Summer is fading, and kids are now hopping on the bus to go back to school. And with every new school year comes a unique and exciting set of challenges.
“Every class is different. You never know what to expect,” said Timothy Kershaw, a second-grade teacher at Spring Mill Elementary School in Indianapolis. “It’s always a matter of tossing ideas around until something sticks. If it doesn’t, you just go back to the drawing board.”
Since he started teaching in 2003, Kershaw has been “fine-tuning” his approach to serving students with disabilities and special needs. He’s one of many general education teachers across the country teaching an inclusive classroom with a cluster of special education students.
Push-In and Pull-Out Support Models
Spring Mill Elementary School employs two popular models for inclusive education — the push-in and pull-out models.
The push-in model brings a special education teacher into a general education classroom to help students with disabilities and special needs. This teacher collaborates with the main instructor, forming small groups of students according to their ability levels.
While one group is engaged in a lesson on the general education curriculum, the other group may be involved in a separate learning activity with the special education teacher who aligns with their needs. This adds a personal touch to the teaching without disrupting the flow of overall class instruction time.
However, some students may need help outside of the general education classroom, and this is when the pull-out model comes into play.
This helps students receive more specialized assistance that the general education classroom can’t provide, such as speech or physical therapy. Plus, more individualized, intensive instruction with a special education teacher can help students transition more smoothly into the general education classroom.
A combination of both models can be incorporated into a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan.