Inclusion is the act of being included in a group or a structure. It is the practice that involves the provision of equal opportunities and access to resources to people who might be marginalized. The main aim of inclusion is equality. Inclusive education involves vast activities with the ultimate goal of getting all the children to learn and participate while forming healthy bonds with their teachers. Inclusion whereby students with disabilities are integrated into the general, and regular education classrooms instead of the special education classrooms are beneficial but still, on the other hand, is challenging.
Pros of Inclusion
Inclusive education aims to develop new ways of teaching, among other activities geared towards having an equal ground for all the children to participate. Inclusion has its positive side, and the advantages include;
1. Development: The integration into a mainstream classroom allows children with disabilities or special needs to learn through observation from their peers. Different abilities possessed by children are improved when the children are together as they can motivate each other to do better.
2. Social skills: The increased interactions when there is inclusion with developing children help those with special needs develop communication skills as they try to imitate their peers. Other social skills like high self-esteem are also passed during these interactions.
3. Preparation for life after school: Inclusion plays an important part in preparing the students with special needs for life outside the school, where most of their interactions will involve non-disabled people. This contribution is crucial in their lives as it eases their survival in the future.
4. Higher behavioral expectations: The integration provides access to educational experiences that are more enriched than when they are in the special needs classrooms. The expectations from both in terms of behavior and educational performance are higher. The skills learned are developed and turn out to be important in the future.
5. Family satisfaction: The families of students with special needs feel contented knowing their children are being treated normally and have a chance to create real friendships. The inclusion of this group of students allows them to lead a normal life, and they feel like part of the community in their schools.
6. Typical development of students: The non-disabled students benefit academically and socially from inclusion. They get to learn and appreciate people with different needs clearly when they have peers with special needs. This helps them to prepare for a life in an inclusive society. Relationships formed are meaningful as most of them help their peers to become better.
7. Life skills: Inclusion helps normal students to develop and acquire key life skills as they learn to be accepting, helpful and respectful. This is important not only during interactions with their peers but also depicts how real education should be.
8. Mastery of skills: The peer tutoring model has to be utilized; non-disabled students can benefit academically. They gain more experience and master the skill they teach the special needs students a concept or a skill.
9. Improved teaching skills: The teachers handling inclusion classrooms have students of diverse populations and needs. With the students being on different levels, the teachers can improve or even develop other teaching skills and differentiate activities for the groups and those that will involve all the students.
10. Enhanced staff collaboration: Inclusion classrooms strengthen collaboration skills as they work on the best academic plan to bring out the best for the students with special needs. It brings together teachers, parents, and specialists in this field.
Cons of Inclusion
On the other hand, the inclusion model has its drawbacks which include;
1. Disruption of the learning environment: The inclusion structure can create disruptions for the other students. This is because some of the disabled students might have advanced triggers leading to challenging actions in class. Such distractions make it difficult for others to remain focused.
2. Requirement of special classroom configuration: Some of the physical disabilities require a specific kind of configuration of the classrooms they must use. Some of the disabled students might have a hard time catching up while in the wrong environment.
3. Rush of the process leads to its failure: Most of the schools rush towards the inclusion processes without having the right measures and conditions in place. The process should be the gradual failure to which most of them end up being unsuccessful.
4. Might encourage acting out behaviors from students: Some kids experience anxiety due to the inclusion process, and they tend to act out while in the classroom to create a distraction. This could also be a way of shifting the attention from their academic struggles.
5. Minor class roles are often delegated to disabled students: In most situations, the special needs students have minor classroom roles to take up, which may make them feel diminished.
6. Increased absenteeism: Research shows that kids who share a classroom with their peers with emotional and behavioral disabilities record higher absenteeism rates.
7. Impact on the minority students: Under the inclusion structure, the students from the lower class in society face more challenges. The score gaps existing between the whites and the minorities tend to be larger in inclusion classrooms than in the traditional setting.
8. The teachers are forced to have a practical understanding of different disabilities: It is almost impossible for the inclusion model to be safe where the teacher lacks special education program knowledge. They need to understand each disability and the required response for the learning environment to be safe for all students.
9. Strain on resources: The inclusion model works only when the resources are adequate for the staff to conduct individualized learning. At times the kids might be unable to process the curriculum, and they will struggle with success.
10. Divided attention and time: Special needs students require more time and attention. This results in the diversion of time from the regular students to those with disabilities.
The benefits of inclusion carry more weight than the cons. Inclusion acts as a milestone towards achieving the main goals of the education, including community integration as staff and non-staff members collaborate to achieve the main goal. Equity and equality are important aspects in inclusion for all parties and the tolerance for diversity. Researchers need to focus on ensuring that better integration techniques and strategies are developed.