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Tension Between Special and Regular Educators

1. What does research indicate in regard to the attitudes and collegiality among special education and general education faculty and staff?

2. There has been a history of discord in regard to inclusion of special education students in general education programs, and also in regard to the use of the resource room for completing exams and assignments. What list of items of discussion would you use and why do you think each item is important?

3. â??Why should regular education teachers have to take special education students, especially when a special ed. teacher would only have to deal with five or six at a time?â?

4. In respecting the dignity of all stakeholders, what are the legal expectations of students with disabilities in inclusive settings?

Solution Preview

1. Special education teachers and regular education teachers have been kept apart for many reasons over the past decades of education. First, the special educators must know how to navigate the tricky legal issues in regards to students with disabilities. This is critical to make sure special education students are given equal access to high quality educational experiences. In the past, these educational experiences were provided through special, smaller classes in specified parts of the school. Rarely did the special educator or his/her students interact with the rest of the school population. Then, NCLB was passed and this set a mandate for all teachers to collaborate for the benefit of all students. Teachers were thrust together without a clear understanding of how both systems (that had remained separate) could be combined. A lot of tension was created among teachers who struggled meshing to very different systems of education. Thus, collegiality among these two groups of educators suffered. Regular education teachers blamed special education teachers and "their" students for lowering their test scores. Administrators assigned special education teachers and regular education teachers to work together but gave them no help as far as how to go about it. So, in many schools you will see an "us vs. them" mentality. It is not because teachers hate each other, but it is because they are unsure of how to go about working together.
Thus, in order for this to change, there needs to be some professional development opportunities for both kinds of teachers to understand each other. Regular education teachers do not know what special educators can offer in the classroom. Oftentimes teachers are thrown together in a co-teaching situation and neither of them know how to do it very effectively. Additionally, administrators need to provide frequent, regular opportunities for these teachers to collaborate. At my school, every Monday afternoon we have an hour during our contract time designated for collaboration. This gives all of us an opportunity to socialize and work together to benefit all the students at the school.
Resource: www.aare.edu/au/01pap/jar01124.htm
2. Inclusive practices are based on several beliefs:
a. All students can learn if given ...

Solution Summary

Why is there tension between special education teachers and regular education teachers? How can this tension be resolved?

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