This topic is something that I am very passionate about, so I thoroughly enjoyed the readings and in-class discussions. My capstone project is about access to education for children with disabilities, therefore it is interesting to draw comparisons and contrasts between my research and the assigned readings for class. The article “Comparison of Brunei Preservice Teachers’ Attitudes to Inclusive Education and Specific Disabilities,” highlights that inclusion for student’s with disabilities with low support needs was welcomed by the student teachers. When it came to students with high support needs teachers were not in favor of accommodating. This thinking seems to be similar in Haiti as well. The more support the student needs the less likely they will have any form of inclusion in the education system in Haiti. It is interesting to see that Brunei, which is a relatively wealthy country in comparison to Haiti, does not want to include those children in the schools.
I really enjoyed the main idea behind Richard Rieser’s article on “why inclusive education is the only educational philosophy and practice that makes sense in today’s world.” His argument that the world is a globalized community and each classroom has plenty of diversity, that inclusiveness is the only way to break down barriers and combat discriminatory attitudes. It is true that “inclusion” is such a buzzword in many realms of society today, especially education, but its not entirely clear to most what exactly inclusion means. The definition can change immensely depending on who is defining it. There is a giant push in many developing countries for free access to primary education, but children with disabilities are rarely mentioned. Even in cases like Haiti where they are mentioned, there is still little effort being made to provide them with an inclusive education or even access to education at all . The idea of inclusion could mean integration into mainstream schools or the restructuring of school systems to accommodate students with disabilities. I think how the student should be included should be looked at on a case by case basis. The most important thing on the schools agenda should be how the child will learn and succeed the best. If that is through integration in the mainstream classroom with an aid or the student is placed in a separate school for children with similar disabilities. I do not believe there is one universal right way for an inclusive education because each student has such different needs.
Educational Opportunities for Students with Disabilities: The Experience of
a University Student in Brunei, F.S. Haq , Asian Journal of University Education
Richard Rieser, “Disability, Human Rights, and Inclusive Education, and
Why Inclusive is the Only Educational Philosophy and Practice that Makes
Sense in Today’s World,” Gill Richards, Felicity Armstrong (eds), Teaching
and Learning in Diverse Classrooms: Key Issues for New Teachers
(Routledge, 2011), Ch. 14.