Inclusion: Language at the Center


Language is the center of learning. In fact, it’s at the center of all we do. It’s how we express our needs, and work together. It’s not a strange idea that language should be the core of classroom life.

Language is expressive: we speak and write to tell others what we want and need.

Language is receptive: we listen and read to find out things we want or need to know.

Language is thought: without language there is no thinking, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, creating.

Language brings understanding, new revelation, knowledge, and survival. Language is what makes us different from other species.

Most special needs students have language disorders of one type or another. They range from mild to severe. They can be in only one area of language, or all areas. They may be physical in nature, or perceptual. They may impact communication or they may not. But even the most severely challenged children, including those who will never be found in a general education classroom, have the ability to communicate in some way. Language is fundamental to their lives, too, in spite of their differing situations.

Language is the core of all human interaction, which makes it the perfect foundation for all educational experiences for all students. When students are allowed to read, write, speak, listen, and think on a subject in-depth over a period of time, the stronger aspects of their language skills will support the weaker areas, allowing them greater progress and achievement. When students primarily practice reading in reading, and writing in writing, and these areas are not related to each other, they are missing out on learning how to write by reading great writers, or learning how to read by constructing written works. The two subject areas HUGELY contribute to each other, and when they are estranged we are doing the students a GREAT disservice. Magnify this out across all the language arts and you’ll begin to see why integration of subject areas is so crucial to achievement. Children should read, write, speak, listen and think about science and social studies in order to allow their strongest communication channels to support their weaker ones. Teaching all subject areas through all of the language arts is good for everyone, and really helps special needs children function in general education classrooms.

Previously posted on another website.

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