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A Brief History Towards Inclusion Education Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 5386 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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During last two decades, notion of inclusion, has earning more attention and importance by many of countries in the world. Ainscow,1999,UNESCO 2009. In 1994 , Under the guidance of UNESCO , Salamanca statement , called countries to provide education to all students in inclusive settings, was accepted by 92 countries and 25 organisations(UNESCO,1994). Although, Some of Countries established their own inclusive policies in the light of Salamanca statement(Fletcher and Artiles,2005, Mitchell ,2005), there is evidence that not all of students with special educational needs benefit from inclusive schools(Gyimah et.al, 2008) and students with special educational needs are still struggling with explicit educational segregation.(UNESCO,2009).

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In order to achieve a greater inclusion for students with special educational needs, reduce their educational segregation and increase their participation to inclusive settings, I believe that revealing barriers and finding ways to overcome these barriers has a key role. Furthermore, researching models of inclusion in schools can help to gain a broader view on inclusion practice, learn from experience of others and improve implementing of inclusion in schools.

This essay will approach practical dimension of inclusion in three main topics from an international perspective. Firstly, a general information about definitions and historical development of inclusion will be provided. Secondly, Current models of inclusion will be examined and Finally, barriers which prevent schools from promoting a greater inclusion and ways to overcome them will be discussed. In this paper , also related terms inclusive education and inclusive schools will be used interchangeably.


In this topic, general information about inclusion will be presented which include a brief history towards inclusion and definitions of inclusion. Also information will be given about models of disability which influenced idea of inclusion.

A Brief History Towards Inclusion

Changing social, cultural, philosophical beliefs as well as economical and political situations has influenced trends in education of individuals with disabilities through segregation ,categorization, integration and recently inclusion.(Salend and Duhaney, 2011). First education services for student with SEN were provided for deaf and blind students in Europe at 18th century and improved during 19th century. At the turn of 20th century new schools were established for individuals with other impairments such as mobility impairments(Peters,2003 ; Salend and Duhaney,2011). Initially, charities and religionist organisations provided services for student with SEN.(Ainscow,1999;Peters 2003;Salend and Duhaney,2011) At those times, individuals with disabilities were considered as uneducable and useless so education of students with SEN was viewed as a charity issue rather than human rights. (Ainscow,1999;Peters 2003). Later on, this movements indicated and elaborated as a part of national education services with a segregate perspective. (Ainscow,1999). After 1960's, Efforts of advocacy groups and concerns about ineffectiveness of segregate special education services, have started to change education of students with SEN from segregation to integration.(Ainscow,1999;Winzer,2009;Salend and Duhaney,2011). Through 1980's, Concerns of advocacy groups about slow progress of integration in Canada and the USA led to come about notion of inclusion.(O'Brien and Forest,2004; Winzer,2009) Concept of inclusion first gained recognition in Canada and the USA then in the UK.(O'Brien and Forest,2004). In 1994, Salamanca statement was promulgated by UNESCO which called countries to promote inclusive settings.(UNESCO,1994) This statement was adopted by 92 countries and 25 organisations and movement towards inclusion raised to a global level(Artiles and Dyson,2005; Mitchell,2005;UNESCO,1994). The difference between integration and inclusion explained many times.(Mittler,2000).The difference between integration and inclusion in transformation ; Integration focuses on make pupil be ready for mainstream placement and additional settings within a school which usually do not change(Ainscow,1995). However, Inclusion focuses reconstruct school system in order to be ready for responding diversity of students. (Rouse and Flourian ,1997).

Definitions of Inclusion

Inclusion is a multi-dimensional concept which covers many areas such as social policies, education, laws and employment (Rouse and Flourian ;1997,Mitchell 2005). Although inclusion is an international movement(Artiles and Dyson,2005), there is no internationally or commonly agreed definition of inclusion(Miles and Kaplan,2005; Mitchell 2005; Pearson,2001,). As a complex and problematic concept (Mitchell,2005;O'Brien,2001), inclusion is defined and conceptualized in a variety of ways which cause a lot of confusions (Hornby,2001;Mitchell,2005). However, common thread to all definitions to inclusion is spotting and valuing of inclusive education in schools. Some of the researches border inclusive education to education of individuals with disabilities and therefore they concantrate on connection of special and general education.Others consider it in a wider 'education for all' perspective which include all students who are vulnerable to exclusion such as ethnic minorities, religious minorities, poverty-striken children, rural populations , girls in some cultures.(Mitchell,2005).Some authors classified inclusion in order to make a clearer understating (Pearson,2001). Some of these classifications are: full inclusion(Ainscow,1999), responsible inclusion(Hornby,2001;Vaughn and Schum,1995), reverse inclusion(Schoger, 2006,1), cautious inclusion (Kaufmann, 1995; Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994 cited from Scottish Excessive,2005),moderate inclusion(Cigman,2007), social inclusion ,educational inclusion(Black-Hawkins et.al,2007), cultural inclusion(Corbett, ).Recently, there is a worldwide growing movement towards full inclusion approach which aim place all students in regular schools. However, to having teaching experience as a special education teacher both in special and mainstream schools I experienced regular school placement is not useful for some of students with SEN particularly those with severe disabilities In the framework of this essay concept of responsible inclusion approach will be adopted. The goal of this approach is that provide placement to all students in general education settings unless their social and academic needs cannot meet properly there.

Norwich (2008) identifies three dilemmas around the inclusion

of students with special educational needs: the identification dilemma - whether to

identify children with SEN/disabilities or not; the curriculum dilemma - whether

children with SEN should learn the same common curriculum or not and the location

dilemma - whether children with severe disabilities should learn in ordinary

classrooms or not.

Models of Disability

Education of students with SEN depends on how their disabilities are defined. Historically, Education of individuals with SEN has been shaped and conceptualised by quite different discourses and models which state relationships between individuals with SEN and their environments.(Mitchell,2010). Allan(1999,8) grouped discourses as following ; 'Medical discourse', 'charity discourse', 'rights discourse', 'lay and corporate discourse', 'market discourse'. Until today, special education has been dominated by two models of disability(Clark et.al,1995) due to their opposite opinions of the people with disabilities and their needs and responsibilities.

The first of these model is 'medical model', also known as 'psycho-medical model(Brown,2005;Clark et.al 1995) or the 'within-child model'(Lindsay,2003).This model posits disability as a stable, pathological feature located within individuals that can be diagnosed and categorized.(Mc Laughlin and Jordan,2005). In medical model, student with disabilities are placed in different forms of separate special schools which categorized to their diagnosis.(Mitchell,2005). This model is criticized for saying very little about system deficiencies and ignoring the barriers imposed by society.(Naicker,2005).Also, Frederickson(1996), argues that this model leads to the attribution of student failures to individual disabilities and masking the role of restrictive educational systems in creating failure.

The second model is commonly known as 'social model' also named 'socio-political-model'(Clark et al.,1995) or 'the big idea'(Hasler,1993 cited from Allan,1999). By contrast of medical model, social model, assumes that disability is created by society and is not the deficit of individuals with disabilities or is not result of their impairments. Disability is the product of physical, organisational and attitudinal barriers which posed by environment. Although this model increase attention to inclusive education, some researchers criticize this model to be an unscientific approach(see Heward, 2003; Kauffman, 1999; Kavale & Mostert, 2003; and Sasso, 2001 cited from Mitchell,2010). Also this model criticized for not taking account into impairments and within-child factors(Shakespeare and Watson 2002,Lindsay,2003) .

In addition to these two model, Affirmation model(Swain and French), Organisational paradigm(Clark et.al,1995), capability approach(Terzi,2005) have been developed by researchers in order to respond disability issue.

As Lindsay(2003) argues, establish right balance between two models of disability and understand how they interacts each other are important. Furthermore, creating new ways of thinking help overcome the barriers for student with SEN.


Since Notion of inclusion has been created , variety of alternative models have been developed and implemented(Artiles & Dyson in 2005,). Even though each model aims to implement successful inclusion in schools within their unique system, as O'Brien(2001) states there is no single model can guarantee that individual take their right to quality education. I believe that for a good practice of inclusion in schools combination of models, drawing on the best points of each is better than sticking a single model. In this essay word 'models' refers to each school wide intervention was designed and implemented by university-affiliated researchers with the intent of demonstrating an approach to inclusive education that could be systematically analyzed and replicated (Manset & Semmel, 1997, 157).In the light of definition of inclusion which adopted in the framework of this essay, Adaptive Learning Environment(ALEM) and Success for All models will be analysed in terms of placement ,participation and assessment. I do not

Adaptive Learning Environments

Adaptive learning environments model (ALEM) is one of the earliest models of inclusion which created in the Learning Research and Develop Center of University of Pittsburgh(Mannet&Semmel,1997; Wang et.al,1985). ALEM model was developed in order to provide school environments in which students can improve their basic skills to meet academic and social demands of schools. (Wang.et.al 1985).the ALEM consists of a combination of quite structured learning activities and an exploratory learning ingredients in order to meet each student learning needs in schoo(Wang,et.al,1985).

In terms of placement, students with SEN are placed in full-time mainstream classrooms(Wang et.al,1984). There special educators in ALEM classes who provide support and instruction.(Mannet and Semmel, 1997, Wang et.al,1985). Grouping of students based on skill levels rather than their grade or age. Therefore, ALEM combines multi-age , homogenous .Clark and Bott(1991,62) argue that this 'in-class pullout' practice could be damaging emotionally for students with low achievement but exclusion of students with special educational needs is prevented via co teaching.

In terms of participation, ALEM aims to create environment which improve academic and social involvement of all students.(Wang et.al,1984).Without exceptions, all students should have advantage of all the educational services provided at the classroom(Wang et.al,1984). In In ALEM model, instruction is planned individually and each student is anticipated in the curriculum at their own ability. Learning tasks are divided to small parts and self-scheudeld. In ALEM classes, students learn how to organize their own learning and responsible for planning and finishing their task within certain time limits. (Wang et.al, 1985). Beside individual works and self-scheduled projects ,students can also work in groups in special areas which arranged for benefit of all students.(Clark & Bott,1991). Each regular classroom also have special spaces where students can access to different materials which adapt to need of all students. In these centres students themselves take responsibility by doing so social participation reinforced.(Clark & Bott, 1991).

In terms of assessment, progress of participation of children is evaluated commonly(Manset & Semmel, 1997). The main goal of evaluations is monitoring and determining task which students are required to complete. There is a hierarchy between tasks so students cannot pass next activity before complete previous ones. Progress sheets are also provided students that students can record their progress during activities.(Clark&Bott,1991)

In order to implement program successfully , Wang (1983) developed the Data-Based Staff Development Program. Goal of this program is to improve skills and knowledge of teachers in facilitating learning experiences that are adapted to student differences. Fuch &Fuch(1988), criticized this program in their study, on the grounds that this program is very intensive and may cause problems with practice. Fuchs and Fuchs(1988) also reported, some negative opinions of teachers about Data-Based Staff Development Program.

A number of study have been done to examine the effectiveness of ALEM, however there are questions about model whether is effective to increase performance of student with disabilities. According to Wang (1985) studies have shown that " positive student achievement and attitudinal outcomes have been found in ALEM classrooms where mildly or moderately handicapped and gifted students are integrated on a full-time basis" (p.67).However, Mannet and Semmel (1997) point out the fact that there is no data information is provided to support Wang's claim. Furthermore, Fuchs and Fuchs(1988) states reviews about ALEM do not support Wang's argument even though, they notes, some positive results of ALEM model, such as positive effects of non-disabled students serving as models for student with disabilities, improved collaboration between general and special education teachers, and the increased capacity of student with SEN to work independently. In support of Fush and Fush, Zigmond and Baker(1996) argue, in their review of full inclusion programs , ALEM was not adequate to provide intensive teaching to students with learning difficulties and services were superficial.


Success for All

Success for All is the largest schoolwide reform models in the U.S.A which has served more than two millions of children since its' first implementation in 1987 (Success for All Foundation,2013).Success for All program first implemented in Baltimore, up to date program is implementing in most of U.S.A states and other countries such as the UK and Canada. (Slavin and Madden ).

In terms of placement, Student with special educational needs are placed in general education classrooms based on formal and informal assessments by experts.(Madden et.al,1993). Every day , students attend ninety minutes reading lessons. During reading sessions students are grouped again according to their reading level.(Madden,et.al,1993).By contrast of reading lessons, general education classroom placements are organized according to age appropriateness.(Madden et.al,1993). Students who cannot follow pace of reading group because of additional reading problems are provided extra assist by certified tutors. Students are taken from social studies sessions for about 20 minutes and new teaching strategies are adapted in accordance with students needs in order to improve the skills which taught in the general education classroom(Madden et.al,1993).For this sessions a separate classroom are not used always.(Manset&Semmel,1997).Therefore, Inclusion is provided responsibly in Success for All program. Student does not necessarily place in mainstream classroom whole day although aim of the program is to avoid pulling-out.(Mannet and Semmet,1997).

In terms of participation, Collaboration between students is emphasized by the Success for All program. In order to improve skills about language, reading and writing, students are required to work in pair groups.(Slavin et.al,1990)During this process students have discussion opportunity which involve writing and speaking skills(Madden,et.al,1993). There are also additional activities are provided such as 'Partner reading and story retelling, reading comprehension practice, and writers' workshop with peer editing' (Manset & Semmel, 1997, 165).The homogeneity of reading groups in accordance with reading level of students, provides active participation of all students including also those with special educational needs, as they can keep pace with their peers without thinking weaker. Team work and collaboration increase the equal participation of students, which can improve students' academic skills and improve interaction of students at a social level(Cooper&Jacobs,2011).

In terms of assessment, Progress of students are followed regularly(Manset & Semmel,1997).In order to examine, effectiveness of practice , progress of students are evaluated both formal and informal methods.(Slavin et.al,1990).Particularly, students are assessed in an eight week periods in order to monitor their reading progress. The information from assessment is used to develop alternative strategies for teaching in the general education classroom and changes in reading groups , family support interventions, in other words meeting needs of all students..Assessment process is controlled by the program facilitator and active involvement of teachers in grade- level teams are provided.(Madden et.al,1993).

Effectiveness of Success for All program has been researched in many studies. Accoring to Manset &Semmel(1997) outcomes of Success for All program is positive. Particulary, Students with lowest achievement level performed higher in Succes for All Program than schools which using traditional methods. However, according to Cooper and Jacobs (2011,103), feel that Success for All program is 'limited in scope and in design, and randomized controlled trials have not been carried out'.


The inclusive education experience is connected The experience of inclusion at the level of the school is linked to the wider

educational policy context in which the school resides. This section highlights the

interaction of system-wide weaknesses and their implications at school level.

Challenges related to lack of leadership, skills and knowledge capacity, curricular,

assessment and certification gaps, failure to meet needs and restrictive practices and

policies are outlined.

Contestability and Competition between Schools

Market oriented approach is often considered to improve the quality of education. Yet, researchers mostly oppose to this idea due to its negative effects on students with special educational needs.(Mitchell,2010) Blackmore (2000), believes these students are not subject to be thought as marketable products. Dyson (2005) states that those kinds of schools would be cautious about accepting low-attaining students as these students are to decrease schools' average performance. Rouse and Florian (1997) also believe that marketised education endangers inclusive education and students with SEN are weak to study in that route. For instance, some schools discriminate students with SEN by attracting high-profile students. Moreover, local education cannot control the regulations in all aspects, and parents of these students are usually not able to understand these regulations(Mitchell,2010). Barton (1999) claims that market-oriented education causes a more hierarchical and selective system leading to excluding regulations and applications. He also states that these ideas aggravate the existing inequalities. In Europe, parallel concerns have emerged, Meijer et al. (2003) believe schools prefer student with more success as other students with special needs do not have significant contribution to general achievement. Slee (2005), , notes that competitive schools puts parents in a way to choose the schools based on student results, which perpetuates social division. This is compounded when schools are given permission through a quasi-market to become selective of their student cohort. Slee felt that the implications of this for students who are likely to jeopardise school results on academic performance league tables, and therefore for notions of inclusive education, are stark. School rankings lead schools to choose successful student causing low-profile students to be ostracised from quality education (Mitchell & Desai, 2005). Governments are responsible to take action in order to sustain inclusion into classes. As Blackmore (2000) discusses the need in state intervention into inclusion of students with special needs. Dyson (2005) also argues that the state intervention is needed so that students with special educational needs could be protected against market-oriented selective education.

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Curriculum Barriers

Inclusion of students with special needs in general curriculum requires several important needs of them which are not easy to cope with. In their up-to-date analysis Shaddock et al. (2009) stated that the issues which are taught in the class to students with a disability might not be the things that they really need to learn. This situation especially reveals if there is a vast gap between disabled student who has lack of fundamental skills and their peers. Moreover, under this condition it is very harsh for a teacher to find the right tempo in the class, especially when the teacher focuses on mostly course content throughout the course. (Mitchell,2010).

An up-to-date book which was written by Farrell in 2010 has offered a more critical view which asserts that a special education programme should be differentiated from a normal curriculum in three aspects. Firstly balance between subject and areas should be considered; second, a balance between parts and subjects should be established; and lastly, ingredients of the curriculum should cover essential areas. He supposed that even if Department for Education and Skills (DfES) accept to burden needs of pupils with mediocre learning difficulties, this attempt cannot be met by the National Curriculum which have not a considerable adaptability capacity (DfES, 2005,).

Teacher Barriers

The teacher's attitudes towards inclusion is one of the significant element to decide the success of it. The teacher are valuable sources in order to achieve success in inclusion (Avramidis & Kalyva,O'Brien, 2000). On the other hand, the mainstream teachers hesitate whether inclusion is applicable in reality or not. These hesitations take their source from the followings; the seriousness and the type of students' difficulties, the teachers' opinions about students' ability, the teachers' opinions about their own ability to handle with these difficulties, the insufficient capacity of mainstream schools in order to solve the problems for the students who experience difficulties (Croll and Moses, 2000). The students who have physical or sensory disabilities come up against more positive attitudes while the students with behavioural and emotional difficulties are coming up against less positive attitudes (Farrell, 2000; Lindsay, 2007). On the other hand, the evidence on how the teachers who experience teaching the children who have special education needs shows differentness. Most of the teachers feel anxious an stressed and also behave less positive, if there is a probability of having a child with some difficulties in their classrooms. Pivik et. al (2002), state, when teachers behave less positive or negative against student with special educational needs, this situation highly effects behaviours of other children in a negative way such as isolation, name calling or labelling

Lack of confidence and competence in teaching students with special educational needs are barriers to including students with special educational needs in their mainstream schools(Forlin,2008). Many of teachers reported lack of confidence and competence in teaching students with special educational needs, especially with complex difficulties.(Forlin et.al,2008). Forlin(2008) stated in her study this situation cause to practice ineffective teaching strategies in education of student with special educational needs and poor achievement of student with special educational needs. Secondly, Negative attitudes of teachers against inclusion also are barriers to inclusion.. Ellins and Porter (2005) stated in their study, expectation of high results and ratings in league tables put pressure on teachers and therefore led to teachers to have a more negative attitude towards student with special educational needs who were supposed being not able to meet high standards. They also noted, Student with special educational needs showed more poorly performance where teachers had mostly negative attitudes towards them. Low expectations are also another barriers for promoting inclusion in schools. Teachers who underestimate potential of students with disability suppose students with SEN cannot achieve the goals therefore they resistant to inclusive educational settings and cause low achievement of students with special educational needs.


Improving teacher practices

The mainstream teachers who have the responsibility of inclusion and who feel competent in order to teach pupils with special educational needs are at the centre of efficient inclusion needs (Thomas et al, 1998). According to Avramidis et al. (2000), this situation is a kind of challenge because it was thought as a different place and pedagogical method was needed for the students with special educational needs and the mainstream teachers could not teach these students appropriately.

As an important number of research shows, for successful inclusion, the teachers' practices are very important. The main components of the teachers' practice are giving support to inclusion of the students who have special educational needs including contingency management , scaffolding, modelling and giving feedback which is another effective educational method (Flem et al, 2004). In addition, other research shows that teamwork and collaboration are other important components of succesful inclusive practice (Lindsay, 2007). To reflect together and a good planning are important for a successful teamwork (Hunt et al., 2003). In order to achieve inclusion, it is needed to analyse and define again the role of the specialist educator.

According to Giangreco (1997), as well as needs for individualised instruction, new methods include; co-teaching, adapting the academic program, -training the staff member such as classroom assistant to give effective support, teamwork and supporting the mainstream class teachers, selecting and adapting materials .In addition, the studies from all over the world point out that in order to achieve inclusion, accessibility of in-class support has an important role (Farrell, 2000). Moreover, support from a professional team should be provided for the teacher in order to achieve success in the schools. Every person should work as a part of the team in the effective schools.

It would be helpful if teachers feel confident and competent on their teaching ability. According to Brownell and Pajares (1999), in terms of teaching practices, the important predictive and deterministic factors are the beliefs of the teachers. In order to improve the skills which are necessary for successful teaching in inclusive settings, it is important to train the teachers both after and during the service. According to Mittler (2000) ''Ensuring that newly qualified teachers have a basic understanding of inclusive teaching is the best investment that can be made.'' ( p.137)

Involving Families

According to Farrell (1997), parents' opinions about inclusion show difference. As a result of the increase of the students who have special educational needs in schools, inclusion is advised to most of the families as the preferred choice. Which factors have impact on parents' choice of provision are not clear for now. However, It must be accepted that the family is a member of the collaborative team of inclusive practice (Giangreco, 1997). According to Giangreco (1997), there are assumptions which are important in order to work with families effectively in terms of inclusion and they are;

• families know characteristics of their children better than anyone else

• families can have positive impact on the quality of educational services provided in their community

• families can show the greatest interest in seeing their children learn

• families must live with the outcomes of decisions made by educational teams all

• families are always a part of the child's education programme and involve it duiring his or her entire school life

Face to face meeting are helpful in order to answer parents' individual concerns. These face to face meetings can lead a deeper sense of connection and to be understood and involvement with the school, and can help to solve individual concerns. This approach may increase the demand of time and staff resources. On the other hand, it gives parents an opportunity to talk about relevant matters. In addition, it helps to make their thoughts clear and to provide an emotional release. On the other hand, it is essential to consult with a specialist when it is necessary and to conclude any matters which need additional interest and attention (Rose and Howley, 2007).

The information about their child's circumstance, the treatment and the special education help provided at the school should be provided to the parents. Pinkus (2005) made a study about the partnership experience of the parents and found out that to reach the sufficient and correct information was not easy for parents. In addition, even sometimes professionals but mostly parents could confuse about which kind of help was available, the criteria of qualification and how to get in touch with the many different service providers. Generally, parents want to be full informed about available services, educational progress, the characteristics of their child's additional needs and emotional and behavioural matters. The parent support groups which are detailed and full with information can provide social interaction and reduce isolation. The value of these groups is appreciated by parents as well. Moreover, parents may need more advice about how to respond to and to encourage the children while playing or during other activities at home. For this reason, to provide information about the condition of child and what type of help and support is possible outside the school can be very helpful because, generally, parents find the information about inclusion and its implications useful (Quinn, 2001


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