An inclusive classroom is one that includes both special education students as well as their peers who do not need special help. Research has shown that inclusive classrooms are beneficial for all. Teachers do not have to deal with split-up classrooms, special education students do not have to feel cut off from the rest of the school, and their peers can become more used to interacting with them. However, schools that are just beginning to integrate inclusive classrooms into their formats may find it initially difficult to do so. Here are a few things that parents should look for in inclusive classrooms to which their children are assigned.
Characteristics of Inclusive Classrooms
First, there should be curriculum types for all varieties of learners. Visual learners will need brightly colored pictures and textbooks along with visual aids, such as posters and charts, to help them more clearly understand new material. Hands-on learners will do well with manipulatives that they can handle to learn and to demonstrate their knowledge. Even something as simple as play dough can help these children excel.
Second, there will most likely be plenty of technology in these rooms. Computers and iPads are integral to students’ learning and are equally good for special education students as they are for their peers. Apps and learning games can move at the pace of the student rather than at the pace of the teacher. Audio-visual equipment and other assistive devices may also be seen in here.
Third, there should be plenty of spots where students can congregate. While separate, relaxing seating areas can set students at ease with their peers, it is also important that there be a communal area where the entire class can gather. In younger grades, this may be as simple as a large, open floor space for circle time. In older grades, a large table can serve the purpose. Students will quickly learn to come together to help each other on projects.