Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Evaluation on Mainstreaming Practices of Primary Schools According to the Views of School Administrators, Teachers, and Parents

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Evaluation on Mainstreaming Practices of Primary Schools According to the Views of School Administrators, Teachers, and Parents

Article excerpt

Each individual living in a society has the need for education. The purpose of education is to help individuals be competent in their communication, self-realization, and productivity through programs that are developed based on an individuals needs and differences. However, each child has different learning styles and emotional characteristics (Acar, 2000). Some individuals may acquire disabilities either from birth or later in life. Those individuals need help improving themselves in certain necessary areas in order to live comfortably within society. This is why such people are called individuals with special needs.

Some necessary steps have to be taken to help individuals with special education needs in order to contribute to their development in the required areas (Kargin, 2004). One of the most appropriate actions in this regard is to minimize the barriers in educational settings for people with special needs. It is desirable for them to be more interactive with their normally developing peers as their disabilities are minimal. Such an educational setting encourages mainstreaming (Kircaali, 1998). In practice, mainstreaming involves allowing special needs students to be educated together with their normally developing peers. Mainstreaming should not be just thought of as being physically in the same class (Kargin, 2004).

The success of the application of mainstreaming depends on the extent to which special education individuals receive adequate and satisfactory levels of special education as well as regular educational services. Moreover, the successful application of such services depends on a few other conditions (Kircaali & Batu, 2007). In order for the application of mainstreaming to be successful, normally developing children, children with special needs, parents, school staff, and general education classrooms need to be collaboratively prepared for mainstreaming education and its activities (Kargin, 2006).

In developed countries, children with special needs are educated alongside their normally developing peers in classes with minimal constraints (Ataman, 2003). This is the definition of the application of mainstreaming. Mainstreaming education means that children with special needs are not only in the same classroom as their normally developing peers, but also receiving the support of special education (Kargin, 2004). The main purpose of allowing children with special needs to receive the same education as children without special needs is to meet their social and emotional needs by integrating them with their peers academically and socially (Sucuoglu & Ôzokçu, 2005).

The education system is organized for children who are considered "normal," in other words children with average proficiency and capacity. Classrooms, textbooks, teaching methods, and techniques are all shaped for children that are accepted as normal. If a child has adapted to the average expected level, then the education system considers them normal. Children that are considered "normal" deviate only slightly from pre-determined standards. If those standards cannot meet the needs of a child, then this child is put into a special needs group because of this difference (Ataman, 2003).

Children who are considered having special needs require the implementation of individualized education programs due to either their physical disabilities or learning skills. These children show differences in terms of standards at a level requiring special education. The concerning difference can be below or above the standard. Accordingly, the term "children with special needs" covers children with mental disabilities, learning or behavioral problems, children with physical or emotional inadequacies, as well as children with cognitive superiority and children with special skills (Eripek, 2003). In other words, children who show negative differences from their peers and stand out socially from them because of this are considered "disabled" (Özer, 2001). …

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