In fact, apart from Mr. Eagerhart who is working with a special educator and teaching to a primarily special needs group, only Ms. Chang is enthusiastic. The implication here is that across John’s classes, there are varying attitudes towards his inclusion, thereby underscoring the imperatives of promoting inclusive values. The promotion of inclusive values, as will be illustrated through reference to the relevant literature, is predicated on the school’s embracing inclusivity. A positive and supportive school philosophy towards inclusion and students with disabilities is crucial for a successful inclusion program (Baird, 1990; Emerson & Maddox, 1997; Salisbury et al. , 1993; Simpson, Myles & Simpson, 1997; Stainback et al. , 1992; Webber, 1997).
Thus, a positive classroom climate should be established. A positive classroom climate is one that is accepting of individual differences and promotes the idea that all students, including students with disabilities, should have the same access to knowledge, growth, achievement, success and belonging (Webber). When teachers and faculty communicate about a student with a disability, he or she should be referred to by name, grade level or subject area without mention of a disability label (Montie et al. According to Simpson et al.
(1997), inclusion programs can be successful only to the extent that they foster an educational environment in which students with disabilities are socially integrated and experience acceptance. However, they report that most school programs invest little time and energy in preparing classrooms to accommodate students with disabilities. Administrators, teachers, and non-disabled students should receive information to help familiarize them with the characteristics and needs of students with disabilities. For example, John’s classmates need to understand the behaviours that may be exhibited by him (hair pulling, head banging, etc. ) and taught the social skills necessary to deal with him or her on a daily basis (Rife & Karr-Kidwell, 1995).
Positive attitudes toward students with disabilities may not naturally occur, but can be facilitated through information and sensitivity training (Simpson et al. An integral predicator of the successful promotion of inclusive values is a mission statement which reflects the schools dedication to a positive and supportive school climate and its commitment to inclusive education (Barnett et al. , 1995; Irmsher,
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