General and Special Educators

In the inclusive classroom, special and general educators complement each other. Before inclusive education was part of the educational landscape, special and general educators had different roles. Here are a few ways that the roles of special and general educators have evolved.

Before: The special education teacher was only responsible for the education of students with disabilities.

Now: Both special and general education teachers have a responsibility for the education of all students including those with disabilities.

Before: Some special education services were provided with a “pull-out” model, where students were taken to a separate place to learn skills and were provided by a special education teacher.

Now: Since the “pull-out” model can interfere with a student’s sense of belonging in the classroom, special education can be provided in the context where it naturally occurs with a special educator in the general education environment.

Before: Special education teachers were the ones solely responsible for managing IEP goals and objectives.

Now: Because the special and general education teacher are collaborating on the students in their class, every educator included related services providers are accountable to keep tabs on IEP goals and objectives.

Before: Before the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) gave children with disabilities specific legal rights to an education, special education teachers taught in special schools.

Now: While there are still special schools for students with disabilities, the majority of special education teachers work in schools where students with and without disabilities are integrated.

Before: Both special and general education teachers mostly worked by themselves in their classroom.

Now: The emphasis of collaborative teams has increased in school districts all around the United States and the world. It is now best practices to be part of a team when making educational decisions for all learners.

Do you have any more examples of how the roles of special and general education teachers have evolved? Tell us about them in the comments section below!