a Successful Mainstreaming
Imagine one morning receiving a note
from the principal informing you that Jane, a special
education student, will be coming to your class for math every
day. This scenario is not theoretical. Many teachers are
faced with this phenomenon in increasing numbers.
This is what is probably going on in your head: I've got a full class with
problems of my own. What do I do if she doesn't catch on? What do I do when
she acts out? What kind of "extreme" behaviors can I expect from her?
Here are some specific suggestions to make this scenario a successful
one for you, your students, and your mainstream student.
Have a meeting with the student's
teacher and perhaps her counselor. Find out what
her capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses are. What
is her best learning modality? Does she process
by using visual cues? Is she an auditory learner?
Does she learn best kinesthetically? How did she earn
an opportunity to be in general education? What
can she contribute to the class? Ask about her
personality and her ability to develop relationships with
peers and teachers. Does she have a sense of humor?
When she behaves in a way that the teacher needs
to intervene, what has worked for the special education
Share with the special education
teacher what your general education class is working
on and provide him with the textbook. Ask that he work
with the text for a week or so before entering
your class. This will make her comfortable with
the content and reduce tension.
Allow the student to join your class
for music, lunch, art, or other non-academic periods
before she joins you for academic classes. Perhaps
you can assign her a buddy to help her feel comfortable.
Provide ongoing assessment to the
student and have regularly scheduled meetings
with her special education teacher. Provide positive
feedback where needed, such as notes to parents.
Research has demonstrated that integration
policies benefit all students. A thoughtful program
and cooperation among the adults will increase the chances for
a successful mainstreaming experience for all students
and teachers involved.
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