Community Based InstructionOur new director has established a budget for community based instruction for our self-contained classes.  I have been doing this for many years.  I have offered many...

Community Based Instruction

Our new director has established a budget for community based instruction for our self-contained classes.  I have been doing this for many years.  I have offered many teachers ideas, suggestions and willingness to answer any questions.  I have received some nice feedback, but I would like to help more of the teachers who are reluctant or afraid.  Any suggestions?

Asked on by kriscor

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jorja2u | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I have been teaching special education for 22 years and spent 1 year as an instructional coach, so I've rolled with the changes. When I started with learning disabilities, I served as a therapist role. I had small groups of students (no more than 4) and gave direct instruction to their identified weakness(es). I didn't teach subject matter nor did I assign grades. That to me was the perfect way to serve these students. That being said, I can sense your frustration. Everyone is frustrated. I do agree that many new ways we are being trained and encouraged to teach (such as differentiated instruction) are re-packaged versions of grouping. From my experience, the students have spent many years having aquired dependent and learned helpness behaviors. No one is adequately trained to deal with this widespread push for total inclusion. However, to try to answer your question, I suggest that the administrators look at training for the teachers to adapt materials and to show teachers how to address products from all students that demonstrate how the students have met instructional standards. Take advantage of the co-teachers; make sure they are trained as well - both regular and special teachers. In a perfect world, the instructional coaches should be trained to take more of the load in modifying or asssiting teachers in adapting material. Or better yet, they could hire a special education coach to only work with teachers to help with the how and what to teach these students.

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mom2tristan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Speaking as a teacher who has worked for ten years in schools that are inclusion based, I can tell you that you are facing an uphill battle.  I am a 7th grade classroom teacher, and my classes typically have 6-8 students on IEP's, 1-2 ELL students, and 10-12 "regular ed" kids.  We have a significant amount of "push-in" support, with special education aides or teachers in our classroom.  We are also blessed to be in school system with significant numbers of student teachers, who help alleviate the burden.

So, to answer yor questions, I will say this.  More than training, teachers need support.  They need someone to help them find modified texts, create modified assignments, and write modified tests.  They need someone to sit with them and explain the difference between modifications and accomodations.  They need someone to show them, by modeling and and concrete data, that the techniques that work best for IEP students often help ALL students in a classroom.  

You also need to convince your administration that special education teachers need to "push-in" to classrooms as many periods a week as possible.  Students with IEP's often have unique needs that can not be met by one person without disrupting the entire class plan.  And, schedules need to be balanced.  When creating class lists, administrators should be encouraged to balance gender numbers, and to spread students will special needs (with those be IEP or ELL students) evenly among the sections.

If you want to make changes, you may have to volunteer to help implement them.  Offer to start early in constructing class lists and creating sections.  Recruit any classroom teachers who you think may be supportive to create some guidelines for aides in the classroom.  Encourage your administration to offer professional development in the area of inclusion during faculty meeting time.  

Most importantly, remember to stay positive and remind yourself that the wheels of change move slowly in institutions as large as schools. Just the fact that you're asking this question means you're helping your school move in the right direction!

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cburr | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

My guess is that many teachers who are reluctant to do this are worried that it would be difficult, harder to control the kids, etc. 

So, one important step would be to convince them that in many ways it is actually easier to get the kids involved in engaging activities precisely because they are learning more.  

Second, you might offer to pair up with other teachers who are worried about the logistics so that they could experience the positives without having to take on the full responsibility.

Third, I have seen many times in my teaching that I am simply a more flexible personality type than some of my colleagues.  They have lots of other strengths, but find it difficult to go with the flow as you often need to do when bringing the kids out to a less controlled environment.  Some teachers might in fact not be able to handle this well and so probably shouldn't do it.

Finally, probably the best way to reach teachers who could do this well but are just stuck in their habits or reluctant to try new things would be to take videos of the kids or get testamonials from those who are able to give them about how much it means to them to have these opportunities.  Nothing reaches a teacher like a kid saying, "Helloooo!! This is what really works for me!" 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think getting the community involved in education is a wonderful idea.  With special ed kids, depending on how severe the learning disabilities, it would be great to partner with animal groups like the humane society.  I've heard of wonderful programs where animals are taken into senior citizens' homes to help them socialize and de-stress.  The same would work for severely learning disabled kids.

As a teacher who is endorsed to teach gifted kids, one thing I wish I knew more about when I began teaching is how to write grants to support all the things I wanted to do in my classroom. That would be a helpful tool if you could do this instruction yourself or bring in a community leader who could give pointers on writing grant requests that get the dough. 

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cherbull | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

 

 

 

This is not a community based question but it is dealing with special education students. My students who are 5th LD will be taking the  state writing assessment test in Feb. Help! I need strategies to teach them the process of writing a narrative essay.

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tamara-mom | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Community Based Instruction

Our new director has established a budget for community based instruction for our self-contained classes.  I have been doing this for many years.  I have offered many teachers ideas, suggestions and willingness to answer any questions.  I have received some nice feedback, but I would like to help more of the teachers who are reluctant or afraid.  Any suggestions?

Why do you consider community based instruction a good idea and what ages do you teach? I am a parent of a 12 year old with an IEP, and I am not in favor of weekly field trips for my son because I do not see the educational benefit in doing scout-like field trips as a substitute for academic work. What would you say to convince me otherwise?

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laina359 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

My school is just really beginning the inclusion process for middle school students.  I'm really frustrated with this, as many of the teachers are not only reluctant to work with these students, but act as if the students are burdening them and ruining their statistics.  Many are fearful because they haven't been trained in special education, but many or resentful because they only want the "normal" children in their rooms.  Another problem is that there isn't much support on the administrators end, and budget is of course a problem.  Teachers aren't trained, aids aren't properly trained, and it's once again created the tracking and grouping process.  The inclusion isn't being done right as these so called inclusion classes consist of 90% plus  of special education students.  Many of the classes contain the entire 15-1 group of kids, plus regular IEP kids, and 1 regular ed kid. 

I guess my question is:  How do I convince administration that teachers need more training, without stepping on any toes?   And that we need to take a long hard look at scheduling to make inlcusion meet IDEA regulations, and benefit the kids more. 

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laina359 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

My school is just really beginning the inclusion process for middle school students.  I'm really frustrated with this, as many of the teachers are not only reluctant to work with these students, but act as if the students are burdening them and ruining their statistics.  Many are fearful because they haven't been trained in special education, but many or resentful because they only want the "normal" children in their rooms.  Another problem is that there isn't much support on the administrators end, and budget is of course a problem.  Teachers aren't trained, aids aren't properly trained, and it's once again created the tracking and grouping process.  The inclusion isn't being done right as these so called inclusion classes consist of 90% plus  of special education students.  Many of the classes contain the entire 15-1 group of kids, plus regular IEP kids, and 1 regular ed kid. 

I guess my question is:  How do I convince administration that teachers need more training, without stepping on any toes?   And that we need to take a long hard look at scheduling to make inlcusion meet IDEA regulations, and benefit the kids more. 

 

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gilwreath | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Many of the students I work with are included in a regular classroom except for a few with ED, Aspergers and mild Autism, they are with me about 40% of their day.  I have been at my current position for three years and there are teachers who are finally comfortable with doing a variety of activities with the children I see. What I have done is consistently model for the teachers by going on field trips with them, being in the classroom during a non-typical time and have had many discussion with the teachers answering their questions. I have shared with them some techniques and methods to use so as to help them encourage and guide the children.

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cemorris24 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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As far as community based instruction I wanted to share some of our trips.  We volunteer at Meals on Wheels, visit a local nursing home, eat at various restaurants, tour the bank, post office, recycling center, library.  We also grocery shop at Walmart, Bilo, etc.  We do an annaul Christmas Shopping trip where we take the kids to buy Christmas Presents for family and friends.  Just wanted to add this in.

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cemorris24 | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

First of all I would like to say how happy I am to hear a teacher with this attitude!!!  It is very refreshing.  I teach a self-contained class of TMH students.  Mine are ages 18-21.  Any time the students can be in the community it is wonderful.  We do have our own fun where students are taken out at least once a week.

 As far as the other teachers, please just keep encouraging them to include the TMH classes.  Going on field trips, participating in class plays, activities is wonderful.  A big push with the TMH population is to teach social skills.  When they around the other population, this helps so much.  Another good idea is to pull students from your class and have them buddy read to a tmh student or even to the class.  The more these other teachers are around the students, they will get a better idea of what these students can do, there behaviors, and just how much fun they can be.  Just keep setting the positive example for the rest of the teachers and maybe one day it will click with them.  Kudos again for all the wonderful things you are doing!

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costleyk | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Our school is set up with TMH (4 classes) and then the rest of the ESE population is in an inclusion classroom.  I am a 5th grade ELA teacher and my class is inclusion.  I have students from 2 points away from TMH to the gifted students.  I have observed in the TMH section of our school that they go on a lot of field trips, such as to the supermarket, in order to work on thier survival skills.  The young TMH class does not due to the many serious disabilities.  As grade level chairman I also include the TMH on our field trips.  These are children who need and desire the same treatment we give "normal" children (if you can define normal!)

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kriscor | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Actuallymy question was really how to help other teachers who have not been doing this. I have been doing all of those things that you mentioned. The other teachers are not receptive to doing this nor my suggestions and I was wondering what sort of approach would other teachers suggest I use to help these teachers.

<> Just a side note, it does not matter how disabled the children are. I teach THE most disabled children and I take ALL of my kids whereever we go! :)

kriscor's profile pic

kriscor | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Actuallymy question was really how to help other teachers who have not been doing this.  I have been doing all of those things that you mentioned.  The other teachers are not receptive to doing this nor my suggestions and I was wondering what sort of approach would other teachers suggest I use to help these teachers.  

<> Just a side note, it does not matter how disabled the children are.  I teach THE most disabled children and I take ALL of my kids whereever we go!  :)

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