Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

A Cross Categorical Approach to Service Delivery; Promoting Successful Inclusion through Teacher Education

Academic journal article International Journal of Whole Schooling

A Cross Categorical Approach to Service Delivery; Promoting Successful Inclusion through Teacher Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

Schools in the United States and schools across majority of countries around the world that follow policy of inclusive schooling face two critical issues: 'Inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms' and a contributing factor to the success of this inclusion, 'teachers prepared to use best practices'. This paper is an effort to help pre-service (future) and in-service (current) teachers implement instruction using best practices in general education inclusive classrooms, resource rooms, or self-contained special education classrooms. Westwood (1997) stated that the policy of inclusive schooling has evolved gradually from the 'integration of children with special needs' movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Inclusion movement gained momentum since the Salamanca Statement in 1994 (UNESCO: 1994 as cited in Rao, 2005; Rao & Fancher, 2005) that recognized necessity and urgency of providing education to all children, young people, and adults within the regular education system. It stressed that children with special education needs must have access to regular schools.

Discussion

In the United States a catalyst for inclusive movement was the national movement originally known as the Regular Education Initiative (REI) of the 1980s (Choate, 2004; Mastropieri & Scruggs, 2004), which gave impetus to serving at-risk students, culturally diverse students, and students with disabilities in general education setting. Vaughn, Bos, and Schumm (2006) described REI as a concept that promotes placement of students with disabilities in the general education classroom for all or most of the school day. The authors posited that separation of general and special education services restricts the use of funds and limits educational opportunities available to all children; too many students are identified for special program and these students' needs can be met in general education classrooms. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 called for inclusion of students with special needs, needs arising due to disabilities, giftedness, linguistic differences, and/or belonging to disadvantaged and nomadic population, not only in regular education system but in regular education classrooms to the maximum extent possible. One way of meeting needs of all children in general education classrooms and consequently, reducing number of children identified to receive special education is to provide appropriate and timely intervention and instruction to all students in general education classrooms.

This paper describes a course delivery approach in a university classroom that utilized best practices to prepare graduate students/teachers to use a cross-categorical service delivery approach in general education classrooms using best practices, to promote successful inclusion in general education classrooms, or use a cross-categorical approach in resource rooms and special education classrooms. A cross-categorical approach considers students' instructional needs and not disability-specific needs (Haager & Klingner, 2005). Specifically, the objectives are to describe a course delivery approach that can be used to prepare teachers for cross-categorical approach for successful inclusion of students with diverse needs in general education classrooms, or use a cross-categorical approach in resource rooms and special education classrooms; describe cross-categorical approach and benefits of the approach; describe best practices such as interdisciplinary themes and instruction, grouping strategies including pairs, small, and large group instruction; collaboration and co-teaching; theory of multiple intelligences; Bloom's taxonomy; standards-based planning; computer mediated support and use of assistive technology; describe a format that can be used to plan a unit, and describe format for lessons that incorporates Gardner's multiple intelligences and Bloom's taxonomy. Additionally, the paper also provides information on some useful Websites and a list of activities that can be incorporated by teacher educators in classrooms. …

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