Analyze a Special Education Program of Interest
The least restrictive environment should relate to the specific student’s education needs. The main goal for this is to ensure all students study together in the general classroom be it the disabled students or the non- disabled children. The general education teachers are required to educate and support the children suffering from a disability within the general classroom with the rest of the students. It was given the name inclusive program. The main setback of the inclusive program is that most of the general classroom teachers are not fully equipped or prepared to teach and monitor the special education students. PL 94-142 opened the way for new inclusive programs and the growth of how to handle students in the least restrictive environment.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 is an amendment to PL 94-142 and considered the first program to be related to special education (Mackey, 2014). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires all students to be educated in the least restrict environment which will be comfortable to all students. This is the general education classroom. The general education classroom does not work for all students hence a more appropriate place and a more restrictive environment is needed. The residential treatment center is specific to the individual’s needs of the students with disabilities but the main aim is for them to be in a general education classroom with the non- disabled peers and follow the inclusive program. Most of the people see the least restrictive environment as a suitable way to avoid and limit discrimination and create a wholesome welcoming environment for all students regardless of their disability.
The right way to integrate students who suffer from disability to fit in the least restrictive environment is through an ideology referred to as universal design for learning (Mackey, 2014). Universal design for learning The universal design for learning was an idea which was implemented with the aim of designing and presenting all the students with education regardless of their abilities. The universal design for learning includes the entire classroom and the school environment. Teaching is considered an easy task but actually, it is a hard task. Not only is teaching hard to teach the students with disabilities but also in teaching the students with the same abilities and characteristics (Morton, 2013). By including the students with disabilities in the same classroom can be challenging to the teacher.
The teachers are not trained in the teacher preparation programs on how to deal with this challenging inclusive program and environment. The teachers are set up for failures by making them implement an inclusive program which they have no or little program about it or no preparation. Another challenging aspect with being a general education teacher teaching the special education students is the limited amount of time to plan for the instruction and collaborate with the special education teacher that is necessary to implement inclusion successfully. Not only is there a limited time to work with the special education teacher, there is also minimal time to review and develop a deep understanding of the individual student’s needs and abilities to modify instruction.
The general education teacher is most of the occasions do not get the required paperwork such as the Individualized Education Plan, in a timely fashion to assist them in accommodating and supporting their special education students (McKenna et al, 2015). Another challenge with the inclusive program is the personnel. There are minimal personnel within the classroom to support the complex and diverse needs of the students. Special education is not an easy task since it exhausts the teacher mentally, physically and emotionally. The supply of teachers in the school is minimal hence the development of expedited teaching programs, emergency teaching permits and the increase in the substitute teachers. Consequences arise due to the inexperienced teaching the students in the general education classroom.
Ultimately, this leaves students and classrooms that need the most support with teachers who have the weakest training which results in continuing social and education inequality. The high rate of teacher turnover leaves the students in the hands of inexperienced first- year teachers. The teachers when interviewed said that the undergraduate programs did not adequately prepare them to meet the needs of the students with disabilities in their classroom (Broadbooks, 2008). The teachers go through the teaching programs but they are not taught prepared for effective classroom teaching. The expedited programs offer a limited amount of time for the student teachers to develop self- efficacy which ultimately is detrimental to the students they will teach. The main setback for the expedited programs is the limited credible reports which make it hard to measure the effectiveness of the performance of the teachers (Broadbooks, 2008).
Ideas on how to make inclusive programs work There challenges and problems which affect the inclusive program. The mentor’s role is to ensure the new teachers gain superior teaching skills as well as increase time for problem-solving struggles the new teachers might be facing. Administrators should be able to identify who their strong teachers are and place them in these mentoring roles. This phase should still incorporate administrative evaluation and observation (Kottler, 2012). Professional development Teachers should ensure they are contributing to the professional development. This does not apply to the new and struggling teachers but also for the qualified teachers. Those teachers, who indulge in pedagogical training and field experience, bring up teachers who are more satisfied with teaching and thus are more likely to remain in the teaching field for a longer period of time.
This gives room for the teacher to grow and develop with their students. An example in California, teachers who are able to complete a teaching program, still must go through a teacher induction program once they exit a teaching program. This teacher induction program offers two additional years of further training and workshops to develop teachers to ensure teaching programs covered everything that is needed to be an effective teacher. This makes them fit to handle the students with disabilities. The teachers should not, in any case, be responsible for the cause if the behavior or academic failure. The teachers need to hold themselves accountable and if they are not aware of the special education come out and say so then embark on the journey of gaining skills and knowledge on how to handle the special education students and how to handle them in the general classroom.
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