Inclusion in the Classroom: Pros & Cons

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  • 0:03 Inclusion Defined
  • 0:46 Pros of Inclusion in…
  • 1:29 Cons of Inclusion in…
  • 2:11 Example
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Allison Camps

Allison has taught in elementary school inclusion classrooms and has her master's degree in Special Education.

This lesson gives a description of an inclusive classroom and provides you with pros and cons of using inclusion in the classroom. You'll also take a look at how inclusion in the classroom can look in practice.

Inclusion Defined

You have just walked into your first day of pre-service before the school year begins. Attached to your fifth grade class list is a pile of Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs). The IEPs show that in your class, you will have two students with emotional disabilities, one student with a specific learning disability and one student that is hearing impaired.

This is an example of an inclusive classroom, a class where students with disabilities and without disabilities learn together.

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) does not require inclusion for all students. IDEA allows individual school districts to decide the most appropriate learning environment for individual students.

Pros of Inclusion in the Classroom

There are pros for both students with and without disabilities when it comes to inclusion in the classroom. Let's look at a few of these now:

Benefits to Students with Disabilities

  • Friendships
  • Peer role models for academic and social skills
  • Greater access to the general curriculum
  • Higher expectations
  • Increased community feel for the parents

Benefits for Students without Disabilities

  • Increased appreciation for individuals' differences
  • Respect for all people
  • Opportunities to teach skills already mastered
  • Opportunities for various educational resources
  • More teachers in the classroom to provide assistance

Cons of Inclusion in the Classroom

With every type of classroom dynamic, there are always challenges. The following will discuss common difficulties for both students with disabilities and students without disabilities.

Challenges for Students with Disabilities

  • Less one-on-one attention
  • Students can have trouble adapting
  • Environment allows for more distractions
  • Child may feel singled out
  • Often paired with one-on-one aids that have little training

Challenges for Students without Disabilities

  • More opportunity to get distracted
  • More likely to act out because other students are not getting disciplined
  • More likely to not receive the attention they deserve


To really put this into action, let's look at the profile of a third grade student that is currently in an inclusive classroom. Mason is a third grade student. Mason has an IEP for an emotional disability. Take a look at some of the pros and cons. Do you think an inclusive classroom is the best placement for Mason?

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