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Running head: Can the Inclusive Classroom Work?

Can the Inclusive Classroom Work?


Cheyenne (Donna Kolody)
EDGR 602 Contemporary Educational Thought

Can the Inclusive Classroom Work?

Mara Sapon-Shevin (2008) builds a compelling case for the inclusive classroom; in
Learning in an Inclusive Community, Sapon-Shevin (2008) states, In the absence of diversity,
its hard to learn to be comfortable with difference. Sapon-Shevin contends that gaining comfort
and fluency depends on Genuine relationships often learning that many of our initial
assumptions or judgments were, in fact, erroneous (Sapon-Shevin, 2008, p. 227). Inclusion is
about more than relationships; students learn the value of collaboration, communication, justice
and equity. The inclusive classroom put[s] a premium on how people treat one another
(Sapon-Shevin, 2008, p. 232).
On the hand, Wade Carpenter (2008), feels that the current model for inclusion is not a
viable solution. Carpenter states that nearly every conversation he has with practicing teachers
reveals frustration and sadness over students questionably included or included in large classes
with inadequate support (Carpenter, 2008, p. 234). Carpenter contends that inclusion, along
with desegregation, was built around socialization; which is important, but it is not
unproblematic (Carpenter, 2008, p. 235). According to Carpenters beliefs, no child should be
denied the benefits of our education (Carpenter, 2008, p. 236) however, inclusion, as it is
currently practiced, places a burden on schools, educators and students.
After much research and reflection, I find I fall somewhere in the middle of these
arguments for and against full inclusion. Currently, classroom teachers are overburdened with
large classrooms, a lack of resources and students who do not value education. In addition, many
schools lack quality educational assistants; teachers often must spend a large proportion of their
class time assisting special needs students.
Gayle Hernandez, a teacher in British Columbia with over 16 years of experience in an
inclusive classroom, writes about the things that make inclusion work in an article titled

Can the Inclusive Classroom Work?

Forming Inclusive Classrooms. Hernandez (n.d.) states inclusive classrooms and schools are
complex entities and require much thought and planning " and describes the many components
of classroom. Many of the elements Hernandez (n.d.) incorporates into her class include
techniques our class readings covered; for example, the belief that all learners are strong and
capable (Hernandez, n.d.). The primary factor in making inclusion viable appears to be the
fact that The Ministry of Education in British Columbia, Canada has endorsed my practice by
providing me with a well-thought-out and well-balanced child-centered curriculum that
addresses not only Intellectual; but also Social/Emotional, Aesthetic/Artistic, Social
Responsibility and Physical Development foci (Hernandez, n.d.). Unfortunately, this factor is
sorely missing in most U.S schools today. Inclusion can, and does, work in many schools around
the globe; however, without full commitment (and the finances to back that commitment), our
efforts toward full inclusion lack the main ingredients.

Can the Inclusive Classroom Work?

References
Sapon-Shevin M. (2008). Learning in an inclusive community. In J. Noll (Ed.), Taking Sides:
Clashing Views on Educational Issues (17 ed., pp. 226-232). [Kindle Edition] Retrieved
from http://www.amazon.com

Carpenter W. (2008). The other side of inclusion. In J. Noll (Ed.), Taking Sides: Clashing Views
on Educational Issues (17 ed., pp. 226-232). [Kindle Edition] Retrieved from
http://www.amazon.com

Hernandez, G. (n.d.). Forming inclusive classrooms. Retrieved from http://nichcy.org/forminginclusive-classrooms

Can the Inclusive Classroom Work?