The Inclusion Classroom: Tips for Teachers

How Inclusive Is Your Class?

girl with down syndrome playing with classmates
Working in groups helps to reinforce important life skills. Getty/124283161/Fotosearch

In an inclusion classroom, a general education teacher and a special education teacher co-teach in order to meet the needs of different kinds of students. These classrooms give special education students the support they need while they learn alongside their general education peers. Studies show that gen ed students also benefit from the resources available in an inclusion classroom, which can range from simply putting another adult in the room to experienced social-emotional education supports.

There are a variety of benefits to inclusion classes for both students and teachers. Collaborative team teaching allows for all students to get the benefits of two teachers, while giving teachers the luxury of concentrating only on a subset of students or on a particular aspect of the school day. Inclusion classes are more likely to use positive behavorial supports, and to make allowances to support students with additional breaks, opportunities for movement, and other engagement and class management techniques. A team can effectively break the class into smaller groups for differentiated instruction, which meets students at their level of proficiency. 

The Teacher's Role

Your role as a teacher in an inclusion classroom is to create a community that helps all students meet their academic and behavioral goals. Take advantage of the support and experience provided by your co-teacher, and get involved in inclusion curriculum such as Universal Design and Multiple Intelligences.

Your planning and teaching strategies can make a dramatic difference in reaching students with diverse abilities and skill levels.

An Inclusion Checklist

Learn how to be inclusional in your practice. Are you setting your students up for success? Try this checklist to see where your areas of strengths and weaknesses are.

1.___ Are students able to cope with the assigned tasks?

2.___ Do you give instructions/directions at his/her level of need?

3.___ Have you considered the individual's learning style?

4.___ Are your objectives, routines and rules clearly understood by the students?

5.___ Are your activities engaging and motivating for your students?

6.___ Are your rules/routines posted clearly and stated positively?

7.___ Do you have a variety of rewards/consequences that are well known by your students?

8.___ Do you have smooth transitions from one subject to another and when students return from recess/lunch?

9.___ Do you promote self-esteem and confidence?

10.___ Do you ensure you have your student's attention before starting? Do you pause when somebody interrupts?

11.___ Do you always demonstrate respect for your students and value their contributions?

12.___ Do you remember to have fun with your students and provide humor when the opportunity presents itself?

If you can answer yes to these questions, your discipline plan will be one of success. If you answered no to any of the items, look toward improving that specific area.