Stanley L. Swartz, Ph.D.
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Martha Ramirez
Reply with quote  #61 

1. Many regular classroom teachers feel overwhelmed by their currrent duties. It is reasonable to expect them to provide for the needs of a child with disabilities in their classroom?

I feel that it is reasonable to expect regular classroom teachers to provide for the needs of a child with disability in their classroom.  Although it may seem overwhelming or even scary to include a child with a disability it is the responsibility of the teacher to educate every student who wants to learn.  In Educating Peter and other videos for this class there were teachers and students who learned how to include those with disabilities in their class.  While it was a difficult process they all agreed that it was a rewarding experience that not only helped the special needs child excel and be happy but also challenged the thinking of those in the regular classroom. 

Mirella Gutierrez
Reply with quote  #62 

Many regular classroom teachers feeloverwhelmed by their current duties. Is it reasonable to expect themto provide for the needs of a child with disabilities in theirclassroom?
I think it is reasonable to expect aregular classroom teacher to be able to provide for the needs of achild with disabilities in the classroom, as long as it does notcause severe hardship on the teacher as well as the other students. If teachers can accommodate for other problems in the classroom suchas behavior or low reading fluency why not accommodate for theseother not so severe special disabilities. A teacher is someone whomust be very flexible and try to teach the whole class not just the“upper level” students or the “mid level ” students but allthe kids. Teachers have to provide the education that each childneeds to be at grade level or meet the requirements for the state, ofcourse this can be done with help from the special education teacheras well as the rest of the IEP team. Again, as long as it does notdisrupt the other kids' learning, because they are entitled to thebest learning environment too. In addition, if the teacher realizesthat the special needs child is not progressing there should be otheraccommodations made at that point, such as a pull out specialeducation program or an all day program. In conclusion, the teachershould be able to accommodate a special needs child but only to anextent and where it does not affect the other kids learning as wellas the special needs child's learning either. Of course, alwayskeeping in mind what is best for all the children.

Karen Jantzen
Reply with quote  #63 
[QUOTE=Dr. Swartz]

1. Many regular classroom teachers feel overwhelmed by their currrent duties. It is reasonable to expect them to provide for the needs of a child with disabilities in their classroom?

[Should regular classroom teachers be expected to provide forthe needs of a child with disabilities?  Somewould say it is not reasonable:  teachersare overwhelmed and stretched to fulfill their current duties; it would taketoo much time away from the other students; a student with disabilities can’tdo all the things the other kids can do, so why have them try and getfrustrated when they fail?

What is the purpose of educating our population?  We want our citizens to be prepared for lifeand its challenges.  Everyone faces challengesof varying degrees, and disabilities present unique challenges.  Some people see a disability andautomatically anticipate limits, but many individuals have shattered thoselimits.  People without arms have learnedto write or paint with their feet or even drive a car; blind people havelearned to ski or ride a skateboard; Peter in “Educating Peter” surpassed histeacher’s expectations; there are numerous instances of persons withdisabilities who have gone beyond their anticipated boundaries.   Allpeople deserve the same opportunity to achieve their potential and becomecapable, contributing members of society. Inclusion in the regular classroom provides  this opportunity. 

Certainly, the better trained and experienced a teacher is,the more prepared she/he will be to address the needs of all her/his students.  Lower class size is also crucial.  Collaboration with specialists and use ofsupplementary aids and services provide needed support.  Having students work in cooperative learning groupspromotes acceptance of diversity and provides opportunities to learn frompeers.   Students with disabilities gain communicationand social benefits from being in inclusive settings; it has also been foundthat students without disabilitieseducated in inclusive classrooms made significantly greater academic progressin reading and mathematics than did students without disabilities who did nothave students with disabilities in their classroom.   Apparently the additional supports providedin the regular classroom for students with disabilities actually end up benefitingall students, or at least have no detrimental effect.   

Karen Jantzen
Reply with quote  #64 
Originally Posted by Lauren Melendez

No, I do not believe it is thegeneral ED teacher’s responsibility to provide for the needs of a child with adisability. As we saw in the documentary “Educating Peter”, the teacher wasextremely overwhelmed with Peter’s violent and disruptive behavior. There weremany times she was unable to continue an activity or provide help to anotherstudent because Peter demanded much of her attention. The teacher also claimedthat she was unable to focus on Peter’s academic progress for the first twomonths because she was so overwhelmed with trying to correct his distractivebehaviors during class. In addition, Peter’s classmates were also subjected toPeter’s constant violent behavior and had to take on a large responsibility inhelping Peter complete his classwork. I thought this was unfair to the studentsbecause Peter should be receiving the help from another teacher or aide thatcould assist him with his needs. In addition, it is also important to note thatPeter is just one student; imagine if the regular teacher has responsible formore than one student that had similar behaviors has Peter? Furthermore, many regularED teachers have not been trained nor have experience with individuals withintellectual disabilities. Teaching strategies that work with regular EDstudents may not work with special needs students. Furthermore, all of thevideos for this class have only showcased integrated students with physical andmoderate disabilities. Where are the videos of severely delayed studentsfunctioning in the regular ED classroom? It would be extremely unreasonable tomake a general ED teacher responsible for both the needs of students withintellectual disabilities and regular ED students.

Lauren, I understand many of your feelings about the situation with Peter.  I sympathized with the teacher's initial reaction of "How can I handle this all year?" and her ongoing frustrations with his disruptive actions.  I especially was concerned for the safety of many of the kids when Peter would kick, hit and do unexpected things.  However, I was surprised at the productive class meeting they held to address the situation, and I was impressed with the patience and maturity of these 3rd graders in responding to Peter and seeking ways to shape his behavior in positive directions.  I was astounded at the end of the school year when one of the boys said that Peter was one of his best friends (Peter had kicked him in the beginning of the year) and at the perceptions of the one girl who said that they thought they were teaching Peter, but actually he was teaching them!  The teacher as well was amazed at his progress, and his accomplishments had greatly exceeded her expectations.  I can't help but consider the "lost instructional time" spent instead on dealing with his disruptive behaviors or calming him down, but actually, everything, especially dealing with behavior, is a "learning moment" and kids take away lessons from what they observe.  I do think Peter's situation would have warranted an aide or a specialist to be in the classroom for support, but as was noted, the kids rose to the occasion (especially the girls in their motherly way) and greatly helped with teaching Peter acceptable behavior.  Although I can imagine it was an exhausting and often frustrating year, it was definitely a year full of learning for every one of those students. 
Nicole Hubbard
Reply with quote  #65 

I understand the general education teachers being overwhelmedby their current duties.  Increasing classsizes, pressure for students to meet academic standards set forth by the state,and varying personalities within the classroom, in addition to other pressuresand duties a teacher must face makes their career very challenging. The realityis that on top of their general duties they are expected to provide forchildren with disabilities in their classrooms. This is very much expected ofeducators and the set forth in the law. Students are required to be in the leastrestrictive environment and in most cases this is in the general education classroomwith support services. The general education teacher is not expected to providefor children with disabilities on his/her own. In all classes I have seen with studentswith disabilities present there have been support staff to help the generaleducation teacher. Each party, meaning the general education teacher and thespecial education teacher must do their part on behalf of the children to makethe educational experience work. The special education teacher can collaboratewith the general education teacher on modifications or accommodations the childrenwith disabilities may need. The special education teacher can also help the generaleducation teacher with lesson planning, and running the classroom. The collaborativeeffort of both teachers will be the most beneficial to the children with disabilitiesand the least stressful for all teachers involved. After all, providing an educationfor all students in the classroom is what teachers should aim to do.

Sarah Hassan
Reply with quote  #66 
1. Many regular classroom teachers feel overwhelmed by their current duties. It is reasonable to expect them to provide for the needs of a child with disabilities in their classroom?

I feel that it is very important for teachers to provide for the needs of children with disabilities to an extent. Many general ed teachers are not trained in the field so they do not know how to really approach students with disabilities. However i do feel that if there are students with special needs in a general education classroom the teacher should receive some sort of training, teaching them how they should meet the child's needs and how to help the child the best that they can. In my experience, when mainstreaming students there are many teachers who are reluctant to agree to having special education students mainstream in their classroom because of the fact that they themselves don't feel comfortable with having a student who requires something extra from them given that they already have so much on their plate as it is. Because of this I also believe that if there will be a student who has special needs that there should also be an instructional aide provided for that teacher. It is not only the responsibility of that teacher to give all students the best that he or she can give them but it is also the responsibility of the school district to help that teacher. By this I mean giving the teacher the best resources available and a great support system to turn to when he or she needs it. As a general education teacher or a special education teacher, I feel that it is the responsibility of them all to give the students the best education regardless of their status and to provide fro them a safe and secure environment at all times. 
However depending on the severity of the case, if the student is being disruptive and is not allowing the teacher to do his or her job then the proper steps need to be taken to remove the student from the classroom so that the teacher can give the other students the attention and the education that is owed to them. By giving the teacher the proper resources and the proper support system then the process of getting the student evaluated and removed from the classroom and but in a classroom setting that is appropriate for him or her to thrive is the most important as well. 

Stephanie B-Bennett
Reply with quote  #67 

I do believe it is reasonable to expect teachers to provide for children with exceptional needs. Today, the average student receives about five minutes of a teacher’s instruction. That means if a teacher has thirty non-disabled students and three disabled students with mild to moderate learning disorders, a normal day would satisfy a well-organized lesson plan. I think two systems of education (regular and special) can be reasonable. It is the role of both residential Teachers and Special Education Teachers to knowing the key elements to providing the best services for all students.

            Let us measure three options: First, a senior teacher or a new beginning teacher has to envision teaching diversity type of students. This idea should be implemented with the preparation of an adequate lesson plan that fit every day conflicts and social issue within the classroom.

            Secondly, the talent of every teacher and parent that is engages in the productivity of ever student shows success in that student’s life. This includes providing students the opportunity to be mainstreamed. Mainstreaming inclusion is an effort to making sure students with disabilities have the same pleasures as non-disability students. Studies indicate that students with special needs perform better academically when mainstreamed in regular classes.

            Thirdly, the concern has fueled the regular education initiative, which encourages school to take steps in collaborating, modifying, and training teachers, parents, and others to embrace the word responsibility-the linkage is possible.

            Finally, I have to agree with Dr. Swartz summary statement, "We should not underestimate either our regular or special teachers." Its an overwhelming job but the word passionate places things in it proper manner. Even if it takes pushing, fostering, and adapting to the special needs of every student, the richness of human diversity that graces our classroom enables teachers and students to learn from each other.


Andrea Salazar
Reply with quote  #68 
     I agree with Tiffany Back, this is my second year teaching in a general education classroom and with the amount of students that need or receive special services, it is beneficial to have your special education credential. With the classroom size being 33:1 in many schools in San Bernardino, it is difficult to reach and adhere to all the needs of your students, but not impossible. I have been learning a lot about different ways to modify assessments and curriculum simply by talking to colleagues, counselors, my administrator and RSP teachers.
     Although I do believe it is reasonable to expect general education teachers to provide for the needs of a child with disabilities in their classroom, I feel that these teachers should have an aide, even if it is for an hour, to help accommodate the needs of their diverse students. I have been fortunate to have an aide that comes in during math to help my RSP students and those students really benefit from their time with her. Her time in my room allows me to help my other students who need extra support but do not qualify for RSP or have an IEP.
      I also feel that if teachers are to be held accountable to provide for the needs of children with disabilities, they should be have a professional development class that shows ways they could accommodate. I have learned many ways through experience, but I still feel that I could be doing more, and if I received a training or observed in a classroom where a teacher accommodates for all her students' needs, I would feel more comfortable and knowledgeable to do it in my own classroom.

Maureen Casian 001628535
Reply with quote  #69 

It seems to me that some regular education teachers just are not capable of handling special education students. Including special ed students in a general education classroom is basically making the teacher wear two hats: That of a general education teacher and that of a special education teacher. I do think special education training should be included with a general education credential and dual roles should somehow be melded into one.

On the other hand, I do believe that every student – whether they have an IEP or not – is special and unique in their own right. For example, one of my own children has OCD and I've contemplated and spoke to the schools for several years about putting him on an IEP. I've even filled out the paperwork, but my gut told me no because socially he has always fit in and he did not want to be put on an IEP. Now he's 16 and a sophomore in high school and is doing just fine in the general education population. He has learned to cope with his compulsions and even jokes about it with his friends. It's just a part of him.

I have found this to be the case with most special needs students who mix with the general education population. In the beginning it's a bit awkward, but after a few weeks the novelty wears off and the student makes friends and mingles with the rest of the class. No problem. This makes for a very healthy environment all the way around.

I have seen general education teachers make it a problem though.  Most general education teachers have a clear vision of their classroom NOT including special needs students. In order for inclusion to be successful, this mindset needs to change...the educators must be educated thoroughly in order to reverse this way of thinking because the special needs population is growing and here to stay...assimilation is the only answer.

Denise Holthe
Reply with quote  #70 

Overwhelmed is an understatement.  We can all sit behind our computers writinguntil the cows come home about how a teacher needs to teach anyone that comesinto their classroom, no matter what their circumstance is.  But, the reality is that teachers are overworkedand under appreciated and are expected to perform miracles each and every daywith over 30 students in their classrooms. Adding the element of a student with disabilities could very well be thestraw that breaks the camel’s back.  Now,if you lowered the class size and provided some intense education regardingchildren with disabilities I think things would work out really well.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it isnot unreasonable to expect teachers to provide for the needs of any child intheir classroom (disabled or otherwise) if the administration gives them enoughtools to manage their classrooms and allow all the children the opportunity tolearn.  Children with disabilities willlearn from children without disabilities and vice versa.   However,having smaller classroom numbers along with another adult or two to help wouldnot be an unreasonable request.  Teachingreading, writing, and math are not the only subjects that teachers teach.  They also teach virtues like patience, humility,diligence and kindness just to name a few. Having real life examples of all of these behaviors will help the learningprocess for all children whether disabled or not.   

Consequently, if an administration planson mainstreaming children, give teachers the tools necessary to teach and watchwhile all children thrive in a smaller more manageable classroomsituation.    

Heather Rodgers
Reply with quote  #71 
I believe that it is very reasonable to expect a general education teacher to include a student with special needs, and or learning disabilities. The main reason I believe this is because I am a strong believer in the fact that children are children, they are deserve to be treated as equals. It is very unfair to place a child with learning disabilities into a "special class". The teacher needs to step up non the matter if they feel the feeling of being overwhelmed. Teachers need to be more understanding and see how overwhelmed that the student with a learning disability may feel. I believe that teachers are suppose to be there for the student, to educate and help the student grow. Just because a student is more difficult to teach due to  their disability does not mean that the student with the learning disability does not deserve to be taught amongst their peers. The one year the teachers has to feel "overwhelmed" with teaching a class, may be the one life changing year in that student with the learning disability. There is a better chance for that student to feel more like a child, and not a child with a learning disability that belongs in a "special class". So, to wrap up I do believe that it is not to much to expect a teacher to include "special education" students in their classrooms. I do believe it is their job and their responsibility to teach any student that steps into their classroom. The reason I am becoming a teacher is to teach, all students, not just the students that are easiest to teach. Sometimes the biggest difference a teacher can make in a students life is teaching them that they are teachable.  
Brian Thomas
Reply with quote  #72 
Teaching students is the most rewarding profession and the most overwhelming choice of careers.  Students come to school with many different challenges and difficulties.  The teacher in a differentiated classroom realizes that individual students have different needs.  Because of this, the teacher proactively plans a variety of methods to get students to express their own style of  learning.  Where a traditional lesson changes re-actively when learning is not occurring as planned, a differentiated lesson is proactively planned so that individual needs are addressed before the lesson occurs.  During instruction, teachers are conscious of three elements, content (what students learn), process (how students make sense of content) , and product (how students demonstrate what they have learned).  When using the differentiated approach in the classroom, teachers can offer different approaches in what students learn, how they learn it, and how they demonstrate what they have learned.  as a teacher, I have worked with ESL students and Special Needs students, and I have found that my job is to reach and therefore teach each and every student from the place that they mentally entered my room to a higher level of understanding of the standards.  A teacher should not tell the students everything but rather allows the student to discover concepts independently growing at his or her pace.  Lessons are designed to engage growth in all students.  Lessons are neither too difficult or too easy for the individual student, but challenging.
Kimberlee Luke
Reply with quote  #73 

All teachers are overwhelmed with current duties. I do think it is reasonable for them to provide for the needs of a child with a disability in their classroom. Regular education teachers should not have the mentality that a special education student is not their problem to deal with. Teachers should be passionate about their job therefore; caring about every student that walks in their classroom by trying to plan and arrange exactly how to meet each students needs.  As teachers we should be there to assist every student with their proper needs whether it is a regular or special student. In a regular classroom not all children have the same needs or learning styles. The teaching methods are going to already have to be adjusted to benefit the regular child’s needs so why not do the same for a disabled student. I do however believe that the teachers should be given the proper help and staff to help them with incorporating a disabled student into their classroom. With help and aides provided to the general teachers, they can delegate some of their duties and tasks to them making their workload not so stressed and overwhelming. Regular teachers make accommodations and modifications to all of their students in a general education classroom already so I think why not do the same for a disabled student. As a teacher it is our responsibility to educate our students in the best way possible where the students are able to learn successfully and this should be also be implemented to disabled students. 

Kristal Stanley
Reply with quote  #74 

I do believe that it is a reasonable expectation of general education teachers to take on students with disabilities, but, with limitations. I believe this because not all students with special needs are very severe, for most students there would only need to be a few modifications made so that they are fully included in the class. For other students their IEP may provide help for the teacher in the form of a one on one aide or a pull out program. Even with the large class sizes that general education takes on; teachers should be able to change a lesson, move the seat of the student or make other small modifications to solve the problem easily. This would aid in full inclusion without disrupting the learning environment for the students who do not have special needs. 

            On the other side of this question we have to wonder how many students with special needs should be in one general education classroom. For example if a teacher has a class of thirty students and twenty of them have special needs the point of having a general education classroom is defeated. I think that a ratio of one special education student to three general education students is the most that would be beneficial to all students in the class. This would allow for the fullest inclusion possible while not overloading the teacher or the students with more than they can handle.  The most difficult part of this idea would be the implementation and integration of special education students. Possible opponents would be teacher who feel their work load is already too much, parents who feel their special needs students would not receive the attention needed and parents of general education students who feel that special needs students will take away from their son’s or daughter’s education. 

Melissa Marquez
Reply with quote  #75 

         Today many teachers feel overwhelmed with their students in the classroom, because of the large number of students that they now have in their classroom. Many of these teachers have students in their classroom with no disability at all. As a teacher you have to be able to know that all children are different and you need to be able to work with all the children’s different needs in the classroom. Your goal in the classroom as a teacher is to be able to help all students in your classroom. 

        I believe that a teacher should be able to provide the needs for all students in their classroom. Many people are different and learn in different ways. Not one person in the world is the same as another person. Everyone have different needs. A good teacher today, will be able to help and provide all students in their classroom with all the needs each students has. A good teacher is willing to go out of his/her way to help their students be a better person in and out of the classroom. A good teacher can provide all the information to parents and other staff to help students with disabilities in their classroom. Today in the world it is very common to have a students in your classroom with disabilities, I believe that it is uncommon to have students in the classroom with no disabilities at all. I believe that as a teacher you should be able to go out and try your best to help all students before you go out and send them to a Special Day Class. It is a goal has a teacher to keep all students in a regular classroom and just give the students the extra help that they need. 

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