EDCG 630 BlackboardCourse Web

Inclusion: Pre K-12 Classrooms

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University of Massachusetts Boston
Graduate College of Education
Department of School Organization, Curriculum, and Instruction

EDCG 630
Inclusive Interdisciplinary Curriculum Development: PreK-12 Classrooms
Fall, 2010

Instructor: Mark R. Albright, M.Ed.             

Telephone: 508.782.7620
eMail: mark.albright@umb.edu

Office hours: Monday, 6-7 PM & by appointment.
Phone conferences are welcomed. Please make all appointments by email

Section time: 7-9:30 PM     Day: Monday
Location: W-01-0054

Catalog Descriptor:
The intent of this course is to examine the theoretical and practical issues that teachers must address as they implement effective inclusion of children with disabilities in general education classrooms.  Topics to be studied include: the legal foundations of inclusion; appropriate strategies for supporting the academic, behavioral and social aspects of inclusive teaching and strategies for productive interactions with other educators and parents.  The central premise of this course is that inclusion requires collective attention to individual needs within the general education program.  Class participants will become familiar with the roles of the general education teacher in special education; develop learning and behavior plans to address student needs, and gain practice in analyzing school activities to maximize effective participation by a range of students.  A 5 hour field experience component is included. 

Prerequisites:  None

Relationship of this Course to the Conceptual Framework:

The faculty and staff of the Graduate College of Education are committed to the goal of preparing thoughtful and responsive educators for the urban school systems of the twenty-first century.  We design our courses and field experiences to support the development of the following:

These qualities seem to us to best characterize the thoughtful and responsive educators we envision.  It is with these goals in mind that this course is offered to help you address the educational concepts, practices and concerns that are encountered in teaching in inclusionary settings. 

Every teacher works with children with disabilities.  Sometimes you will know this because the student has an IEP or 504 plan (terms you will learn).  Sometimes you will notice that a student is having considerable trouble learning and you will work with others to discover whether a disability exists.  In either case, the student is included in your classroom and you - the general education teacher - are a critical person in the student’s education. 

Through this course, you will become more comfortable with the terms and practices of inclusive education – collaborating productively with others to meet the needs of diverse learners.  Most of all, I want you to see student learning problems as puzzles that you can solve. Sometimes these will indicate a need for special education, but not always. Working together to discern and utilize those patterns is challenging and very exciting.

The absolutely best special education system begins with in a solid general education classroom.  A flexible class makes every learner more successful.  Many professional practices and adaptations designed for children with disabilities help typical children learn better as well.  Using these in your daily practice makes you a more effective teacher.

Course Objectives - Outcomes/Expectations:

1.  Each student will be able to speak knowledgeably about the ways in which the general education teacher can help each individual student meet his or her potential.

Comment: None of us (including me) will ever teach a class of homogeneous learners.  By the end of the course, I expect each of you to be knowledgeable about general education classroom practices that will help your students learn in the least restrictive environment. 

2.  Each student will be able to discuss knowledgeably the aspects of federal and state law which govern special education, especially those elements which involve the participation of general education teachers.

CommentFederal and state laws give structure to the education of children with disabilities, wherever they are educated.  The more you know and abide by these legal procedures, the more you will be able to focus on children.  By the end of the course, I expect you to be familiar with how these laws affect the work of the general education teacher.

3. Each student will be able to consider student learning and behavior in an objective, unbiased fashion, with sensitivity and attention to racial, cultural, and language differences.

Comment: It is a mistake to think that every difference signals a disability or a need for special education.  In this course, I expect you to look objectively at strengths and needs, considering the impact of a student’s unique background, language and instructional experiences.  It is critical to avoid confusing difference and disability.  It is equally critical not to overlook the possibility of a disability in the presence of a cultural or language difference.  I also expect you to examine how your own practices and beliefs impact student learning and behavior.

4.  Each student will be able to discuss strategies and skills for working productively with teams of professionals and families to support the education of a student with a disability.
Comment: It takes a team to teach a child, especially in an inclusive setting.  This team involves educators and parents.  By the end of the course, I expect you to be able to identify the unique contributions each member of the team can make.

5.  Each student will read the assigned material and be able to explain, evaluate and utilize the concepts, theories, principles and guidelines contained in the readings in a reflective and critical fashion.

Required Readings:
McLeskey, J., Rosenberg, M. S., & Westling, D. L. (2010). Inclusion: Effective practices for all students.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
ISBN-10: 0135154030

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Available at DESE website.  Print, and bookmark the website.


Comment:   The readings provide a foundation for your understanding of students with disabilities.  McLeskey, Rosenberg, and Westling address the current issues you will encounter as you teach in an inclusionary setting.  The DESE guide will give you a window into the information parents will receive about special education, regardless of setting.

These readings will serve as a useful reference when you encounter questions about students in the future.  Reading the material carefullywill broaden your understanding of ways to help all children learn.  You should read the material when assigned so you can participate in class discussions and case studies.  Reading  carefully (and more than once, if necessary) will help you do better on weekly Content Quizzes and receive a better grade in class participation.

Other reading material may be presented in the form of hand-outs or Internet addresses.  If you are interested in a particular topic, I can direct you to additional readings.

6.  Each student will work collaboratively with group members and other classmates to complete class activities and quizzes throughout the semester.

Comment: Collaboration is essential to inclusionary education.  To emphasize this element of our work, many class activities will take place in groups.  It is not possible to pass this class without working effectively in groups.

Using your data sheet information, I will form groups of 4 to 6 students. These groups will meet together during class sessions to complete activities that benefit from diverse ideas and consideration of multiple viewpoints. Group collaboration is an essential part of the Class Participation grade.

Special education teams typically have a Chairperson who coordinates the work of the other professionals and ensures that meetings run smoothly. By the fourth week of class, I will ask each group to select a Team Chairperson to fill this role, ensuring that everyone contributes and participates equitably (and making sure the same person does not write the Quiz each week). As I would in schools, I will check in with the Team Chairperson on a regular basis to be sure group tasks are going well and everyone is participating constructively and equitably. If at any time group work is not proceeding smoothly and equitably, I will rely on the Team Chairperson to let me know my assistance is needed.

Methods of Evaluation:
I will use a number of methods to evaluate your progress toward the expectations listed above.  Class participation and group work details are described below. Detailed information for the remaining two evaluation elements is contained in a separate packet distributed the first day of class.  A rubric, used by me and you to assess your work, is also included in the assignment packet. Contact me if you lose the packet and need another copy.

Class Participation                                            25%
Content Quizzes                                               25%
In-School Resources Paper                               20%
Site Visit Paper                                                30%

Class Participation  
25% of grade
Related to Objectives 1, 4, 5 and 6

Inclusionary teaching is a collective endeavor.  You will find yourself called upon to share ideas, study options, and reflect to plan courses of action.   This course provides you with opportunities to practice these skills.  Class sessions will be very interactive, using discussions, simulations and videos to tap your own experiences knowledge.  It is my own personal goal that every student will contribute at least once to each class session. 

NOTE: To ensure clear communication, please turn cellphones off during class. If, for some reason, you need to receive a call, please tell me ahead of time and set your phone to vibrate.

Grades in Class Participation will be based on a number of factors:

Quality is more important than quantity of participation. A strong grade certainly requires more than a few contributions, however, the depth and perception of comments are more important than their frequency. It is not possible to receive an A in Class Participation without being actively engaged in class discussions and group work.

At the end of the semester, I will ask you to complete a signed, confidential assessment of the contributions of each group member, including yourself. These will contribute to your Class Participation grade.

If, at any time during the course, group collaboration becomes difficult, please let me know. One part of group work is resolving differences of opinion. I will be happy to be of assistance if I am needed.

Content Quizzes 
25% of grade
Related to All Objectives

Instead of large mastery tests, this course uses short Content Quizzes based on the weekly assigned readings. Each class will begin with a short quiz about an aspect of the reading material assigned for that day. You will be able to consult your written/typed notes during the Content Quizzes, but not the text. Content Quizzes will be graded and returned the following week. A grading rubric for Content Quizzes will be distributed the second week of class.

In general, Content Quizzes will be a group effort, with one grade issued to all participating members of the group. Anyone who has not done the reading for the week should not participate in the quiz. I reserve the right to exercise Professor’s Preference and call for a few individual quizzes through the semester; these will be announced at the beginning of class. In this case, each student will complete a Content Quiz independently and receive an individual grade.

Here are a few key elements of Content Quizzes that will be of assistance to you.

**Any student missing a class session or the Content Quiz section of a class will have the option to write a one to two page, single spaced analysis/reflection of the readings for that class. This should include a summary of the readings as well as your thoughts and reactions to the content. This analysis/reflection will be graded on a pass/fail basis and is due the next class after the absence. If the analysis is graded as a “Pass,” you will receive a B for the Content Quiz you missed. If the analysis is graded as a “Fail,” you will receive a score of zero for the Content Quiz you missed. If the Reflection Paper is not submitted the week following the absence, the Content Quiz grade will be a zero for the missed week. Students are responsible for making their own choice about submitting the Reflection Paper. I will not remind you past the second week of class.

Project Assignments:

            Details for the following assignments, as well as a grading rubric are in a separate packet, distributed with this syllabus.  You will have one description each for the following:

In the Assignment Packet, you will also find a rubric which will be used to score all written assignments.  Please refer to the rubric as you complete your work so you can evaluate the completeness of your work.  If you do not have copies of guidelines for each assignment, call me or a group member immediately.

Written Material Expectations:
As you communicate with parents and professionals, your work will be reviewed and studied. As you work with children, you will be providing a model for their own production. Given this exalted status - and the availability of assistive technology - I hold the following high standards for all written work. The Written Assignment Rubric, which will be used to grade your papers, contains an element reflecting these expectations.

All written work should

Resources for APA style citations and references

Since we cover a great deal of material in an interactive fashion, attendance at each class for the entire period is essential. Punctuality is also important. If you know you will miss a class, or be late for a class session, please contact me beforehand. Since your absence will affect your group, be sure to give members as much notice as possible. Missed classes will have a significant effect on Class Participation and your final course grade.

To encourage and acknowledge attendance, I will give any student with perfect attendance a one-level increase in their total Content Quiz grade (for example, a student with atotal Content Quiz grade of B+ would have that grade increased to A-).

Weather Cancellations:
Class status information based on weather is available on the campus website (www.umb.edu) or at (617) 287-5000.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 offer guidelines for curriculum modifications and adaptations for students with documented disabilities. If applicable, students may obtain adaptation recommendations from the Ross Center (287-7430). The student must present and discuss these recommendations with each professor within a reasonable period, preferably by the end of the Drop/Add period.

Additional Information:

Processes and Learning Methods:

This class is highly interactive, just as will be your role as an educator. It is not possible to achieve a passing Class Participation grade without constructive group and class participation. Each session will be structured around the readings for the topic identified in the weekly schedule which follows. Class activities will extend the content of the readings rather than review or repeat it. Sometimes you will participate in activities which will demonstrate learning challenges. There will be frequent use of films, exemplifying specific elements of teaching and disabilities. .

I will draw upon your own backgrounds for examples in your professional or family life that can amplify topics. It is my personal goal that every class member contribute meaningfully each week. I will not be asking you to make oral presentations of your class assignments, but your observations and findings will be woven into class activities.


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