Special Needs Students in regular Classrooms: An In Depth Examination of Inclusive Education
Henderlong, Kate M.
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As a student teacher in a general education classroom, I was faced with the challenge of teaching a difficult subject matter to students of varying levels, including those with special needs. Chemistry in itself is a challenging subject for many individuals; and it is one often intimidates people. The subject is hard to explain and involves a various topics that challenge even the best of students. My biggest challenge, however, was finding ways to teach this subject in a manner which would allow me to accommodate students with Individualized Education Plans (lEP's) as well as 504 plans. The reason that this was so challenging was because I had no prior knowledge going into my student teaching as to what an IEP or a 504 plan was, let alone how to accommodate students who had them. Furthermore, I found that I was not the only intern to be left out in the cold. Worse yet, there were teachers who had no idea how to accommodate special needs students effectively. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to be an advocate for these children. I want people to understand what inclusion is and how to effectively use it in the classroom. It is important for teachers, both interns and practicing teachers, to be trained with these sensitivities and to understand that sometimes the only help these children get is at school. Moreover, I want taxpayers to understand that when done correctly, inclusion can be beneficial to every student in the classroom. Not only does it allow those with special needs to have the experience of a "regular classroom" but it also teaches the other students patience, compassion, and understanding for the needs of others. Inclusion or mainstreaming is essential for these children to ensure that they get the same level of experience as their peers.