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Trouble in Paradise: A Study of Who Is Included in an Inclusion Classroom

by Rachel Zindler - 2009

Background/Context: This study is based on prior research regarding the need for explicit social instruction for children with special needs, cooperative educational models, and the goals and relative successes of inclusive educational practices. The author refers to several studies on these subjects, including those by Kavale and Forness; Salend; and Sapon-Shevin, Dobbelaere, and Corrigan.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This teacher analyzes how truly "inclusive" her class was during 1 year of collaborative team teaching in a second-grade inclusion classroom. Employing research-based methods of cooperative education, she considered how successful she was in facilitating meaningful relationships between special education students from all backgrounds, and their peers. She also examined whether it was possible, despite differences in academic and social skills, to fully incorporate those children with special needs into a classroom so that their general education peers would value and include them in their activities and social life.

Population/Participants/Subjects/Setting: In this study, a second-grade teacher took on a new position as the general education teacher in a New York City school's inclusion team. Seven of the 24 students in the new class were special education students. These children struggled with a variety of developmental delays, such as expressive and/or receptive language processing disorders, physical disabilities, and social/emotional issues. Five of these children were bused from less affluent neighborhoods near the school to attend the program. Whereas the general population at the school consisted of upper-middle-class White and Asian families, these 5 children were from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and were either African American or of Latin American descent.

Research Design: This action research was conducted by a practicing teacher who collected data through interviews, sociograms, observations, and other anecdotal means.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 8, 2009, p. 1971-1996
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15502, Date Accessed: 4/10/2021 7:22:06 AM

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About the Author
  • Rachel Zindler

    E-mail Author
    RACHEL ZINDLER practices as a consultant for GoldMansour & Rutherford Coaching, working to support and advise inclusion teams in the New York City area. She has taught in both general education and collaborative team teaching (CTT) environments across the elementary grades and has developed individualized curricula for students with a variety of learning styles as an academic intervention specialist. As a mentor-teacher, she has guided new and veteran teachers in curriculum design, individualized assessment, and differentiated instruction. Ms. Zindler has led workshops for parents and colleagues and cofacilitated an online forum for new teachers at the Bank Street College of Education.
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