Easing Anxiety through Increasing Knowledge: Supporting Educators in Inclusive Settings
General educators are often anxious or fearful when learning that a student with a disability is to be included in their classroom. These anxieties are due perhaps to the teacher’s perception of not being trained or of being ill-prepared to support students with disabilities. Through increasing the knowledge base of preservice and/or inservice teachers, and with exposure to the field of disabilities, these fears or anxieties may be lessened. It has been said that we fear the unknown, and this certainly applies to those who have not had an opportunity to work with (or know) an individual with a disability and their family. Through structured and planned activities, preservice and inservice teachers gain a more positive attitude toward the possibility of teaching ALL children in an inclusive classroom. The realization that individuals with disabilities are more similar to everyone than dis-similar assists in the process. Person First Language, Families as Faculty and Modifications/Accommodations for the general classroom are basic components of this process.
Keywords: General Educators, Inclusive Classrooms, Disabilities
Dr. Robin A. Wells
Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Eastern New Mexico University