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Running Head: EDUCATION 1
Mainstreaming special education students
The main aim of the study is to find out the way a certain primary school is inclusive in regards to the students who needs exceptional educational requirements. For the purpose of this study the school which we are going to consider is called Mary Hill Primary School. There are many changes which are related to the legislation and policy for the inclusion of the children who have special educational requirements in a mainstreamed school.
This study aims to investigate the extent to which Mary Hill Primary School acquires the criteria for an inclusive school. The study examines the inclusive of Mary Hill School in regards to the ten themes of inclusion which have been drawn up by the National Council for Special Education’s Consultative Forum (NCSE, 2010). The ten themes are; Provision of Information, External Links, Student Interactions, Teaching Strategies, An Individual Education Plan (IEP), Assessment of Achievement, Physical Features, Staffing and Personnel, Inclusive School Policies and Curriculum. To tackle the inclusive of Mary Hill School a case study research design was used to determine multiple points of view by means of interviews. Those interviewed were the principal, teachers, principal, special needs assistants and parents.
CHAPTER 1: Introduction
The study is basically a research proposal which is aimed at establishing whether or not the educational needs of children with disability are catered for in mainstream schools. The research is inclined to the need of valuing and considering the educational needs of the children with various kinds of disability. This study shall consider only one certain mainstream school to discover how inclusive it is with relations to special needs students. For the purpose of this study the school which we shall consider is called Mary Hill Primary school. The study shall consider the way children are taught at the school and how the needs of special education students are catered for. In order for this study to be successful, a research design was applied to establish multiple perspectives (Dawson & Dawson 2009).
The research proposal takes wider scopes to establish to which extent the children with special educational requirements are catered for in mainstream primary schools. The researcher takes the case of Mary Hill Primary school.
In this chapter, the statement of the problem is clearly outlined. As debated by Dawson and Dawson, (2009), this section is a brief summary of the originality of the dilemma. The purpose and importance of the research are also defined in the research. In order to achieve the research objectives and goals, the researcher is guided by the research questions. The research questions, which are also, outlined in this chapter acts as a guideline towards relevant research information (Ogden & Goldberg 2002). Chapter one ends with a hypothesis which acts as the standard gauge to weigh against the researcher’s arguments and the research findings (Wentz, 2013).
Statement of the problem
Every national and the world, in general, have acknowledged the fact that disability is not inability. The children with a disability also have the right to equal treatment within the society for their development. In order to achieve this key goal, education is the main element to put in consideration. However, it becomes a challenge to meet this goal where the case of disability includes special education needs (Gulliford & Upton 1992). Special education needs are the difficulties or the disabilities that make it hard for the involved to acquire knowledge effectively amongst those of the same age. These special educational needs are caused by usual disabilities such as the inability to see, hear or understand (Warnock, Norwich & Terzi 2010).
According to National Association for Special Educational Needs (Great Britain) – (2001), many children facing the special education needs may not be physically disabled, but the learning difficulty may be caused by either mental illness or the environment the child was exposed to during early ages. Such children may not hereby fit in schools of people with disability, and may hereby enroll in mainstream schools. However, if their cases are not diagnosed and catered for, their right to education is hereby curtailed, and the development of such a child becomes a challenge.
The children facing this challenge get it difficult to organize them (Frederickson & Cline 2009). Understanding and coordinating with other children is also a challenge to them. These children have difficulties in learning, understanding information and socializing with their peers or the society in general. They are also characterized by funny behaviors and may not manage their homework unless assisted. These characteristics and challenges seem to undermine the children’s right to education. It is the responsibility of the mainstream schools to cater for their physical, social, emotional and intellectual development (Brook Lapping Productions 2007).
However, most of the schools give a blind eye to the needs of these children. The schools are aware of the existence of these children, and their challenges, but act ignorant to their needs. Such schools either lack facilities to cater for the needs of those children who require special education, or either lacks the personnel who can attend these children. Such children lack company in school and may even be mistreated by others. The children with special education needs at this point of negligence feel isolated and will tend to give up in education, drop out of school and live a poor life.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to evaluate the level of inclusion of the children with special educational needs in a mainstream primary school. The researcher takes the case of Mary Hill primary school. The basis of the research is to establish whether the appropriate measures have been put in place to cater for the needs of the children with special educational needs. In order to achieve its purpose, the research will put into consideration the various elements of inclusion such as provision of information, curriculum, teaching skills and strategies, physical features and facilities. The research proposal also takes in account the students interaction amongst the normal students and those with educational needs.
As part of the research scheme, various special educational needs will be identified. The research study will establish how Mary Hill primary school has incorporated the various resources and facilities to meet the special educational needs and enhance the social, emotional and intellectual development of the children with these needs. In general, the research aims at ensuring that the moral theme of ‘disability is not inability’ is achieved amongst the children with special educational needs. This will give the children with special educational needs their right to education and thereby expose them to equal opportunities for their bright future (Human rights–disability–children: Towards international instruments for disability rights: the special case of disabled children: proceedings of the conference, 2005).
Among other aims of the research is to establish the challenges that are faced by the various institutions when incorporating the children with special educational needs in the mainstream, including the case study – Mary Hill Primary school. This will enable the researcher to come up with measures that can be employed to improve the situation and ensure that the children with special education needs are given an equal opportunity to learn in a favorable environment and develop socially and intellectually.
Significance of the research
The research is very much significant and essential in enabling the children with special educational needs meet their legal right to education and social-intellectual development. The research will shed light on some of the issues concerning those with special educational needs and a loophole between the society and the mainstream primary schools that have barred these victims from pursuing their academic dreams. The research will enlighten the mainstream primary schools on the measures that they should put in place to ensure that the right to education for the children with special educational needs is not curtailed (Tutt 2010).
The research is also important in measuring the attitude and perception of the society to the disabled children in relation to their right and capability to learn. Some communities view the disabled people as someone who cannot coordinate learning and at times may tend to isolate them when it comes to academic matters (Great Britain 2004). The caring communities will view the schools for the disabled as the only solution to the matter. However, such facilities may be unavailable in the society. Does this deny the child with disability their right to education?
A kind community will definitely incorporate the children with special educational needs within their curriculum and modify the facilities and skills to be favorable enough to ensure that the disabled child gets an adequate education. The research is significant in that it will enlighten the community on the need and ways of how to effectively make inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream primary education and enhance their academic development (McKeown 2014).)
The research study is guided by the following research questions:-
Which are the key elements to consider when incorporating children with special educational needs in any mainstream primary school?
Which are some of the challenges faced by the mainstream primary schools on an inclusion of children with special educational needs in any mainstream primary school?
At what level has the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in any mainstream primary school been achieved within the society?
What is the importance of including the children with an exceptional educational requirement in any mainstream primary school?
What are some of the rectifications that can be employed to effect the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary school?
The research acknowledges that the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools has been taken into account among many societies. However, the research still holds that the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools has not been adequately achieved (Frederickson & Cline 2009). Therefore, the research is based on the hypothesis that the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools is yet to be achieved.
CHAPTER 2: Introduction
This is the second chapter of the research study. This chapter takes into account three major sections: – Background of the study, Literature review, and Definition of the terms used in the research (Ogden & Goldberg 2002). In the section of Background of the study, the research takes into account the originality of the topic and the contributing factors towards the problem. Under this section, the research takes a wider scope to global view on the topic – The inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools.
Under the section of literature review, the research takes into account other researcher work. The key concept in the literature review is the global perception and general opinion of other researchers concerning a similar topic. In any case that the secondary sources may differ with the hypothesis of the study, this does not stop the researcher from conducting the research. The various abbreviations and meaning of terms as used in the whole study are also elaborated in the third section of the chapter (Wentz 2013).
Background of the research
Over the last one decade, the society has realized the capability of disabled people. Initially, the disabled people were viewed as helpless and of less importance within the society. They were isolated from development activities such as education, and not even allowed to socialize with the society, as many viewed them as a curse (Gulliford & Upton 1992). However, a number of campaigns on human rights have transformed things, as many people come to realize that disabled people have the capability to perform in various fields when given the chance and opportunity. Various policies have also been put in place to guard the right of the disabled towards social – intellectual development.
Disability is not inability motto has enabled the disabled people to get equal opportunities within the society and overcome discrimination. The 1989 UN convention on the Rights of a child and the 2006 International Convention on the rights of persons with Disability are among the international policies that have been put in place to guard the rights of the disabled within the society. Among the rights of the disabled is the right to socialize, equal treatment and equal opportunities within the society. Among such opportunities is the opportunity to education (Liefaard & Doek 2014).
However, many cases of disability are mild and do not require a child to be taken to the special schools for the disabled in order to acquire education. The inadequacy of the facilities for the disabled to access education called for inclusion of the children with special educational needs in the mainstream primary schools. The Special Education Review Committee advocated for this inclusion in its report of 1993 as a way of ensuring that every disabled child enjoys their right to learn. The 1998 Education Act pioneered by the government of Ireland supported the prior policies towards. This education act advocated for appropriate education for all children (Ghana 1967).
Among other policies that have laid this firm foundation on the right to education are the Education for persons with special Educational Needs Act (2004) and the 2005 Disability Act (Phibbs & University College, Dublin 2005). Among the terms of these policies is the inclusion of children with special educational needs to the mainstream primary schools. These policies also guard this right by ensuring adequate facilities to enable the disabled children to effectively learn and pursue their academic dreams.
The inclusion of children with special educational needs to the mainstream primary schools is not all about the Disability of Children’s act. According to Scotland (2005) publication on Education (Additional Support for Learning, a lot of features are put into an account. Initially, these policies seemed to be implemented differently. For instance, there have been many schools across the world that caters for the disabled children only. However, intense research showed that socialization is a key element in the development of a child. For a child to grow, he has to interact with the social world.
Although these special schools for the children with special educational needs enhanced the right of education to the disabled, they in a way denied the disabled child their right to socialize with others (Wolfendale 2002). The disabled feel isolated and in their own world. In order to help the disabled child grow in socially interactive world. The children from the schools of disabled found it a challenge to socialize and cope with the outside world. The inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools has changed the perception of the incapability of the disabled, as well as giving the child with special needs a chance to learn in a socially interactive environment (Welton, Wedell & Vorhaus 1985).
The changing of international policy concerning the persons with disability has given many children with special needs a humble chance to learn with others through the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in the mainstream primary schools. The Education for persons with special Educational Needs Act (2004) provides education for all children. This act is inclusive of the children with special educational needs. The primary school principals have no obligation to discriminate the children with disabilities. They should unselectively enroll any child who is ready to learn, regardless of whether they are normal or have special educational requirements. It is the duty of the principal to ensure that the needs of the children with special educational needs are met.
Children with special educational needs have a totally different understanding and require extra attention in a learning forum compared to their peers (Shokane 2004). Their levels of socializing and learning are tentatively different to that of a normal child and hereby require special treatment in class in order to affect their learning. In order to achieve this, the UN among other Nongovernment organizations and well-wishers has chipped in to finance and facilitate the learning of children with special educational needs within the society. These funding have seen the establishment of schools for children with various disabilities. Similarly, the mainstream primary schools have adopted special classes for the children with mild learning disabilities (Hornby – September 01, 2015).
As argued by Daniels & Ware, (1990), some major disabilities such as blindness and total ear impairment will require special schools for such disabilities because such children will not be compatible with their peers. However, some learning disabilities remain mild and do not require special schools for the victims to learn in isolation. Instead, the children with mild learning disabilities are capable of learning in same class with their peers, but may require a special attention from the teachers, or additional aid to effectively coordinate the learning process. Under such circumstances, the mainstream schools have taken the initiative to include the children with special educational needs in their enrollment as a way of ensuring that they meet their right to education.
Since the 1990s, the world has witnessed a great improvement in special education systems. These improvements have been pushed by the parents, teachers and also the various organizations fighting for the children rights. Among other key contributors to this development is the Special Education Review Committee (1993). The annual SERC report has contributed much in formulating policies that have ensured the development of special education in accordance with the emerging issues within the society.
This report has also highlighted the various loopholes which have been undermining the child right to education such as poor facilities, poorly trained personnel and lack of awareness within the society (Wearmouth 2009). Some of the committee recommendations such as special training for the teachers in order to effectively attend the children with special educational needs have been employed in various corners of the world. The Education Welfare Act of 2000 mandates schools to enroll children without any discrimination of disability. The schools should also give equal opportunity to all its pupils to participate fully in all school activities without discrimination.
In order to enable a disabled child to get their right to education, various themes have to be employed. The creation of awareness among the society on the need and appropriate school to cater for a particular disability is important. This enables the child to be aware of their right to earn and also gives an advice to their parents on where appropriate to take their children with special educational needs. The learning environment needs to be favorable for those children with special educational, and the schools need to be well equipped (Welton, Wedell & Vorhaus 1985).
CHAPTER 3: Introduction
The research is governed by aims and objectives. In order to meet both the specific and general objectives, the research study follows a particular method in its data collection and analysis. This chapter explains the data collection method which the researcher employed and reasons for preferring the used method over others. The procedures of data analysis are also given in this section. Other elements of the study that are taken into account in this section are the validity of the information, the reliability of the sampling technique used and some of the limitations that undermined the research (Colwell & Music Educators National Conference (U.S.) -2006).
Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to collect adequate information that will assist the research to draw a conclusion towards the topic on the inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools. The research takes Mary Hill primary school as the sample for the study. The data collection will be used to support or against the established hypothesis on whether the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools has been done effectively, in the case of Mary Hill primary school.
The researcher established a tool that will help in getting a clear perception of the key stakeholders in relation to the inclusion of the special needs children educational requirements in mainstream primary schools. Among the stakeholders that form the major part of the respondent’s list are the parents, the school management, and the children – both with the special educational needs and their peers and also the teachers. In order to achieve the purpose the researcher, the researcher began with an intensive literature review of the secondary sources on the inclusion of the special needs children educational requirements in mainstream primary schools., how this can be implemented and various ways in which it has helped the society and the world in general by giving the disabled their right to education. This acts as the scoreboard to give a comparative forum on how the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools has been done in other nations, and how it is been done in the case of Mary Hill primary school.
During the data collection, the researcher collected relevant information from the Principal, the teachers, some of the students with a disability, their peers and the parents of the children with special educational needs. This gave the researcher a stable basis to determine the level and the perception of the involved in the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in Mary Hill Primary school.
From the two directions, the researcher stands a better chance to determine the effectiveness of the inclusion of the children with extraordinary educational requirements in mainstream primary schools and the appropriate measure that can be pt in place to bridge the gap between the current situation and the best expectations on same. The researcher ill evaluate on whether Mary Hill primary school has met the criteria for effective inclusion of the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools drawn up in 2010 NCSE consultative forum.
The research is also purposed to determine whether Mary Hill primary school has effectively met the policy of inclusion of the children with special educational needs in their mainstream (Dawson & Dawson, C. (2009).This will take into account their curriculum, teaching techniques and the school equipment and facilities that have been put in place to favor the children with special educational needs. At the end of the research, the study will also draw a conclusion on whether the admission an enrolment of the pupils in Mary Hill primary school complies with the themes and policies of inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools.
Due to the factor of limited resources, the researcher employed a random sampling technique in order to come up with appropriate sample population that will represent the whole population (Dawson & Dawson, C. (2009). The researcher is based in Mary Hill primary school. The sampled population was inclusive of 20 respondents among them been the school principal, five assistant teachers, 5 children with special educational needs, 5 parents / guardians of the children with special needs and 4 other pupils who are of close interaction with those with special educational needs.
Both qualitative and quantitative research design suit used in the research. In the two instruments used for data collection; questionnaires and interviews, the researcher used qualitative research approach to bring about insights and openness of the respondents in terms of their perception and understanding of the whole concept (Wentz 2013). This approach enabled the respondents to be open minded and thoughtful, a move that made the researcher gain a lot from their understanding and perception of the whole concept.
Interviews were mostly employed when interacting with the teachers, the principle and also the parents of the children with special educational needs in Mary Hill Primary school. Through the interviews, the respondents develop a feeling of freedom to open up their ideas, feelings, and attitudes towards the research topic. The direct interaction between the researcher and the respondents also creates a sense of confidence and gives a chance to the researcher to clarify some of the contradicting issues that may be misunderstood by the respondents. The respondents will severally seek clarity to some of the questions that they may not seem to understand. The researcher also gets a better chance to expound on the issue under research, or highlight any omission from the respondents. In short, the interview forum gave the researcher a better chance to dig into the respondents and get the truth of the matter (Ogden & Goldberg 2002).
However, some of the limitations such as time factor did not enable the researcher to interview all the respondents. Social distance and uneasiness of the respondents especially the children with special needs in Mary Hill barred the researcher from using interview method all through. In this case, the researcher had to employ the use of questionnaires for data collection. In the use of questionnaires, the questionnaires were open headed whilst others were fixed to either YES or NO answers. A combination of the interview method and the use of questionnaires gave the researcher a better opportunity to collect relevant information without any omission. These two methods of data collection also enabled the researcher to reach all the respondents effectively.
The researcher had to follow criteria in its research progress. After establishing the research topic, the researcher had to request for permission from Mary Hill primary school to undertake research within the institution. This step was done in form of official letter of compliance indicating the theme of the research, the scope, targeted respondents and the time frame. A sample of the research tool was also presented to the school principle to ascertain whether in any way it defines the rights and the general operation of Mary Hill primary school. The school management then gave the researcher a go-ahead to conduct the research, following the stated agreements that guard the freedom and willingness of the respondents.
The researcher then administered the research tools such as the questionnaires and the interviews to collect the relevant data. After the data collection, a sequence of data analysis was followed to come up with the research findings. The researcher then drafted the final report that covered the findings and the recommendations that can be employed to improve the situation in an inclusion of children with special educational needs to the mainstream schools.
Time is a very important resource in the field of research. Any research is time bound. The various activities should be accomplished within the stipulated timeframe for the success of the research (Dawson & Dawson2009). This research was conducted in a span of one month. Within that one month, the first week was for the formulation of the research topic and the literature review. The second two weeks were set for the fieldwork that began with the acquisition of permission and the actual data collection. The final week was for data analysis and compiling the research findings.
The researcher employed a thematic method of data analysis. In this form of data analysis, the researcher goes deep into the respondents’ views to get a consequent pattern or a common perception. It is a case of a common view that goes with the majority group “what does the greater number of the respondents say concerning the matter?” statistical analysis goes hand in hand with thematic data analysis. However, the researcher was challenged when using this form of data analysis in a case where a qualitative approach of data collection was used. In the case of the interviews among the respondents, the researcher had the challenge to establish their description and come up with a clear interpretation. In this case, the general opinion of the respondents was expressed in a direct way within the findings (Wentz 2013)
Validity and reliability
Reliability of any research is the proving of the factuality of the data, proving that they are independent, and the drawn conclusions are the circumstance of data collection process. Any other researcher has hereby the right to come up with contrary results and findings, but your report will be defended by the element of circumstance of the research process. Data validity, on the other hand, is the tendency or the degree at which the data collected has been interpreted correctly by the researcher. This makes it clear that the findings are an individual opinion of the researcher; hence various researchers can draw varied conclusions from similar findings. In a similar occasion, the validity of the data can be inhibited by the opinion and interest of the researcher (Leedy & Ormrod (2005).
According to Leedy & Ormrod (2005), the criterion and the effectiveness of the data collection tools, the research findings from this study can hereby be termed as reliable and valid. The research study is hereby trustworthy in terms of credibility, transferability, and dependability. Any researcher can rely on this study as a future secondary source in research related to the inclusion of children with special educational needs to the mainstream schools.
Assumptions of the study
The findings and results of any research cannot be ascertained. Any researcher has to give room for assumptions. However, these assumptions do not interfere with the research findings in any way (Ogden & Goldberg 2002). Among the assumptions of the research is the population sample. The researcher assumed that the sampled population is adequate enough to provide the relevant information and act as a representative of the whole population. The researchers also put into an assumption that all the respondents will be cooperative and give the information willingly and to the best of their knowledge.
Budgeting is a key concept in any research. This enhances adequate and appropriate allocation of resources such as time and finance. However, some of the factors may lead to fluctuation of elements and unexpected outcomes. Factors such as bad weather among other unavoidable circumstances may interfere with the set framework. Fluctuation of prices of various materials and services that are required in the research may also interfere with the research progress. However; the researcher made the assumption that the resources allocated such as time and finance will be adequate. This was with accordance to the assumption of constant elements and factors that may interfere with the adequacy of the allocated resources.
Limitations of the research
Any research is limited and must face multiple challenges. However, more weight on the side of limitations may inhibit the success of the research. In the research on the inclusion of children with special educational needs in the mainstream primary schools, some of the limitations that undermined the research are the inadequacy of resources. The researcher lacked adequate resources in terms of time and finance to accomplish the research process. This forced the researcher to work within the time bounds and maximize the available resources such as finance in order to meet the research objectives.
Among other challenges was the unwillingness of the respondents to participate in the research. Some of the respondents were not willing to participate in the research due to personal issues. The researcher found it a challenge to collect the relevant information from the children with special educational needs. Some of the respondents amongst them the parents of the children could not understand the theme and the importance of the research. Some of the questionnaires were not fully filled. Among other challenges and limitations that inhibited the research process was the biases of some of the information provided by the respondents.
These results were drawn from the findings. This chapter highlights the correspondence of the sample population to the research topic. The effectiveness of the research tool is also part of the determining factors to reliable results (Dawson & Dawson 2009). The results indicated that Mary Hill primary school has some level of correspondence to an inclusion of the children with special educational needs in their mainstream primary school. With the enrollment of 573 students, 51 among the total population are comprised of students with special educational needs.
This prompted the researcher to dig into the issue and see the effectiveness of the inclusion of these children with special educational needs and the level of their comfort in their studies. In the process of weighing the results, the researcher took into account the compliance of Mary Hill Primary school to the themes of inclusion of children with special educational needs to their mainstream. Mary Hill was found to comply with a number of these themes. Among the themes that Mary Hill complies to is the inclusive school policy. The school has observed the policy of inclusion by giving equal opportunities to both the children with disabilities and those without (Thomas & Loxley 2007). In its enrollment, the school population comprises of both the normal students and those with special educational needs. Observing the policy of inclusion gives the children with special educational needs a chance to pursue their academic dreams with their peers in a fairly competitive ground.
Mary Hill primary school also observes the theme of the provision of information. According to the respondents, there is a communication channel between the school and the community. The school, though the parents have enlightened the community on the right to educate the children with special needs. Among those enrolled to Mary Hill with special educational needs, there is a close link of communication to the parents on the progress of their children in school. Among the 5 parents who responded to the research, they all admitted to the fact that the school keeps them informed and involved in the progress of their children not only academically but also socially and intellectually.
The school management has also introduced the Individual Education Plan among the children with special needs. This is conducted twice per month. During this occasion, the parents of the children with special needs are called and trained on the best way to handle their children at home, all with a mission of encouraging them to education.
According to Thomas & Loxley (2007), interaction is a key concept in the development of any child. The way they interact and socialize with their peers determines their level of development. Disabled children feel isolated and lonely and may at times suffer from mental illness when denied the chance to interact with their peers. This isolation creates a feeling of inability in them. However, Mary Hill primary school has greatly promoted the theme of interaction. The children with special educational needs are given full time to interact with their peers in class and other co-curriculum activities such as games and sports. All the 51 pupils with special educational needs attend classes with others in one forum unless in special occasions where a child will require special attention.
Staffing and personnel is a theme that Mary Hill primary school seems to have neglected. It was evident that the teachers among other staffs are willing to assist the children with disability in their learning. However, there is no special personnel to attend the particular special educational need. The teachers in this school have just undergone the ordinary teaching training with no deeper knowledge on how to handle the children with special educational needs. This makes it a challenge to diagnose the specific needs and weakness of individual students in class.
The theme of teaching strategies is also not taken into account. The teachers in Mary Hill Primary school lack special training that will equip them to attend the children with special educational needs in the school. Children with special educational needs will require special teaching such as cooperative teaching and cooperative learning and cooperative problem solving. The teaching methodologies should be flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of the children with exceptional educational requirements in a mainstream classroom. However, the case of Mary Hill Primary School is a different one. The number of children with exceptional educational desires in a classroom is negligible, as the teachers say. They at times tend to forget the existence of these children with special needs as they concentrate on the common majority.
The school also lacks adequate physical features to support the children with special needs. The setup of the school and its environment seems favorable for learning, but this is only favorable for a normal student who does not require any special attention. Although the school architectures suit the comfort of the children with special educational needs, some important facilities such as sensory facilities are lacking to aid the children with special educational needs in learning. The parents are either forced to purchase some of these facilities such as lens glasses for the short cited pupils. Some pupils from poor backgrounds are forced to survive in these adverse conditions that make learning a life challenge.
The school is in the move to establish external links through the government, ministry of learning, Non – government organizations and well-wishers in order to facilitate funding. Some of these disabilities are manageable under medication. However, the external links available are inadequate to fund this project. Mary Hill Primary school is bound by the policies and the ministry towards the inclusion of the children with special educational needs to the mainstream but lacks adequate support to finance the project. This makes the acquisition of some of the important facilities a challenge to the school. For instance, children with poor eyesight would require more of audio learning than visual. However, the school cannot afford such facilities without external funding.
The theme of assessment of achievements is also recognized in the inclusion of the children with special educational needs to the mainstream in Mary Hill Primary School. At the end of every term, the progress of all the students is taken into account. In a special way, the case of the performance of the children with special educational needs is considered. The progress of their academic knowledge and skills is evaluated. The school management has a special program of motivating the pupils with special needs by giving those presents at the end of every term. The parents and teachers association of Mary Hill also laid an agreement that every year; a student should go for an academic tour. In the case of those with special needs, the school favors them and do not charge their parents for the tour.
Mary Hill is a mainstream primary school whose curriculum does not take into account the needs of a needy student. Although some of the teachers have a general skill of handling various special educational needs, they have to teach outside the set curriculum in order to ensure that those victims get their right to learn. Although the ministry of education recognizes the existence of the children with special educational needs, it rarely provides the appropriate resources that should be accompanied by the curriculum such as books and teaching equipment. The pupils with special educational needs in Mary Hill primary school are hereby forced to learn using the normal mainstream curriculum due to lack of the necessary resources. The principal of Mary Hill informed the researcher that the school has forwarded this proposal for additional facilities and resources to the ministry of education in order to give adequate attention to the children with special educational needs. However, the government has done very little to support his proposal.
The rationale for inclusion
Education is among the fundamental human rights, currently ranked as the fourth in the world’s basic needs after food, shelter, and health. This mandates every society to give children the right to education regardless of their race, disability of religion (Daniels & Ware 1990). Under the right of children to education advocated for by UN, the aspect of inclusion gets in. inclusion involves giving an equal opportunity and value to all children. This is governed by policies that guard the rights of children, particularly the right to education. The inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools calls of the restructuring of the schools in terms of facilities, curriculum, teaching personnel and the general perception to cater for the children with the special needs (Liefaard & Doek 2014).
According to McKeown, (2014), most of the schools have employed the strategy of inclusion; with an aim follow the governing policies. However, the issue of inclusion has not been supported fully by the entire stakeholder. Some of the schools which have employed the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in their mainstream such as Mary Hill Primary school are yet to meet the standards. Many loopholes have been depicted in the field of personnel, inadequate external support, lack of funding and facilities among other limitations. The element of inclusion seems to have been miss-interpreted by the society. Most of the school takes the inclusion of the children with special educational needs as just enrolling them and putting them in class to study with others. However, this perception needs to be eliminated from the society (Gallagher, Trohanis & Clifford 1989).
The case of Mary Hill primary school is among the many schools that are struggling to meet the goal of inclusion in their mainstream. However, the research clearly shows that such schools are yet to meet the standards of effective inclusion of the children with special educational needs in their mainstream. A lot needs to be done in order to give the children with special educational needs their human right to quality education, not just education. The research shed light on the loophole, and should act as a bridging factor to close the gap and effect the inclusion of the children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools.
Chapter 6: Conclusion
It is not an easy task for any institution to create an inclusive learning environment. In accordance to all participants in this study, there is a significant progress which has been witnessed though there are several obstacles which have remained and Mary Hill Primary school needs to overcome so that it may be considered to be fully conclusive. The study has revealed that for the most part, Mary Hill Primary School is an inclusive school. This evident from the Mary Hill Primary School inclusive admission policy, all staff members are willing to do and use all that is their capability to make sure that the need for children in their school is fully catered for. They can become more inclusive by considering the following factors which were identified by the participants. These factors lined the school from been fully inclusive. These are; time constraint, it challenges the teachers in coordinating and collaborating to the required extension of time; lack of continuity in the development of the teachers professionally; lack of the required support from the external professional for instance, lack of occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologist and lastly the lack of adequate physical resources.
All participants agreed that it is very important for the teachers to have a positive attitude in development on inclusive training environment. A positive attitude among the school staffs is a foundation for the inclusive practice in the school. A positive attitude on its own cannot make the school be inclusive. The study shows that for a mainstream school there are lots of funds which are required so that they may cater for the needs of the children. The participants also feel that there is a need for proactive leadership, an increase in the collaboration between the support agencies, parents, and school as well as continuing professional development.
The Ten Themes of Inclusion (NCSE, 2010)
For any school to be said is fully inclusive, there are guidelines which they are supposed to follow. These guidelines have been drawn by NCSE`s Consultative Forum NCSE, 2010). These themes are known as the ten themes of inclusion. In the study, the themes are considered to determine the extent to which each one of the themes, Mary Hill Primary School has complied with them. The following are the theme which Mary Hill Primary School complied with;
Theme 1 Provision of Information
Parents in the study confirmed that they have been equipped with the information of their child’s improvement in the school. They have been receiving the information through various means, such as text messages, meetings, phone conversations, newsletter and personal contact. All information regarding the school policies is accessible on the school website.
Theme 3 Inclusive School Policies
In relation to inclusiveness the school has the following policies; enrollment policy, policy on provision of special education to children with special needs and assessment policy.
Theme 4 an Individual Education Plan (IEP)
Parents have played a major role in making the IEP arrangement for those children who have special needs in Mary Hill Primary School. There is a whole- school method which is applied in implementing the IEPs. Every month the IEPs are reviewed.
Theme 5 Student Interactions
The interaction between children who have the special need and the other is highly promoted in Mary Hill Primary School. This is a normal facet of the daily chores in the school environment.
Theme 6 Staffing and Personnel
Each staff member is always ready and willing to do what is needed either as the individual or as the group in order to promote the inclusive school environment. Inclusion has been promoted to the level of the whole school. In the classrooms, the teachers have implemented their own program which aids the children who have special needs. Some of the teachers have applied their own initiative so that they could improvise resources if the resources which are at the school are not adequate so that they may cater for the children who require special needs education.
Theme 8 Assessment of Achievement
Mary Hill Primary School recognizes all the progress and achievements of all children.
Theme 9 Curriculum
Both students with special needs and the others are taught using the same curriculum
Theme 10 Teaching Strategies
Teachers use different strategies of teaching. A strategy which is working well at Mary Hill Primary School is the use of different strategies which can cater for all the needs of the children and the teachers are working as a team.
The following two themes were not fully implemented.
Theme 2 Physical Features
For a school to be inclusive the environment is supposed to be accessible and safe for all students so that it may cater for children who have a sensory and physical disability. Considering that Mary Hill Primary School is a story building it is very challenging for disabled children to access the classrooms.
Theme 7 External Links
This theme requires that the school have enough resources, support and funding services. These services are so important for making the inclusion successful. Mary Hill Primary School does not have any links with external partners, governmental agencies or professionals.
In the area of special education, the teachers need to acquire more training. The only way this can the attained is by liaising with teachers from other schools and examine how they are handling children who have special needs in their school. This method shall not need any extra funding. In this study, the principal thinks that we can learn much by visiting other schools on how we shall improve the inclusion of special education in Mary Hill Primary School. These schools have better inclusion policies and practices. More collaboration is required between outside agencies and the school. Teachers need more support because they cannot be experts in each area as each special needs student requires attention in the class. Mary Hill Primary School has a sensory room which is beneficial to the students. They use the rooms for stimulating their senses. Exposing the children sensory rooms enables them to go back to the classroom while they are alert and with hope to learn and listen carefully.
The environment in an inclusive school should first consider the attitudes of the children without special needs to the ones with special needs as this is what creates the basis of a school environment. This shall not be achieved directly by the teachers or parents questioning the children but it shall need to be done through observation of the behavior of the children and training them appropriate class activities and lessons such as open forum discussions, role play, and group work tasks. Moreover, the parents in this school need to be interviewed all of them together that is both parents for children who have special needs and those with normal children. By carrying these interviews it shall be possible compare the attitudes of the parents towards the idea of making the school be fully inclusive.
“Education is vital for all children including those with special educational needs if they are to become significant participants in society” (Griffin and Shevlin, 2011, p.267). Teacher’s plays different roles when it comes to creating the learning environment which shall enable the children to attain the potential capacity in learning (Griffin and Shevlin, 2011, p. 267). “Inclusion is a vision, a road to be traveled but a road without ending, and a road with all kinds of barriers and obstacles, some of them invisible and some of them in our own heads and hearts” ( Mittler, 2000). The researcher considers s that Mary Hill Primary School has made considerable growth on the road to be an inclusive school.
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Mainstreaming Special Education Students. (2022, Feb 09). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/mainstreaming-special-education-students
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