What is "Inclusive Education"?

Seriously, someone please explain it to me, because I'm about ready to lose my rag!!

Ok let me set the scene.
In my class I have 28 (soon to be 29) students.  All of these students (bar one) are below the New Zealand national expectation in reading, writing, and numeracy.  The range for these kids goes from 5 years below to within 2 months of the expectation.  6 of my students are ESOL funded, but most of them speak a language other than English at home.
The student who is 5 years below has special learning needs funding, and gets 30 minutes, twice a day, with a teacher aide/outside support.
Oh and did I mention that I STILL don't have an IEP for that student?  I'm still waiting for our SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator) to get back to me on when that meeting is going to happen.  Oh and we are now 4 months into the school year.  In her defence though, she's new to the role as of last week.

Right so here is my problem!
This term my team leader and I have started co-teaching reading and writing in our middle block.  We have sorted the kids into cooperative, vertically streamed reading groups (I'll write another post on that another day, but the reading groups have about 6 kids with varying reading ages).
Okay, so in his class, are another two kids with high learning needs.  Both are about the same learning level as my kid.  All three have individual plans from an outside agency, all three have teacher aide time.

We grouped those three together.  Developed a plan that included all the same types of activities the rest of the class was working on, just at their level.  These kids worked with the teacher aide to read their book, answer the questions, talk about their learning, and do some writing.  Same deal as the rest of the kids.
I was told today that this was NOT inclusive education.  Instead I have to separate these kids, put them into a group where I know they will not cope, and let them go one at a time for 1-1 instruction.

Call me crazy, but I REALLY think that the social interactions and discussions these kids have together for 1.5 hours FAR outway the 30 minutes of 1-1 learning and then 1 hour of struggling I'm forced into giving them.

PLEASE let me know what I'm missing!!

2 comments

  1. Technically, you can and should still differentiate their work, but it should be aligned enough with the work of the other students so they can sit among peers and participate in discussions accordingly. I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to bet that the issue is that you're separating these students for such a long period of time each day, basically making them into their own little class. Instead of the aides pulling them out, can they simply sit with those kids and assist them in working with their heterogeneous groups?

    I feel your frustrations on this. I'm seeing inclusion through a whole new lens in my position this year!

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  2. I also understand your struggles. My school district is also pushing inclusion for some of the special education populations in the district. Thankfully they are not pushing it for my students (autistic support). There are times and certain classes that my students are included but, not their whole day. I think that putting them in that separate groups is what the issue is that you are getting told about and I get that it makes more sense to have them together based on their level. It is so hard to find that balance that is functional for your classroom and also beneficial to your students. Good Luck!

    Jenn

    www.teachloveautism.blogspot.com

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