Q&A #515

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Including "low" students in the main curriculum

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From: Tina

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 1999020613:04:43
Subject: inclusion

My experience with inclusion is with my "ESOL" team. All our students are on either an ESE or an ESOL team. Pre-inclusion, we pulled out the ESOL 1 kids for as long as they needed to be self-contained to learn how to speak and understand enough English to survive nicely in the mainstream classroom. Those who had just arrived from Puerto Rico, for example, had weeks or months of intensive English training, integrating some math, Social Studies and science while focusing mainly on speaking, reading and writing in English. Many of our students are Spanish speaking and inclusion does not seem to be working. They are not getting the intensive English training they need to keep up in my math class. I speak and teach more slowly and carefully, using examI have a combination of "low", average, and "high" students in my 7th grade math classes. I find that all of them can get the concepts - when I ask my least proficient student to explain something, he can do so. The difficulty comes when they need to do computations. If I'm not actively teaching a skill (like multiplying fractions), I'll let the kids use calculators. That seems to level the playing field considerably. In the meantime, I spend 5 or 10 minutes a week trying to pick up the basics that those few students missed along the way (like multiplication tables or long division) so they will eventually be able to do the computations as well.

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