Monday, November 25, 2013

Discussion on Pull-out vs. Push-in Instruction Preferences

Inclusion of all students in general education classes is a big push in many schools, but is this really best for all students? Each child is unique in his or her needs.

As a teacher, I deal with administration and district leaders saying that students need to be in the general education classroom. I work with parents that know the individual needs of their own child(ren), and they usually have a preference. I have my own thoughts, but they are unique for each student. There are some students that definitely benefit from inclusion services, but others need more individual instruction.

I decided to ask our readers on our Facebook page what they preferred for the children in their lives. I found the answers to be very interesting and insightful to read, and I wanted to share them here.

Please note that these are individual's preferences and not a prescription for what should be used for all children.  The case conference committee should make the decision for the individual child, but the parents need to be advocates at these conferences for their child's needs.

As a teacher, I have found some parents that want the special education teacher to work with their child in the general education classroom and others that would prefer their child be pulled out when worked with. Obviously, needs will affect this, but overall what do you prefer for your child?

Zoe wrote: Pulled out. I think our kids cop enough stares from kids and adults alike so why exposé them to more ignorant behaviour. And I think less distraction leads to better results

Amy said: My daughter does half and half which is great! Beginning of school last year it was a disaster as she was in a "mainstream" classroom. Once we changed schools she started in sensory room worked to "mainstream" it was wonderful!! We started this year with the same plan we ended last year with!!!

Ann replied: I think it depends on several factors, including distractibility. For our kids, I'd rather they were in the Gen Ed room as much as possible with help (as needed) to get an appropriately-leveled assignment done in the time given.

 Heather answered: My son started kindergarten 2 weeks ago. He is in a general classroom with a special ed teacher co teaching. They also have an aide in this classroom, and all the rooms now have a sensory corner in them. he is doing great so far!

Ashley said: As a teacher who does all inclusion for K-2. I prefer inclusion so I can support the general instruction with modifications and specialized instruction when needed. I do not think inclusion is the best model when severe behaviors are present and where children could be getting hurt. Very sensory seeking children all may need time outside of the classroom to help regulate the sensory need.

Kim commented: Whatever works for the child. In the situation. My son wouldn't leave the class room, so they worked in the class room.

Kristin replied: As an SLP, I like to do both. I want to see that what we are working on in a pull-out session(s) carry over into the classroom and if it doesn't I am there to help facilitate that generalization.

Lyne wrote: As a teacher, I find that for new learning I prefer to work 1:1 and withdraw them, as there are fewer distractions and you can focus solely on what you want the student to learn. For consolidating learning and generalisation I like the students to be in the classroom. I work for 2.5 hours a week with a student; the teacher aide is with him in the classroom the entire rest of the time. I don't feel they miss out on major classroom participation during the time I have them.

Tammy answered: I think a mixture of both would be nice as long as the classroom setting isn't affecting the other students.

Maria said: I like a model that has for example small classroom for those needing extra help half the week, then integrated in mainstream class the rest of the week with support, as needed by each child.

Alicia wrote: I think it's less disruptive for the others to pull her out. Also less distracting for her. She needs low stimulation.

Rachel commented: My son is pulled for SLP, OT, reading and math, but has in class for writing.

Geraldyne replied: As a substitute teacher who is also a parent with a child that needs to be pulled out for small group time in math and reading, I'm lucky to be around and maintain communication at all times with her teachers in both settings over the years. I also have some input in what her goals are in her IEP's and all of us are happy with the goals set. If there were times when there may need to be changes, we try to meet up while I'm in the school or stay in touch by e mail. I like the set up of them working with my child in both settings and is assured that my child would not be lost in the crowd when the general ed classroom setting is larger than normal.

Patty said: We have a mix - the special ed teacher works with her in 'his' room, but she also gets plenty of time with typicals. so far so good this year!

Amy commented: I'm not sure I think there's a right/wrong to this. And it doesn't just depend on the child's needs. For example, right now our son gets a push-in from the SpEd teacher twice a week for 30 mins, but I just asked that be reduced. Why? Because the aide can do the same thing the SpEd teacher is doing. When our son is pulled out, the SpEd teacher spends 30 mins with him doing things only she is skilled enough to do -- seriously, when I observed in her class she was simultaneously working on 3 of his IEP goals!

Lisa wrote: The progressive special education model is supposed to be that services always be brought to the student versus being pulled out, but I do not see that happening much in our area. Mostly due to budget and scheduling constraints from what I can tell. It always depends on the individual kid however. What is good for one might not be for the next. For my kid, I would prefer services/instruction start in classroom until proven that is not an effective learning environment for the kid (and not just because the Teacher doesn't want it) and then pull out would make sense.


I agree with Amy that there is not a right/wrong to this question.  It is completely a preference question and what is good for an individual child.  As a special education teacher, I teach a mixture of both co-teaching inclusion and pull-out services.  It all depends on my students' needs.

If you didn't get a chance to answer on our Facebook page to be included above, we would love to hear what works best for your children or your preference as a teacher or therapist.  Please comment below.

If you have your own question to ask, please head over to our Facebook page where you can easily enter your question for discussion by using the Questions tab.

 Heather S. doesn't care if she is teaching in the general education classroom or in a pull-out setting, as long as it is good for the child and she has her Pepsi and iPad with her.

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