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Jerry Webster

Inclusion, Not Integration

By October 14, 2011

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Well, it looks like Mr. Fancy Pants (that's me) has the wind up his shorts.  This is probably not "About.com" style, but my editor just had her position eliminated, so I guess I can risk taking a little liberty until they finish moving the desks.  Besides, I still get posts on my rant about the Nashville Opryland Hotel, so I guess it's beneficial to let 'er rip every once in a while.

I heard in September from a reader who wanted the special education definitions for inclusion, integration and differentiation.  I'm not sure if he was an undergraduate looking for help on a paper (quote away, junior!) or a general education teacher with a bone to pick with a principal, but he did get me thinking (I also posted a new glossary entry.)   When I took over this website, I tiptoed around my predecessor's use of "Inclusional" (what the double hockey sticks is that?) and "integration."  I did a survey of the web of the term "integration" and it generally is used either to describe programs to encourage the social "integration" of English Language Learners, immigrants or minority ethnic groups.  Inclusion is pretty exclusively used to describe the educational practice of educating children with disabilities alongside their typical peers to as great a degree as possible.  When I hear about someone teaching Sunday School questioning whether "those children" belong in Sunday School it sets my teeth on edge.  It's inclusion.

Perhaps they use "inclusional" to describe the practice in Ontario, but the majority of my readers are in the United States.  I also realized that when you put Special Education into Google, specialed.about.com Googles right after the Office for Special Education Programs (third, I think.)  I think that makes me an authority.  So, as an authority, I went in and changed the category.  It's just straight up inclusion.  I will need to go in and clean out all the fuzzy, (yeah, did she really teach special education?) articles. So hear this:  it's "inclusion", and they are "inclusive" practices

Some of you general education teachers want to use my articles to blame special education teachers for your failure to read your students accommodations, share the planning and the teaching (you have to know, some Special Educators are also just really fantastic teachers.) and learn some successful differentiation strategies.  Sorry.   Suck it up, and learn about the practice and the philosophy called "inclusion."  It will make you a better teacher.

And in the mean time, the proper usage is "inclusion," and "inclusive practices."  Take it from an expert.  And don't try to argue unless you have more page views than I do.


October 14, 2011 at 5:48 am
(1) s hat says:

YOU TELL’EM, JERRY! Many of my collegues just don’t get it.
don’t get it!!!

October 15, 2011 at 11:14 am
(2) pam says:

I always thought teachers were supposed to be able to “teach” – any and all students! I am amazed at how many general ed. teachers want to put all the responsibility of teaching students with special needs on us special education teachers. I’m always biting my tongue – but, come on! You shouldn’t call yourself a teacher unless you can find a way to teach ALL kids. There are times when the input from the special ed teacher is invaluable and crucial for the child, but a kid is a kid. You’ve got to be able to find something that works, at least for one concept. Anyhow, I could rant more, but, fortunately, I know more GOOD general ed teachers, who do try hard to teach all students, than bad ones.

October 18, 2011 at 7:16 pm
(3) Star says:

Ahhhh. Now that feels good, doesn’t it, Jerry?! I always love and appreciate a good cleansing vent!
We love ya’, Jer!

October 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm
(4) cathy M says:

Thanks Jerry. A good teacher, is a good teacher is a good teacher– there is nothing “special” about special education.
The best teachers my daughter ever had were those who made her feel welcome in their classroom and understood that inclusion is not about curriculum but about being a part of the classroom experience. Students are not little cookie cutter kids that all need the same thing, good teachers know this and teach in a variety of ways to reach ALL students, even those with significant disabilities. Kids with disabilities just need the opportunity to participate and the patience of a teacher to allow them to learn in their own style and speed. Every child deserves this.

October 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm
(5) Terri says:

I have been a homeschool teacher who also teaches homeschooling parents how to teach and who teaches and tutors homeschooled kids from preschool to college, including “special ed” kids. I have no college education degree or special ed degree nor do the homeschool parents I have worked with for the past 20 years yet these kids excel. They get the one on one tutoring they need at their own pace and they are treated as regular kids. We have expectations for them and they know it and rise to it.
It is interesting how homeschool teachers range from moms with 10th grade educations to those with college degrees and with some homeschool curriculum and real books from the library, our kids (including the special ed ones) score off the charts on standardized achievement tests and fit in very well with both kids and adults. I try to meet the individual needs of each child and show parents how to do the same. I am proud of the special ed students I have worked with and their parents. What a shame some public and private school teachers feel these kids are beneath them. These kids have enriched my life and that of their parents, friends, families, and neighbors immensely.

October 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm
(6) Tracy says:

Jerry, not only was this rant warranted, but it was also appropriate. You have improved this blog over your predecessor (not hard to do, but you have done an exemplary job!) Anyone who questions your knowledge or expertise is not worth worrying about. Keep it up!

October 26, 2011 at 12:05 am
(7) Denise says:

Thank you, thank you. Yes, teachers should be able to teach everyone. I was told by a gen ed teacher that unless “my” special ed student was able to follow a specific direction he had for students, he would be “kicked out” of his class. So like any good specialist, I started by taking data on the student’s behavior. After implementing some strategies, the special ed student was close to 80% successful at following the direction. It still wasn’t good enough for the gen ed teacher. He still whined and complained about my student’s behavior in his class. So I started taking data on the gen ed students in his class to do a discrepancy analysis. Most of them were only able to follow the command with a 65% accuracy rate!

October 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm
(8) Stacey says:

There is a difference between intergration and inclusion. Intergration bennifits the classroom. The child is intergrated into the routine and procedures and expectations, although certian steps and materials will be used to supprt the child the overall goal is to ge the child do as others do. Inclusion bennifits the child and will change everything in the classroom to fit the child. A child may need to sit in a chair and asked to write down thier answer from the question on the board. Intergrate may give the student thier own sheet with the question on it for them to focus on or the teacher may read the question to the student at his desk while the other work. Inclusion however has the same expectation of getting the child to answer the question but will look at the child and see if their seats bothers him (may be sencitive to textures/sounds)or ask is the question of interest to him(may be it’s abouyt a bike, but he can not ride a bike) and allow the child to sit in the library or change the question to fit him. Intergration fits child into policy of sitting at desk, inclusion adapts policy and changes enviroment.

October 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm
(9) Stacey says:

Before you ranting on teachers and terminology, you must always consider that teaching is a profession to educate the masses. They are often underfunded and confined by policy. A teacher is given a specific child age and know only what that typical child can or can’t do. Teachers expect the child to have certian skills so they can work together to reach new skills. Specail education workers should be trained to adjust for those skills underdeveloped and identify areas that the child does do well. It is the responsibility of the special education worker to share with the teacher the childs abilities and work together to assist them. It often stays on the special edcuation worker becuase they child is only in the class a year and adult habits are hard to break. Although society is changing, policy take time. Many school systems use intergration;fit child to expectations of school. Always comes down to intergration vs inclusion. Inclusion; fit expectations to child’s abilities. Inclusion is a great dream but with mass numbers and a thought process centered around time it is often unachievable.

October 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm
(10) specialed says:

Hate to be snarky (but I can,) but . . . I know these are meant to be intelligent responses to my blog, but your spelling and failure to put your content into paragraph makes me wonder if this was an assignment for an education class. You get a C minus, honey. I continue to assert there is no integration for special education. Integration is the sum of strategies to “integrate” diverse cultural and ethnic groups. Inclusion is the gold standard.

If you can’t spell, well I hope you’re not teaching.

October 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm
(11) Judene Cook says:

Like the others before me, WAY TO GO! Give ‘em heck! Thanks for recognizing that the SPecial Education teacher can be a fantastic teacher. I have a general education homeroom class. Each morning, twenty or so students sit in my room. They look around and read the posters, spelling words, math rules, reading vocabulary words, reminders, book report posters, etc that fill my room. One recently asked “What exactly do you teach?”. I explained that as a Special Education resource teacher I had to understand and teach reading, English, math, pre-algebra, science and technology for 7th and 8th grades. They counted how many classes that was and were astonished. If only it was so easy with general education teachers. Recently in a seventh grade inclusion English class, the teacher asked students to explain a plot diagram. The only ones who could tell about each step AND pick out each step in the fable were the inclusion students. They were proud. I was proud. And fortunately, the general education teacher was proud!

October 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm
(12) Terri says:

Thank you, some of the gen. ed. teachers still think inclusion means “they can stay if they don’t bother me” which means the (ex)cluded in an inclusion classroom. But the teacher’s that except our students for who they are make up for the other teachers. The gen. ed. students have learned how to include our students because the (some) teachers have shown them.

October 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm
(13) kathy says:

thanks Jerry, pam, and cathy M. I have been involved in special education side of co-teaching/team-teaching (or whatever anyone else calls it) for the last 5 years. I am disgusted at the back-stabbing responses departments within our school still utter. Our english department (not all of them) don’t get it! They are unwilling to provide an educaction to students who don’t fit a particular box. The special education students work hard and their behavior is no different than any other student but teachers have targeted them as problems. Good teachers are good teachers, are good teachers…we need more of them and so do our students.

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