The purpose of inclusive education. The difference between inclusion and “mainstreaming”
School population becomes increasingly diverse, and inclusive education is meant to address such rapid demographic change and adjust and develop teachers’ professional skills to stimulate the academic achievements of diverse students.
While mainstream education implies the absence of a drastic difference in students’ abilities and needs, the concept of inclusion refers to the placement of students with special needs into the general classroom context. Thus, inclusive education is associated with the social mix and the creation of a favorable learning environment in which every student feels accepted and welcomed (Connor, 2012). In the inclusive learning environment, teachers strive to arrange instruction practices and activities that are easy to follow through and are suitable to the students’ cognitive abilities and psychological state.
Nowadays, mainstream education is the most commonly practiced form of education and it is usually regarded in the opposition to special education settings. In the context of diversity, sometimes it can be difficult for professionals to meet the needs and interests of all students adequately due to the inability to comprehend the differences and address special needs. Inclusive education requires an increase in teachers’ proficiency. Therefore, the implementation of inclusion programs within the education system is more challenging.
The difference between a “medical model” and a “social model” of understanding disability
The medical model of disability refers to the physical, intellectual, and mental capabilities of individuals while the social model includes social perceptions of disability, stereotypes, as well as the occupational and social welfare of people with disabilities. The consideration of both models in the development of curricula and instructional plans is essential to the administration and implementation of effective inclusion programs because students’ social and physical needs neglect creates barriers to inclusion.
When addressing physical and intellectual disability-related issues, a teacher needs to select the learning activities which would be appropriate for the type of disability and would not be too challenging. At the same time, students with disabilities need to have non-instructional interactions with their peers (Kurth, Lyon, & Shogren, 2015). In this way, social and instructional equality will be supported and diverse students will gain an opportunity to become valuable members of the school community.
Connor, D. J. (2012). Common confusions with inclusion. In B. Cooper, C. Strax, & M. Strax (Eds.) Kids in the middle: The micropolitics of special education. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Kurth, J. J., Lyon, K. J., & Shogren, K. A. (2015). Supporting students with severe disabilities in inclusive schools. Research & Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, 40(4), 261-274.