Inclusion or Pull Out What Is Best for Students During Literacy Literature Review

Pages: 6 (1740 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … Inclusion on Student Performance

The field of education has long been plagued by the question of how to handle a divergent student body. Particularly challenging in this regard is the group of students that has become known as "special needs" students. In the past, these students have generally been subject to "pull-out" strategies, where they received targeted education outside of the "regular" classroom. More recently, however, inclusion strategies have been hypothesized as more effective not only for the promotion of the self-esteem of these children, but also for their actual performance on an academic level. According to Robbins (2010), however, empirical studies in this regard have been far from conclusive and indeed contradictory. This suggests a need for further study regarding the academic performance of children who are inclusively educated as part of the mainstream classroom. The literature reviewed here will reveal the need for further empirical study, with specific focus on children in elementary school, as well as outcomes in terms of social environment, effective teaching, student performance, and teacher support.

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While O'Brien, Kudlacek, and Howe (2009) focus their attention on inclusive physical education for European students, this can also usefully be applied to elementary school education. Importantly, the authors identify four integrated areas to focus upon for their investigation: Teacher (strategies), students (performance), interaction (social outcomes), and product, where teachers and students interact to create a final product in terms of educational outcomes. These four elements can also be applied to subject areas other than physical education.

Social Outcomes

Social outcomes in inclusive classrooms can be considered in terms of a reciprocal effect, where investigations can focus either on the effect of the presence of special needs children on the other students in the classroom or on the effect of inclusion on the special needs children and their own socialization process within the classroom.

TOPIC: Literature Review on Inclusion or Pull Out What Is Best for Students During Literacy Assignment

Of the various inclusion related questions addressed by Korenich and Salisbury (2006, p. 10), one was the effect of the presence of special needs children on the socialization of their classmates. The authors found that students were generally very positive about the presence of children with disabilities in their classrooms. Indeed, this positive attitude increased with the increased representation of children with disabilities in classrooms. Concomitantly, problem behavior was not significantly affected when compared to other, less differentiated classrooms. It is also interesting to note that the actual social skills and competence of students were found to be unaffected by the presence of students with disabilities. Generally, the interactions of students were found to be positive, with negligible levels of negative behavior. Indeed, the authors found no negative attitudes from non-disabled students towards their classmates, despite concerns in this regard.

The authors do not note any reciprocal effect on children with disabilities and the outcomes for their social skills and interactions. However, it might be assumed that, experiencing a positive attitude from and contact with their classmates, children with disabilities had equally positive experiences. It would have been interesting had the authors included data from this viewpoint as well.

In the light of this, Robbins (2010, p. 62) points out that authors such as Lloyd Dunn has questioned the effectiveness of pull-out strategies and "special education" as early as 1968, especially in terms of the tendency of these strategies to create bias not only on the grounds of intellectual ability, but also on the grounds of elements such as ethnicity. In addition, these strategies were found not only to be psychologically damaging to the recipients of such instruction, but also ineffective in terms of the intended instructional effects. This, at the time, was the basis for inclusion practices within the classroom. However, the author also points out that the debate continues even among contemporary educators.

Effective Teaching in the Inclusive Environment.

Significantly, instruction by highly qualified teachers in their fields had a more positive effect on included children than teachers who were less qualified Robbins (2010). In their article, Lingo, Barton-Arwood, and Jolivette (2011, p. 6) focus on the fact that teachers are today, more than ever before, held accountable for the learning not only of all the children in their classrooms, including the special needs children and their learning process. To accomplish this effectively, the authors suggest a collaborative approach between general and special education teachers, which would, in theory, create the same improvement effect upon the performance of children as those highly skilled teachers mentioned by Robbins.

According to the authors, measuring the outcomes of teacher collaboration can be relatively difficult, since immediate results are not necessarily indicated by student performance. To remedy this, it is suggested that teachers conduct comparative monitoring of students in both inclusive and pull-out areas. This is also an area that can benefit from further investigation.

Using a slightly different focus on the same theme, Potter (2011) considers the effectiveness of collaboration that involves two certified teachers in a general education for special needs students as opposed to a single special education teacher in a segregated setting. The specific focus was to determine the outcomes of such collaboration for students with mild disabilities in terms of improving their reading skills.

At the same time, as mentioned by Lingo, Barton-Arwood and Jolivette (2011), Potter also refers to the increasing pressure on teachers to maintain state standards and prepare all students for their future as students and eventual contributors to the economy. In addition, Potter reiterates Robbins' (2010) assertion that data regarding outcomes for students with mild disabilities are somewhat scant, if not downright inconclusive. This is particularly the case for collaborative teaching situations in the general education classroom. Hence the need for conducting the present study and future investigations of the same kind.

Significantly, Potter's study yielded somewhat inconclusive results when comparing the results of students taught in collaborative settings and those in segregated teaching situations. At best, this reveals the need for intensified focus in the future. Potter's study, for example, focused on four classes in one school, as well as only on students with specific and mild disabilities. Furthermore, results were compared only for the students with disabilities in segregated and collaborated classrooms. No comparisons were made between students with disabilities and their mainstream classmates. Hence, there are sufficient elements to highlight for future studies of the kind in order to improve the differentiation of results.

A larger sample size can also differentiate results, which could have important implications for future teaching practice. Results can be differentiated by including collaboration activities with general and special education teachers. When considering the way in which the inclusive environment affects students and learning, it is also interesting to consider studies that focus on the relative success of pull-out strategies, since these can ultimately be compared to the success level of inclusive strategies. One study in this regard is that by Ulring et al. (2012). This study is significant in the light of general favor being shown to inclusive classroom environments in terms of sound teaching strategies, especially when it comes to children with certain types of disabilities.

The authors use a segregated teaching strategy to demonstrate the success of certain reading and writing instruction practices on students with disabilities. The study focused on a small population sample, including only three elementary students with disabilities. The justification for the nature of the study is focused upon the current illiteracy levels in the country, where reading and writing are described as crucial skills in terms of obtaining most types of work in the United States today.

Specifically, the instruction strategies investigated include flashcards and reading racetracks in a segregated teaching environment. The findings suggest a relative measure of success for all students, where lower levels of ultimate achievement related to lack of school attendance rather than a shortcoming in the methods employed. Significantly, despite the fact that the investigation was conducted in a separate teaching setting, the authors conclude that the methods can be implemented in general classrooms as well. This would facilitate the inclusive environment for both children with specific disabilities and those who simply struggle somewhat with their reading and writing abilities. The implications for future investigations of the kind in a variety of settings are significant.

Another excellent approach for studying the effectiveness of teaching in inclusive classroom environments is by studying schools that have shown favorable outcomes for this environment. McLesky, Waldron, and Redd (2012) recently conducted such a study. In terms of teaching strategies, it was found that the school under investigation included teachers who, in addition to being highly qualified, also displayed a certain set of common characteristics and expectations (McLesky, Waldron, and Redd, 2012, p.5).

These teachers, for example, were highly concerned with meeting the needs of all the students in their classrooms. In addition, both teachers and administrators had high expectations for not only academic achievement, but also the behavior of all students. In terms of helping students to achieve these goals, the attitude of the school staff was that of "warm demanders," meaning that a warm and caring attitude is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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