A descriptive study of secondary inclusion classrooms.
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SubjectInclusive education.; Special education educators -- Education (Middle school).; Children with mental disabilities -- Education (Secondary).
Research indicates that there has been increased demand for inclusion services for students with special needs since the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) in 2004. Yet, much remains unknown about what actually goes on in inclusive settings and how highly effective environments differ from those in which pupils make minimal progress. This descriptive study collected data from three, teacher pairs (i.e., general and special educators) who taught in middle and high schools in a small rural school district in Western New York. Using a survey and focused interviews, data were collected regarding (a) the nature and extent of physical, academic, and interpersonal integration in their settings; (b) teacher use of evidence-based teaching practices; and (c) the development of collaborative partnerships to improve services for all students. Results indicated that students were integrated in varying ways academically, behaviorally, and interpersonally into inclusive settings; that general and special education teachers shared most instructional responsibilities and worked collaboratively to maximize student learning; and that technological advances have facilitated teacher communication and collaboration and improved pupil learning. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.