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Successful Mainstreaming in Schools

The philosophy of teaching students with disabilities has been changing. Separated from regular students at first, they must now be moved into classrooms with the rest. This requires teachers of special education and general education to collaborate (Ripley, 1997). Question Ripley’s article, “Collaboration between General and Special Education Teachers” poses the following research question: How shall teachers of special education and general education collaborate? After all, teachers have been traditionally looked upon as sole supervisors of their classrooms (Ripley).

Definition of Terms Collaborative or Cooperative Teaching Teachers of general education and special education jointly plan and supervise a classroom of students with disabilities and regular students. Teachers of general education are mainly responsible for curriculum. Teachers of special education, on the other hand, are specialized in methods of assessment as well as adaptation in such classrooms (Ripley) Assumptions Made by the Author Collaborative teaching is a new concept requiring substantial planning on the part of school districts, principals, and teachers.

Because Ripley’s article is about cooperative teaching in public schools, joint decision making is called for (Ripley). Points of View Cooperative teaching must be planned at the classroom level to boot. Teachers of special education and general education must meet at least once every week to collectively plan teaching sessions. Educators that cooperate consider these meetings crucial to effective collaborative teaching. Moreover, these teachers have confidence in the professional skills of their partner educators.

Collaborating to create a healthy learning environment for all students, their quality of teaching continues to improve (Ripley). Information Perusing a study on collaborative teaching conducted by other researchers, Ripley finds that students with disabilities and regular students improve both academically and socially as a result of mainstreaming. As regular students learn to respect those who are different from themselves, students with disabilities improve their social skills.

Academic improvement is manifested as all students – receiving greater attention from their teachers than before – increase in understanding of their individual skills and achievements. At the same time, their teachers experience professional growth and increased levels of motivation in the classroom (Ripley). Inferences The fact that all students benefit from collaborative teaching is sure evidence for school districts, schools and teachers to create effective plans for the same. Cooperative teaching must be part of teacher preparation programs.

Around the beginning of each school year, time for joint planning must be allocated as this is necessary for successful cooperative teaching (Ripley). Consequences Research findings revealing that collaborative teaching is beneficial for both students and teachers offer a new paradigm to educators. They must no longer consider themselves sole supervisors of their classrooms. Rather, cooperative teachers must accept that they are jointly responsible for learning imparted in their classrooms; at the same time, they must believe that they are responsible for all students in their classrooms (Ripley).

Opinion It is important for all public school districts to collectively plan and organize mainstreaming. Students with disabilities must be welcomed in all classrooms in public schools around the country. Seeing that individuals with disabilities tend to develop low self-esteem if they are separated from the rest, it is even more important for schools to help them integrate with regular students. After all, the school plays a significant role in the growth of an individual.

Furthermore, as educational achievement has an integral relationship with the student’s level of confidence in his or her own accomplishments and talents, allowing for mainstreaming ensures that students with disabilities are not hampered in their academic lives. As a matter of fact, these students may achieve evenly with the rest in their lives after school, provided that they are not separated from their regular peers at their essential growing stage, that is, their youth in school.

Thus Ripley’s article is a vital contribution to literature on mainstreaming. The author offers ideas that all public school districts should make good use of. A follow-up article with pointers especially for public school districts is necessitated by “Collaboration between General and Special Education Teachers. ”

References

Ripley, S. (1997, Jul). Collaboration between General and Special Education Teachers. ERIC Digest.

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