“I go to work every day with a mild case of cognitive dissonance,” muses Tim Villegas.
Why the dissonance? For the past ten years, Villegas has enjoyed working with students who have significant disabilities. He describes himself as inclusion-minded, a promoter of educating students with differing abilities and different levels in regular education settings.
Yet Villegas recognizes that as he’s also a self-contained teacher, his classroom isn’t yet where it needs to be. He struggles daily with his environment and the separation that occurs with self-contained classrooms. While he freely admits he doesn’t know quite where to start, he wants his students to experience the school and its curriculum in an authentic, supportive way.
Here are three things Villegas does to work toward his ideal classroom:
- Create inclusive opportunities. Villegas believes it’s his responsibility to provide his students with the general curriculum even in a self-contained classroom.
- Build an accepting classroom environment. Lines of segregation beyond bullying and prejudice still exist in many schools, but acceptance starts when teachers look for ways to foster inclusion.
- Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Villegas pairs with a general education classroom to teach lessons in his classroom, which allows for more flexibility and inclusive instruction.
Read more about what Villegas is doing to further the cause of an inclusive education
, and check out some positive behavior resources here