There has been extensive advocate for mainstreaming students with disabilities. Mainstreaming refers to putting children with disabilities into normal classes. Such schools usually require additional support. Mainstreaming is a system that allows students with disabilities to access education alongside normal students. However, the mainstreaming subject has been extremely wide since some of the disabled students have been denied chances for the education. In most cases, these students are forced to attend special needs schools. Also, some of them are home schooled (Santrock, 2008). Following the diversity of this topic, mainstreaming has been an exhaustively critical issue with adverse advantages and disadvantages.
One of the advantages for mainstreaming is the provision of a natural, real-world environment. In most cases, disabled individuals have been exposed to adverse challenges in their school system. They are never exposed to high standards of living that would equip them with necessary skills to learn in a comfortable environment. However, mainstreaming protects these individuals from the harsh environment where they are segregated from normal schooling (Santrock, 2008). Through mainstreaming, they are able to access an environment that best suits quality education.
The other merit, which mainstreaming poses to an individual is the advancement of socialization. It is extremely clear that no man can live on earth alone. People need each other for one reason or the other. This means that enrolling into a mainstreaming program exposes an individual to a group of people through whom they are supposed to realize certain strengths following the interaction the he or she may have to these people. Through socialization with other people, the students realize that they have equal opportunities in comparison to normal students (Santrock, 2008).
In most cases, disabled students lack adequate social skills that would enable them relate with people exhaustively. Following extensive exposure to socialization students learn different skills that enable them relate with the rest of the society accordingly. Regular classrooms provide idyllic social climate (Santrock, 2008). When disabled individuals are in class with normal students they may easily learn social skills through imitation. This may be enhanced through observing and developing interest on various subjects where socialization becomes a critical element in the society.
The other merit that goes along with mainstreaming is the enhancement of diversity for all students. Diversity is usually enhanced among people in a natural manner. Whether, normal or disabled an individual will always encounter different individuals in their lives. In a social institution like a school, there will always be people from different cultures inclined to different beliefs. In a school, it is extremely easy to notice these differences and adjust to equality. With extensive interaction among students, all parties involved will be prepared to handle any kind of person that they are likely to come across in their livelihood. This interaction also enhances the capability to uphold human diversity (Santrock, 2008). Although, these skills may be learnt at a tender age they may be extremely useful among neighbors and co-workers.
The third merit that mainstreaming may bring forth is an inspiration for intellectual abilities among disabled students. Schooling together with normal students may inspire them to understand that they equally have the capability of achieving adverse success in their academic life. In most cases, challenges work to strengthen one’s ability. Therefore, with adverse challenges in their learning process, individuals will have an opportunity to develop critical skills that will enable them undertake any activity that will occur in their lives (Santrock, 2008).
However, mainstreaming comes with several demerits among different people in the learning environment. In most cases, lives for disabled students are a bit expensive. Some of them require exclusive facilities that may be costly. Since it would not be wise to segregate them from other students in school, all students will be required to fund some of these facilities. This means that all students will bear the same burden in the facilitation for the resources. This means that some students will bear a burden that will not have extensive impact to their stay in the school (Santrock, 2008). They will be required to fund facilities that they may not require. This is one of the factors that influence how people perceive mainstreaming.
It is also argued that mainstreaming adversely affects average students. The main effect hits average students since teachers concentrate more with disabled students who require exclusive instructions. This exposes majority of the students to being neglected in favor of some students. These students are likely to spend a lot of time on their own as they cannot access adequate services from their teachers. This may have extensive negative influence on the relationship between students. There may exist a gap between physically fit students and the disabled students as normal students will feel that their peers are taking advantage of their conditions (Santrock, 2008). The gap will worsen the situation as the students may engage in competitive strategies for teachers’ attention leading to quarrels that may ruin the overall performance for the school.
Although, this educational system has some challenges, it would be worth fitting in the society as it would attract extensive benefits to the disabled individuals who may not have any other chance for quality education. However, it needs to be managed in the best manner possible to ensure the system does not harm other students.
Santrock, J. W. (2008). Educational psychology (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill.