Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is it time to go back to the "regular classroom"?

I'm struggling with teaching in a self contained classroom and balancing out a belief that a "regular classroom" could work for all students if the classroom was transformed in to a real learning environment.  This year we have been "including" a couple of my students quite a bit and its working really well but its working around making modifications for that student and I think that if you started from the ground and built up it could be so much more for all students.  I think it could be what we need to zero in on balancing academics with fostering democratic community related skills. 

So I'm at the point of thinking that there are two ways to keep moving forward.  One is to continue to move my students in to regular classrooms and support as much as I can from the outside looking in.  The other is to jump in, get my own classroom (perhaps with a kid or two or three that is currently in my room in the mix) and build a classroom that works for all learners and then share what I'm doing with others in the hopes of someone else jumping on board (or better yet... find the others who are doing it because there are some and creating a movement).

I'm torn because I can see the advantages to both (although when I put it down in writing I can see also where my heart is pulling me).  Should be an interesting process of seeing where this thought leads me!


  1. What grade level do you teach? I teach at the high school level with a similar population to yours, and don't have similar feelings about inclusion with most of my students. I have a student who is 15 and unclear on how to count money or use a calendar; when she was included in Freshman math last term they didn't cover those things, but they did cover graphing equations which is something she didn't understand and will never use. On the other hand, I have a 17-year old student reading at a third grade level who is able to participate in a "low level" English class with modifications and enjoys being able to leave the self-contained room for part of the day.

  2. I am currently teaching in a classroom for students in grade 1 through 12 and this year my youngest is grade 1 and my oldest is second year grade 12 (extra year). Its an intersting mix. We are based in an elementary school so there are really no opportunities for students to be included with same aged peers beyond grade 6 at this point.

    I do understand how the concept of inclusion gets to be more difficult as students get older. I do not believe that as classrooms stand now that my older students could ever be fully included but also believe that there would be ways to restructure schools and classrooms that would put more a focus on a learning and ensure that all students could learn together starting from the place they are at.

    This post, however, is about elementary school because I feel like its the place to start and so I am considering going back in to an elementary school classroom.