Take this hypothetical situation:
A special educator in an inclusion co-teaching situation comes up with an idea (say, a small book of strategies for writing) to make writing more accessible for the kids with disabilities. It helps them access grade level content and work on the same genre as peers, but it simultaneously creates a bit of a class distinction because the kids without disabilities don’t get their own book. So, the special educator and general educator decide to give every student a copy of the book. As a result, all students have the same ideas made more accessible to them, and they all benefit.
It sounds wonderful, and it is. Only an administrator finds out and questions the special educator about how he is differentiating for “his” students. If all the students have that small book of writing strategies, Administrator argues, then there is no differentiation happening for the students with disabilities.
The special educator counters that all students are doing better because of the small book and that this is a cause for celebration, not consternation.
In considering one of the main roles of a special educator in an inclusion setting – to differentiate appropriately for students – I am curious to know what your take on this situation is. Who is right: the teacher who says all students are benefiting and this is a good thing or the administrator who says the students with disabilities are not receiving differentiated teaching? Please leave an answer in the comments.
I’ll post my thoughts tomorrow.