Academic journal article Education

Secondary Inclusion: Strategies for Implementing the Consultative Teacher Model

Academic journal article Education

Secondary Inclusion: Strategies for Implementing the Consultative Teacher Model

Article excerpt

Major change is occurring across this nation in the delivery of special education services. General and special education teachers are redefining their roles in providing these services. The passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has created controversy and much debate in understanding, interpreting, and implementing its provisions. NCLB has reformed the ways in which we work with students receiving special education services. One such provision of NCLB is the mandate that teachers of academic core subjects be highly qualified in the academic core areas in which they are teaching. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) passed in 2004, provides a performance driven system to improve educational results for children with disabilities (Yell, Katsiyannas, & Shiner, 2006). The reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), combined with NCLB provides and mandates opportunities for reform in providing accountability for the instruction and ultimately the assessment of students with disabilities. These powerful reform efforts provide the momentum for school districts to examine and redefine the role of the secondary special education teacher.

Traditionally, secondary special education teachers have provided content area instruction to students who receive special education services even though most were not content area specialists. Inclusion efforts are requiring that general education teachers provide content area instruction to all students. The traditional content teaching model in secondary education has included general education students receiving content area instruction from content area specialists with students with disabilities included and supported based on their Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Many other students with disabilities received content area instruction from the special education teacher in their least restrictive environment. For example, a student with a specific learning disability in mathematics received math content instruction from the special education teacher in a resource room with other students with disabilities.

While special education teachers are highly trained to work with students with disabilities in providing strategy instruction, study skills instruction, remediation, accommodations, modifications, social skills instruction, and address behavioral issues, the vast majority of secondary special education teachers do not have content area certification. These teachers are not deemed "highly qualified" under NCLB and the IDEIA of 2004 requirements as interpreted by state education agencies. Consequently, school principals must staff special education classes with highly qualified secondary special education content area specialists or move to an inclusion model. Either of these has far-reaching implications and challenges for the secondary classroom. The inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom for content area instruction has increased the need for the special education teacher to be a consultative teacher. The consultative teacher delivers services to students with disabilities within the general education classroom in a variety of ways. Many schools have renamed the special education teacher as the "inclusion" teacher.

Inclusion is most effective when implemented by proactive principals who create an inclusive school community by establishing models of effective co-teaching, while preserving the continuum of services and recognizing the need for manageable class sizes for general educators and caseloads for special education teachers (Carpenter & Dyal, 2001). Successful implementation of the above requires effective planning strategies for general and special education teachers. The purpose of this article is to provide key strategies for the successful inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education curriculum using the consultative model.

Creating an Inclusive School Community

Inclusion is a philosophy that begins, not at the classroom level, but at a much more global level. …

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