Comparing inclusive education and the use of Self-Contained Classroom Models for Children with Disabilities.

162 views 15 pages ~ 3875 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Both inclusive education and special classroom systems would assist impaired children since they would provide options for parents with disabled children.

Children with disabilities deserve a good education. They have long experienced discrimination because few institutions accept them. At the same time, they require extra attention to ensure that their specific requirements are satisfied while at school. As a result, it is critical to investigate the options open to parents of impaired children. While some parents believe that special schools are not appropriate for their children, others argue the contrary.Therefore, it is imperative to examine the options available to parents of disabled children. While some believe special schools are not okay for their children, there are those who feel the opposite. Therefore, it is imperative to examine the pros and cons of each system so that parents and policymakers can be informed.


The objective of the study is to establish the suitability of inclusive education compared to the use of special schools.

Research motivation

The research is motivated by the theme of "disability and difference." The children living with various forms of disabilities are different but not lesser that the others. They have the right to quality education and a good life after their schooling. The path to achieve these goals would be determined by the education system available to them. Consequently, it is imperative to look at the two common types of schooling offered to children with disabilities.


The study will adopt a qualitative approach that examined literatures focusing on the subject. The researcher will analyze the findings of empirical studies that sought to establish the suitability of the inclusive education system.

An intepretivism approach will be used that allows the researcher to input personal opinion on the subject. Therefore, in the process of analyzing the published literatures on the subject, the writer will also use personal ideas to argue the points for or against the two educational systems.

Annotated Bibliography

Ainscow, M. (2005). Developing inclusive education systems: what are the levers for change?. Journal of educational change, 6(2), 109-124.

The objective of the research paper is to analyze some of the barriers that stand in the way of inclusive education system and suggest changes that would make it better. It uses data collected from schools spreading over 10 years in a bid to understand the challenges facing the inclusion practice. The findings suggest that the retrogressive thinking of policymakers and school administrator remain a challenge in the implementation of a streamlined inclusive system for the disabled. Since the paper is an empirical study, it would help in understanding the issues surrounding inclusive education system from an objective point of view.

Chira. S., (2013). When Disabled Students Enter Regular Classrooms. Retrieved 25 June 2017, from

The paper is a news article that reports on the experiences of teachers, parents, and students learning is schools that have inclusive education. The report focuses on some schools in New York that have implemented the system that places severely disabled children in the same class with the other students. The paper objectively looks at the problems facing the practice of an inclusive system in the United States. The teachers and parents are concerned that children with extreme cases of mental or physical disability cannot learn in the regular schools comfortably.

De Boer, A., Pijl, S. J., & Minnaert, A. (2011). Regular primary school teachers' attitudes towards inclusive education: A review of the literature. International journal of inclusive education, 15(3), 331-353.

The research article aims to analyze the attitude of teachers working in regular schools about the issue of inclusive education. The study design reviews different literatures to understand how primary school teachers think about having disabled students in their class. The findings of the research suggest that many teachers in regular schools are not prepared to give extra effort to the disabled children in their classes. They are of the opinion that special schools should take care of the severely disabled. This paper is critical for the study because it helps in understanding the views of the teachers regarding both special and inclusive education systems.

Florian, L. (2008). Inclusion: special or inclusive education: future trends. British Journal of Special Education, 35(4), 202-208.

The author of the article examines the various issues that concerns both inclusive and special education. She asserts that teachers need support to implement inclusive education. Without proper training of the teachers, it would not be possible to replace the special schools with inclusive education. She also argues that there is need to define the word "inclusion" such that all the stakeholders understand what it entails. Currently, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the term.

Handicap International (2012). "Inclusive Education." Policy paper. Retrieved from

This is a policy paper published by a non-governmental organization that advocates for inclusive education in several countries across the globe. The paper offers statistics on the implementation of inclusive education and also discusses the implementation of the system. It looks at the progress made and the challenges facing teachers, parents, and the students in the process of introducing inclusive system of education.

Inclusive Education v. Self-Contained Classroom Models for Children with Disabilities

The debate has been raging for several decades on the need to have inclusive education for the disabled. Some educationist advocate for the use of specialized classrooms for the severely disabled, while others believe an inclusive system would serve the disabled children better. According to Florian (2008), children with extreme cases of mental or physical disability need particular attention by specialized teachers. Putting them in the same classroom with the other students without any distinctive attention to their needs would be disadvantaging their educational needs. However, this stance has been opposed by Ainscow (2005), and other proponents of inclusive education. Miles and Singal, (2010) assert that disabled children would benefit more if they attend regular classes as opposed to the special classes. Therefore, there is need to examine both sides of the argument and determine the best direction for the disabled children. Nevertheless, whichever the case, the critical issues for disabled children is the availability of teachers who understand their needs. In as such, both the inclusive education and special classroom systems would benefit the disabled children because they will offer parents with disabled children choices.

Historically, the issue of inclusive education has remained controversial since both scholars and policy makers did not agree on one direction. Osgood (2005) explains that for many years, the disabled children were secluded from the other children. Most parents did not allow their disabled children to play with the other kids or even attend school. As a result, the disabled were disadvantaged since they could not have access to primary education that would enable them to excel in life. Later on, some special schools emerged that catered for the needs of the mentally and physically incapacitated children. Osgood (2005) notes that it was a relief to many parents who did not know how to handle their disabled children. At the special schools, children were taught how to use their limited abilities to perform routine tasks such as writing, reading using brail, and use of sign language to communicate. Some schools also emerged that taught vocational skills to the disabled children.

By the 1950s, some countries in Europe and the United States started questioning the rationality of the special education (Osgood, 2005). Miles and Singal (2010) explain that discussion centered on the classroom and the possibilities of accommodating the disabled children. Educationists started asking if it was necessary to have the special classes for the disabled since they also had a right to quality education just as the other children. At the same time, stakeholders also questioned the definition of the word "disability" (Osgood, 2005). While meaning was obvious, it was important to consider categorizing the various forms of disability such as mental and physical. The level of severity was also critical in determining if the idea of inclusion would work (Florian, 2008). It was clear that the regular classroom teachers could not handle the extreme levels of physical or mental disability. They needed special training that would them handle the needs of the disabled.

The situation was extreme in developing countries where parents denied their disabled children the right to basic education. Osgood (2005) explains that in many parts of Africa and Asia, the disabled children were hidden from the public because of the stigma associated with disability. The children could not attend schooling because the parents were either ashamed or scared that the disabled children will suffer at school. Therefore, the introduction of special schools for the handicapped was a big relief to parents who had no alternative but to keep their disabled children locked at home. Miles and Singal (2010) indicate that the special schools enabled the disabled children to learn and get equipped with skills to make them self-reliant.

For many years, the self-contained classroom models for the disabled were the only hope for children living with a disability. The vocational training offered at the special schools enabled the disabled to become employed or self-employed after schooling. According to Handicap International (2012), many disabled children in the developing countries ended up on the streets because they lacked the education to secure them employment. Furthermore, the high poverty levels made it difficult for family members to support the disabled individuals at home. In the extreme some extreme cases, some parents even used their disabled children as beggars so that they can earn from well-wishers on the streets. Therefore, the creation of special classes and schools for the disabled children was an excellent way to empower the disabled in the communities.

However, some human rights activists and educationists concerned with the disabled started advocating for an inclusive system. At first, the suggestion that disabled children could study in the same class with other students was outrageous. Ainscow (2005) explains that those who were opposed to the idea saw no sense in mixing the two set of students with diverse abilities. It was evident that the disabled will face bullies at the regular school and could not catch up with the pace of learning. However, evidence from empirical studies showed that inclusive education was a viable option. Many children with mild or moderate disabilities could comfortably operate in a regular class without any special help from the teachers (Florian, 2008). Disabled children who attended the regular classes emerged and spoke positively about the experience of learning with the other students. It became apparent that inclusive education was possible across the world.

With time, the voices calling for an inclusive education became louder. Scholars, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders started advocating for an education system that would allow the disabled to learn in the same class with other children. Hodkinson (2007) asserts that the main argument for those in favor of an inclusive education is that of offering equal opportunities to children. He argues that the disabled feel appreciated and part of the society when they are in the same classroom with the other children. More so, learning in the same environment with the non-disabled prepares them for the job market where they will have to mix with other workers. Chira (2013) writes that even though the special schools offer valuable knowledge and skills to the disabled, it gives them an illusion of a secluded job market. It becomes a challenge for the disabled to join regular employment after spending many years in special schools where all the children have some form of disability.

Therefore, some few countries welcomed the idea of inclusive education while many others remained skeptical. Apparently, there is evidence from empirical studies suggesting that inclusive education is both effective and ineffective. According to a report by Handicapped International (2012), disabled children who are given the opportunity to attend the general schooling system develop high self-esteem that is critical to their performance in and out of the classroom. They love it when they can attend the same schools with their siblings and neighbors. They can share the jokes and experience of regular school and feel part of the society. Therefore, the organization believes that inclusive education has been a success in all the countries they have initiated the program. More so, the inclusive education system is a big step towards removing the stigma associated with disability (Miles & Singal, 2010). When other children have some disabled classmates, they learn to accommodate them, and this closes the gap that exists in the society. From an early age, children learn to accept and help the disabled because they have spent time in the classroom together. The self-contained classrooms only widen the divide between the disabled and the other children.

On the other hand, those opposed to the inclusive education system have evidence showing the system is ineffective. In the United States, some schools have accommodated children with extreme forms of mental and physical disabilities in the regular classes (Hodkinson, 2007). They include children with severe cases of autism, Down's syndrome, and other disabilities. Chira (2013) explains that some few children seem to be comfortable with the setup but many parents and teachers are not okay. In essence, inclusive education assumes that the disabled children will cope with the other-abled children in a class. Chira (2013) asserts that this is not the case in most schools, especially when children with mental disabilities are in class. The teacher has to slow the pace for the whole class or ignore the special needs of the few disabled children in the classroom. Several parents have complained that their disabled children are not given attention in public schools because the teachers lack training and the time to attend to the disabled. De Boer, Pijl, and Minnaert (2011) even argue that many teachers are not comfortable with a class featuring students with severe cases of disabilities. It is not easy to balance between those who are abled and the few disabled in class. For this reason, it has not been possible to wholly accept the inclusion of the disabled in all public schools in the United States.

For inclusive education to work, teachers must be ready to offer extra support to the disabled students in a class. The role of a teacher is not only to teach but also ensure all the students actively participate in the class activities and benefit. Obviously, the disabled might not be in a position to participate depending on their level of disability. Florian (2008) agrees that training teachers to handle the disabled are the only way to make the inclusive system work. It is not possible for the teachers to ignore the special needs of some students and continue with the rest of the class. If that happens, the disabled will feel isolated and disadvantaged. Their performance will be dismal, and that will minimize their chances of furthering their education or careers.

Unfortunately, not many teachers have the temperament to handle the disabled in their classroom, even with the special training. De Boer, Pijl, and Minnaert (2011) believes that taking care of children with extreme disabilities need dedication and grace. Those who choose to work in special schools are genuinely willing to help the disabled children. It is more of a calling rather than just a professional option. The teachers in special schools do their job for the love of the children and not the money they earn. In as such, it would be difficult to find teachers with such dedication in public schools. The disabled will suffer from neglect if they all join the regular schools. Even though they will enjoy being part of the regular education system, they will not get the specialized attention they need.

While it is easy to identify the social benefits of inclusive education, a critical look at the classroom activities reveals that it is a challenging task for teachers. Disabilities come in different forms, and this would be a recipe for chaos in class. Ainscow (2005) explains that it would be hectic for a teacher to teach a class with students having a variety of disabilities such as blindness, deafness, mental illness, and such. One would need brails to read; another would need a sign language interpreter, the mentally disabled would need someone to control him or her, and so on. The situation would even be distractive for the other children in a classroom. Imagine one student is typing notes with a noisy brail typewriter while the others are writing quietly with their pens.

Furthermore, it would take a long time and cost a lot to sufficiently the train all the teachers of public schools. With inclusive education, a school is expected to admit children with disabilities without any discrimination. Hodkinson (2007) points that for this to happen; the school should have trained teachers and the necessary facilities. Currently, most public schools do not have the capacity to enroll children with disabilities. It would take time and a lot of money to make all the public schools ready for the disabled. The government may not be willing to invest a lot in the inclusive education system because of the raging debate on the matter (Handicap International, 2012).

Nonetheless, inclusive education has some clear advantages that may benefit some disabled students across the world. Apart from the fact that it accords the children the right to education, it also gives them some sense of belonging (Florian, 2008). It is a feeling that many disabled children may never experience while learning in special school. As is reported by the disabled who have gone through an inclusive system, they can integrate into the society much easier since they have confidence. Thus, when they finish school, they quickly get employed because they have demonstrated their ability to live with the non-disabled without needing much assistance.

However, from the analysis, it is also apparent that not all the disabled can cope well in a regular class. The inclusive system should only be open to children with manageable disabilities. Those who can survive in a class with abled children with no extra assistance (Miles & Singal, 2010). This way, the teachers can comfortably teach a class without worrying about the disabled few in the class. Most importantly, the teachers will not need any special training to take care of the disabled in the class. Eventually, with more disabled children joining the mainstream schooling systems, the special schools would be a preserve of the severely disabled that cannot adapt to the typical school environment.

Since it may not be possible to have an entirely inclusive system, some educationists have suggested a compromise that will benefit the disabled. Osgood (2005) proposes that special classes for the handicapped should be built within the public school premises. In as such, the disabled children will have their trained teachers attending to them in class but will also have an opportunity to interact with the other children during breaks. This kind of set-up will help develop the social skills of the disabled. On the same note, Florian (2008) also suggest that disabled children should attend special classes in the first few years of their schooling and then join the regular classes after perfecting their adaptation skills. The elementary school teachers will not have the burden of training the disabled children on complex tasks such as sign language or writing with their feet.

People must understand that the self-contained classroom models for the disabled pay an integral role in developing their skills. The teachers working in the special classes have been trained to impact useful skills to disabled students that will help them for the rest of their lives (Florian, 2008). Forcing the disabled to attend regular classes at an early age would be denying them an opportunity to learn these valuable skills. Obviously, the teachers of regular classes do not have the time and skills to train the disabled individuals in their classes. Their focus is on the curriculum and not survival tactics for the handicapped. Consequently, it will be unwise to abandon the special classes for the disabled in favor of the inclusive education system. The world understands that disabled children have exceptional requirements that cannot be met while attending the mainstream classes.

Therefore, a hybrid education system that accommodates both special classrooms and an inclusive system would be the best for the disabled. Children with mild disabilities can happily attend the regular classes and cope without extra help, while those with severe disabilities can benefit under the care of trained teachers in special classes (De Boer, Pijl, and Minnaert, 2011). This will give parents the option to go for what is best for their children instead of imposing an inclusive education system that may fail to serve the unique needs. The important thing in both methods is that all disabled children are given the opportunity to pursue a quality education that will open doors for them. The education system should build their confidence and self -esteem by impacting skills that will help them be less dependent on other people's help (Miles, & Singal, 2010). This can happen in the self-contained special classes or the inclusive system.

In conclusion, it is clear that the argument surrounding the two options available for disabled children need to come to an end. It is not possible to have a purely inclusive education system because of the varied needs of the children. Some disabilities are too severe to be allowed in the regular classes. Since not all teachers are trained to handle children with disabilities, it would be unfair to oblige them to take care of them. The inclusive education system should be open to all, but there should be special classes to take care of the severely disabled. The research established that it is particularly challenging for teachers to handle children with mental disabilities in the same class with the other students. Their comprehension skills cannot be compared with the rest of the class, and this will only hurt them. In some areas, the disabled students may also be exposed to bullying in the regular schooling systems. Even the students need some sensitization to understand the essence of respecting and loving those with disabilities. Nevertheless, the study also established that the few children who have gone through an inclusive system are happy with the experience. They felt elated and honored to study with the other children from their homes and neighborhood.


Ainscow, M. (2005). Developing inclusive education systems: what are the levers for change?. Journal of educational change, 6(2), 109-124.

Chira. S., (2013). When Disabled Students Enter Regular Classrooms. Retrieved 25 June 2017, from

De Boer, A., Pijl, S. J., & Minnaert, A. (2011). Regular primary school teachers' attitudes towards inclusive education: A review of the literature. International journal of inclusive education, 15(3), 331-353.

Florian, L. (2008). Inclusion: special or inclusive education: future trends. British Journal of Special Education, 35(4), 202-208.

Handicap International (2012). "Inclusive Education." Policy paper. Retrieved from

Hodkinson, A. (2007). Inclusive education and the cultural representation of disability and Disabled people: a recipe for disaster or catalyst of change? An examination of non-disabled primary school children's attitudes to children with disabilities. Research in Education, 77(1), 56-76.

Miles, S., & Singal, N. (2010). The Education for All and inclusive education debate: conflict, contradiction or opportunity?. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(1), 1-15.

Osgood, R. L. (2005). The history of inclusion in the United States. Gallaudet University Press.

April 19, 2023


Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Education System
Verified writer

RiaSm02 is great for all things related to education. Sharing a case study that I could not understand for the life of mine, I received immediate help. Great writer and amazing service that won’t break the bank!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories