Hi Kathy and all you other frustrated art teachers out there,
I understand and share your frustration with mainstreaming special ed into the art curriculum. I have learned over the years that the art room has become the dumping ground for these kids in order to satisfy the inclusion laws. We have 33 students in each Art 1 class at our high school and with all the different levels (9th-12th grade) in the classes that in itself is a tremendous challange. Add Special Ed and Bic kids to the pot and it is almost impossible to teach. I find that you must stay your ground with the administration, call ARD's and insisit on an aide to help the kids.
For years I have asked to teach a special art class with regular ed kids there to assist the special needs kids (this would satisfy the inclusion law) and of course it never happens. With class loads as large as ours it is impossible for me to give the needed time and assistance that our special population needs and I find it unfair to the regular ed population. So what can we do?...........
Barb in Texas
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, October 20, 2001 8:41 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: mainstreaming- new thread
My Art 1 is loaded with special needs students (at least 20% of my class). Unfortunately for them, my curriculum is set up as college prep coursework which means concepts are progressive and there are specific objectives within my coursework that must be met before a student moves on to Art 2. I find myself falling behind schedule to allow extra time for these students to understand the idea and complete the work. While I work with these students, my main students are idle and bored. Some even get antsy and end up getting into trouble because of my immersion with the special ed students. I have various vocabulary worksheets and Art puzzles but unfortunately, they're pretty much puzzled and worksheeted out. So, I try and move them along as quickly as I can and modify my grading for them. Do they get to do "fun" things-NO no! t in their eyes because I am focusing on preparing the kids for college and these kids more than likely will never go there- at least for art. But they have no where else to put them so the counselors schedule them in art. I do what I can but speak to the councilors and tell them-even though I may give them a B- they should NOT take Art 2 because the environment is much different (competitive) and the requirements will not be modified for them. The teacher before me would not even allow special ed students entry into his program- he hand picked his students and would only choose those who had a certain level of skill. I suggested a seminar for those students will special needs where they could do more hands on projects at a slower pace but my schedule is pretty much filled and they are not going to hire another teacher. So mainstreamed they stay. I have never thought it was a good idea to blend these student together in a high school class! (I have had lots and lots of training in college for teaching special ed students and know all the research-thank you). I think they should have their own curriculum at the high school level and be taught separately from the others in an environment that is not as critical and competitive -kind of like their general ed studies.
Kathy in Kalamazoo