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Inclusion: Not Another Buzzword

Introduction and Purpose

More and more classrooms have students with disabilities, language needs, and other learning issues. Schools are beginning to reduce the number of self-contained classes for these students and placing them in general education classes. “Special education” has often been seen as a negative thing by parents, administrators, students, and even general education teachers. Often times, people worry that having students with differing learning needs will negatively impact the learning of “typical” children. This inquiry will explore educational policy, psychological research, and students and teachers in inclusive settings to evaluate why the push for Inclusion can have a positive impact for learning for all students if there is strong administrative support, parental support, and dedicated collaborative teaching teams. 
The purpose of this inquiry is to explore how students and teachers view co-teaching and how schools can support co-teaching in their schools. It does not have all the answers, but opens the discussion of the question, “Why Inclusion?” It was an important inquiry for our inquiry-to-action team as we are all in co-teaching situations--whether as a special education teacher, an ESL teacher, and even a general education teacher. We all wanted to know what are best practices and how to implement them into our school environments.