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Anna Gallagher

March 14, 2015

Talking Points on Inclusion and Philosophy of Education

Talking Points on Inclusion:

Inclusive Early Childhood Education programs are beneficial for both children with and without


Studies show that students with disabilities who are enrolled in inclusive programs,

perform better academically and socially than their peers in non-inclusive environments

(Baker, Wang, & Walberg, 1994).

In inclusive programs, children with disabilities can look to their nondisabled peers as

positive role models for speech and behavior (National Down Syndrome Society).

The positive effects of inclusive programs carry on long after the children have left. In

fact children with disabilities who were educated in inclusive settings have a far greater

employment rate (73%) than their disabled peers educated in segregated environments

(53%) (National Down Syndrome Society). Furthermore the amount of time disabled

students spend in inclusive programs, correlates with their later success finding and

maintaining employment as well as living independently (Institute on Disability,

University of New Hampshire).

Children without disabilities enrolled in inclusive programs also enjoy academic,

behavioral, and social benefits (National Down Syndrome Society). For example

nondisabled children are more likely to learn the important skills of tolerance and

acceptance, as well as develop an appreciation for diversity. Collaboration (between

teachers, support staff, and children) is also a major component of inclusive programs

and all children benefit greatly when they can witness and learn effective collaboration


Some may worry that including special needs students in a traditional classroom will take

away attention and resources from traditional students. However this assumption is

false. When special needs students are included in general education programs, the

resources that had been devoted to a special needs program can be reallocated and all

students can benefit from increased programming opportunities.

Baker, E.T., Wang, M.C., and Walberg, H. J. (1994). The effects of inclusion on learning.
Educational Leadership, 52 (4), 33-35.

"Implementing Inclusion." - National Down Syndrome Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2015.
Institute On Disability, University Of New Hampshire. "Rationale for and Research on Inclusive
Education." National Center on Inclusive Education (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 2 Feb. 2015.

Philosophy of Education:
Martin Luther King, Jr. called education the road to equality and citizenship. I agree

that only through education can we create a more equitable and democratic society. Our children,

when given the appropriate tools, can enact powerful change. We simply must provide these

tools through education.

Public education should prepare children to actively participate in the democratic process,

to be respectful of all human beings, animals, and the environment, to develop positive

relationships, and to perform meaningful work in the community. To achieve these outcomes, it

is necessary to teach values and attitudes in addition to subject content. To be democratic

citizens, students must be taught to have a voice in their society. Students should be empowered

to stand up for what they believe is right. Cultural understanding should be taught in schools by

learning about other cultures in a respectful and immersive way. Multiple languages should be

taught in the classroom and children and their families should be encouraged to share their

unique cultures in the school setting. To help children be successful in whatever career they

choose, we must teach communication (verbal and written) skills, teamwork skills, and critical

thinking skills. Childrens curiosity should also be encouraged. Teachers and students should ask

questions of one another and seek to develop solutions to problems together.

Schools should also assist families in achieving their specific goals for their child.

Education professionals should employ Skilled Dialogue techniques when speaking with families

so they can get to know the childs family and understand their unique expectations for their

child (Barrera & Corso). Professionals should continue to consult with families throughout a

childs education to revisit the families goals. It is critical that professionals understand that

children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and

society (NAEYC). A childs education must occur within and beyond the classroom setting

with the support of a childs community.

It is the teachers job to create a classroom space in which meaningful learning can occur.

To create this positive learning environment, teachers must treat students as intelligent,

compassionate, highly capable individuals. Teachers must set a policy that all children and staff

will be respectful to one another. Children should also be empowered to develop their own

classroom rules. Professionals must recognize that children...achieve their full potential in the

context of relationships that are based on trust and respect (NAEYC). Once this welcoming and
inclusive environment has been created, it is the teachers job to inspire students to explore the

world and embrace their unique passions.

Children learn best when they feel valued in their educational setting. They learn best

when they are given the autonomy to discover the world for themselves. For young children play

and the exploration of materials are two key elements of learning. Children also learn through

their observations of adults and peers. Therefore it is essential that the adults in a childs life

demonstrate the skills and traits they would like the child to one day embody. Children also learn

in very different ways and at different speeds. It is therefore critical that teachers offer

differentiated instruction. Visuals, language, numbers, and music should all be present in

educational settings. Teachers should use a curriculum that gives children diverse experiences

and that is based on research about child development and effective teaching practices.

Another role of teachers is to assess a students learning. Assessment should be

conducted through observation of the student, speaking directly with the student, and through

formal testing. Assessment should be ongoing rather than occurring only once or twice a year.

The data gathered from assessments should be used thoughtfully to evaluate if current teaching

strategies are helping a child and what new strategies might better assist a child. All assessments

must be conducted in a culturally and linguistically responsive manner.

In order for our society to achieve true equality and have an active citizenry, our

education system must prepare children to actively participate in the democratic process, to be

respectful of all human beings, animals, and the environment, to develop positive social

relationships, and to perform meaningful work in the community. Education professionals must

collaborate with families to help students reach these goals as well as their familys unique goals.
Teachers must create a space for meaningful learning to occur, where children are empowered to

seek out their own knowledge and understanding. The progress of our society depends on our

children, their families, and dedicated educators.

Barrera, I. & Corso, R.M. (2002) Cultural Competency as Skilled Dialogue, Topics in Early
Childhood Special Education, 22(2), 103-113.
NAEYC. "Code of Ethical Conduct and Statement of Commitment." N.p., Apr.
2005. Web. 13 Mar. 2015. <>.
"Selected Quotes." Quotes. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2015.