What special education teaching program do you feel most benefits regular education students?

TeAch-nology.com's Teacher Poll of the Week
What special education teaching program do you feel most benefits regular education students?

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The results of this poll revealed that each category is almost equally supported by teachers. There was less than a 10% difference between all three choices, indicating that teachers feel there are multiple benefits to regular education students from special education teaching programs.

Special education programs are geared exclusively to providing benefits to special needs students. However, no one in the educational system lives in a bubble and programs that affect those students with special needs often have a reverberating effect on other students as well. Extra resources brought in to aid special education programs aren't locked up and kept away from other students, all students in the classroom can benefit from whatever the resource is. For example, some schools bring in items like Smartboards specifically to make interactive learning easier for special needs students but all the students in the classroom can benefit from this new resource.

The pros and cons of inclusion for special needs students have been widely debated for a number of years. Many teachers feel that regular education students benefit from inclusion both academically and socially. Academically they benefit from the inclusion of special needs students in the classroom because regular education students gain access to extra resources. Socially inclusion teaches tolerance, compassion and patience in a way that many students a generation or so ago missed out on.

On the flip side of this argument are the proponents of self-contained education for special needs students. The idea is that regular education students are better able to concentrate on their own studies when special needs students learn in a self-contained environment. Less interaction between the two groups leads to less distraction during the learning process.

One thing is clear from this poll: there is no right answer to this question. There isn't even a majority response to this question. Teachers are as divided as the rest of society when it comes to addressing the requirements of special needs students. How programs are best implemented to ensure that the needs of all students are met is not as simple as some may think.