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TNLI: Action Research: Curriculum Implementation: Trouble in Paradise: A Study of Who is Included in an Inclusion Classroom

Our Teacher Research: Past & Present

Helping all students achieve higher standards

Teacher preparation and new teacher induction   Ongoing teacher professional growth   Teacher networks
Teacher leadership in school change   Helping all students achieve higher standards      

Trouble in Paradise: A Study of Who is Included in an Inclusion Classroom

by Rachel Zindler

I recently changed jobs at my school and took a new position as the general education teacher in my school's second grade inclusion team. I accepted this invitation with curiosity, excitement, as well as with some trepidation since my work in special education had been very limited up until then.

Seven of the 24 students in my new class were classified as "special education" students. These children struggle with a variety of developmental delays, such as expressive and/or receptive language processing disorders, physical disabilities, and social/emotional issues. These children each possess a complex combination of disabilities, which contributes to their daily challenges in school.

In this study I examine how truly "inclusive" my class was this year. I questioned whether it was possible, despite differences in academic and social skills, to fully incorporate children with special needs into a general education classroom so that their general education peers would accept them and value and include them in their games. I also looked at what impact race, economic status, social skills, and language deficits have on their social roles in the group? I also looked at ways team teachers can effectively facilitate continuous, meaningful relationships between special education students from all backgrounds and their peers of average development.

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