School integration

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In pedagogy, school integration refers to the inclusion of people who have been certified as having a disability in the lessons of students who are not considered to be “disabled”.

Historical development in Germany

Before the 18th century, there were seldom classes for children who were considered “disabled”. It was carried out almost exclusively by private tutors who paid extra for their work. They kept their methods z. T. secret. At around the same time, towards the end of the 18th century, several people began to seek and test methods for teaching deaf children. Behind it were social or religious motives. The methods were successful and published to help more children. A little later, methods were also sought for blind children to protect them from neglect and abuse. The aim was that they could make themselves useful and participate in social life. Little by little, home schools (rescue houses) for the neglected as well as a kind of hospital schools for children with motor impairments were created (so-called orthopedic institutes).

The generalization movement began as early as the beginning of the 19th century . The skills of Deaf teachers should be made available to all teachers. The intention was to save the high costs of homeschooling the students, to enable more students to attend classes and, last but not least, the children should be able to live and be integrated in their home town. This movement is an early forerunner of today's integration movement. Schools for mentally handicapped children and schools for physically handicapped children were established in the mid-19th century. Around 1880, the auxiliary schools were founded from previous tutoring classes . They were intended for pupils who could not keep up at the elementary school, but were not challenged in schools for mentally handicapped children. Organization and content corresponded to the elementary school. The classes were smaller, content was reduced and the pace slowed down. At the turn of the century (19th / 20th century), the special problems of hearing-impaired and visually impaired students were recognized and taken into account in their own school forms. Various aids have also been developed for children with behavioral problems.

The time of National Socialism followed with the attempt to reverse the previous successes. From 1934 many (former) auxiliary students were sterilized , and euthanasia began in 1939 . During this time, the dignity of the individual was not respected, but an ideology was implemented in which the individual did not count. This period of history was not examined and processed for decades afterwards.

Only after the establishment of Lebenshilfe (self-help organization of parents of mentally handicapped children) in 1958 was mentally or physically handicapped children / adolescents able to attend school again through the establishment of new schools. However, it was not until the beginning of the 1970s that schooling was compulsory for them, ie many could not, were not allowed or had not to go to school.

Since the beginning of the special education system, the aim has been to integrate disabled people into society. They should have the same rights and be able to support themselves as much as possible. The division into different subject areas was originally made in order to be able to help individuals in a more targeted manner and to test special teaching methods for their effectiveness. But such institutions always harbor the danger of stigmatizing people and classifying them into a category. Today it is assumed that all children (or people) are different and not all can learn the same thing at the same time and at the same pace. In addition to weaknesses, partial performance strengths are also considered.

Above all through the initiative of parents of disabled children, various model experiments were carried out for the joint teaching of disabled and non-disabled children. These model tests were positive. Therefore, since 1973, joint instruction has been recommended or required in various international guidelines, which has been incorporated into the school laws of the federal states. Instead of specialized teaching requirements will be of special educational needs , special education needs or special educational needs spoken.

In Rhineland-Palatinate , children with special educational needs today (as of 2005) as an alternative to special education a priority school or in individual integration attend primary school. In the state of Berlin , the integration of these children into regular school, which has been anchored in the School Act as an option since 1989, is expressly given priority in the 2005 School Act.

Requirements for integration

In any case, the prerequisite is that the so-called special educational need exists, i.e. that suitable (usually standardized) diagnostic procedures determine how and how far the child is developed. As a result, educational measures are identified that appear helpful in promoting the child. A distinction is made according to the learning inhibitions identified at the time of the preparation of the report, whereby multifactorial disabilities ( multiple disabilities ) are often present. "Special schools" or "special needs schools" have been set up for the following school groups:

Multiple disabilities are a special form ; It is not uncommon for children with cognitive disabilities to be physically disabled or impaired in their sensory perception at the same time. It should also be noted that certain disabilities result in further, e.g. B. Hearing impairment almost regularly leads to speech impairment . When integrating pupils with disabilities into mainstream schools , a distinction is made between two forms, which result from the different teaching approaches, namely instruction with the same objective and instruction with a different objective.

Matching integration

When integrating with the same goals, all students are taught according to the same framework guidelines. So z. B. pupils with hearing and visual impairments, speech impairments, handicaps in the emotional-social area or also a physical handicap are taught in a targeted manner (with the non- handicapped pupils). This assumes that the school has the opportunity to ensure the so-called " disadvantage compensation ". Specifically: special visual aids (lighting conditions, etc.) for visually impaired children, technical hearing aids (e.g. induction loops for wireless hearing aids ) for children with hearing impairments. In the mainstream schools, pupils with disabilities can receive assistance from a special school teacher through the “ mobile service ” if the relevant state budget provides for corresponding positions or positions. Students who are to be integrated with the same goal are not entitled to an integration class. The decisive factor for whether the pupils should be “integrated” or at least go to a special special school should, according to pedagogical ideas, be the wishes of the parents after they have received extensive advice.

Targeted integration

In the case of goal-different integration, students are taught according to various framework guidelines. Lessons take place at mainstream schools in integration classes. They must be applied for and approved before they can be set up. In an integration class at a primary school, ideally a primary school teacher and a special education teacher work together when there are fewer students .

Framework conditions for school integration

The basic prerequisite for successful integration into school is a positive attitude, basic learning and working knowledge and the willingness to integrate. Participating teachers, but also classmates and their parents, must learn to develop understanding and tolerance when dealing with disabled and non-disabled children. Intensive and cooperative parent-kindergarten support centers and teacher work can facilitate this process and make it possible. However, this alone is not enough, because other important framework conditions in the school region, the school and in the classes must be given. These conditions must be tailored to the disabled child to be admitted and his or her individual needs as well as the intended form of organization (e.g. integration class or individual integration). From an organizational point of view, it should be noted that the class that accepts disabled children is smaller than a class without obviously disabled children. If 4–5 disabled children are to be integrated, the number of pupils should be between 20 and 22 children. If only one handicapped child is admitted to the regular school close to home (individual integration), the following rule applies: instead of two non-handicapped children, one handicapped child is admitted. An exception to this is preventive integration , where the same number of hearing and hearing impaired children (6: 6) are taught together.

The school should also meet the needs of disabled children. Depending on the type of disability of the respective child, the necessary structural and spatial conditions must be created, for example by building an elevator or a ramp for a child sitting in a wheelchair. The classroom and school grounds should encourage the children to learn (e.g. “corners” for reading, arithmetic, research and experimentation, a work area). Disability-specific aids, e.g. B. a special computer for a visually impaired child, or other play, learning, support and therapy materials in the school.

If it is a question of goal-different integration, which is the rule, the range of abilities of the students increases, which are different in every class anyway. Since not all students are working on the same learning goals, the demands on the teacher and the school, which is often understaffed in terms of staff, pedagogy and parents, are increasing. Therefore, additional staff and thus the cooperation of different disciplines is necessary. A second teacher (usually a special school teacher or a pedagogical specialist) supports the mainstream teacher in teaching the class (so-called team teaching or cooperative teaching). Depending on the nature and extent of the special needs of the disabled child, the class is allocated a certain number of additional staff hours. In the most favorable case, a second adult is always present for severely disabled children or children with significant behavioral problems.

The integrative teaching must take into account the diversity of the children, their individual interests, abilities and their respective learning pace (individualization and differentiation of the teaching). If the disabled child has different learning goals than the majority of the class, it is important to find a balance between individual learning opportunities and common learning situations. This gives the children the opportunity to learn from each other, including the non-disabled children from the disabled child. A performance assessment that focuses on the learning development of the individual children is also essential. Instead of numerical certificates based on the class average, verbal development reports are available.

Integration pedagogical knowledge and didactic skills can be acquired in advanced and advanced training courses. Would be desirable z. B. the expansion of all-day care so that there is more time to deepen the subject matter and maintain social contacts. In order to involve the disabled child more closely in their place of residence, the school should work with local associations, youth centers, etc. as part of their afternoon activities. Special support offers for the child, e.g. B. speech therapy, are offered. It would also be advantageous for the teachers involved to exchange their experiences with colleagues who also work in integration groups. Regional advice and coordination offices for integration can also be set up. Many applications for a certain integration measure fail because of the general conditions that cannot be established.

Integration of mentally and severely multiply disabled children and young people

The views as to whether children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities or severe multiple disabilities are educable have changed significantly over time: In the past, these children were labeled as unable to attend school and were therefore admitted to special schools or hospitals. Today, however, some of these children are already being integrated into mainstream schools.

When integrating mentally and severely multiply disabled children and young people, the general framework conditions for the integration of disabled children in regular schools must be observed. Only what applies specifically to this group of people should be added here. In order to be able to determine and appreciate even very small learning progress, these students should be observed in a particularly differentiated manner. On this basis, an individual curriculum can be developed for each severely disabled child. This also means that children and young people with mental and severe multiple disabilities have their own learning goals, because their progress cannot be measured against that of others (just as every child should only be measured against their own progress, as in golf); only in this way can they have a sense of achievement and do not have to constantly strive for the unattainable. Only when the children and young people can measure themselves against their individual learning opportunities and progress can they become self-confident.

Overall, an action-oriented approach that takes into account the different types of learners would be beneficial in the classroom, as this promotes and demands independence, which is a high learning goal in the often largely unrelated lives of mentally or severely multiply disabled children and young people. In such an integrative lesson with severely disabled children, it is also important that there are at least two teachers in the class, as there are many additional tasks for the teachers. For these students in particular, it is essential to practice practical life skills (e.g. personal hygiene, eating) during the day. For reasons of time, all-day care would be an option. Especially for children with severe multiple disabilities, a so-called retreat and relaxation room should be available, in which they can withdraw or receive care if they are overwhelmed or unwell. Space should also be created to be able to perform therapeutic exercises such as occupational therapy and physiotherapy with the child. And other children can develop differentiated social skills when dealing with severely disabled children, for example understanding the other person or communicating and entering into dialogue with them on a non-linguistic level. The difficulties encountered in attempting integration can also lead to selective integration, in which only children are integrated who match the resources of the school in question.

Integration practice

Before the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations came into force in Germany in 2009, integration was mainly limited to primary school. Up until 2009, there were by far the greatest number of children with disabilities in regular classes. The secondary schools, especially the private schools, in Germany, unlike the elementary school and unlike the schools in the vast majority of countries around the world, were an expression of selection and owed their existence precisely to disintegration. They were under such selective pressure that they could not and did not want to afford a comprehensive integration, which is characterized by central pedagogical ideas. However, under the pressure of the UN Convention, all mainstream schools are forced to accept children with disabilities and to include them . In contrast to integration, inclusion is ideally about not turning the specialty of children into a problem. When integrating, however, those children who are diagnosed as having special educational needs receive support to which other children are officially not entitled because of their “special situation”.

In some federal states, special schools of a certain type will be closed in the 2010s (e.g. the special school with a focus on learning in Lower Saxony) so that pupils with poor learning skills can no longer be completely excluded from teaching together, which inevitably leads to an integration of Introduces pupils who would previously have been classified as "learning disabled" and excluded into the mainstream school system. This also eliminates the need to define what a "learning disability" is.

At first glance, it is astonishing that the Integrated Comprehensive School did not face the integration of children with disabilities to the same extent as the primary school until 2009. It did this much more than grammar schools and junior high schools tried, but it too is under selection and competitive pressure (although until 2009 not in the form that students who were accepted were excluded). The integration of children with disabilities into secondary education is still only at the beginning of its development. All the more, there can be no talk of a realization of the ideal of inclusion at the end of the 2010s.

Integrated Education

In English usage, Integrated Education is used for the joint teaching of Roman Catholic and Protestant students in Northern Ireland .

See also: Preventive integration , SIVUS method


  • Gottfried Biewer : From the integration model for the disabled to school for all children. Luchterhand, Neuwied 2001, ISBN 3-472-04848-4 .
  • Herbert L. Breiner: Preventive Integration . PIH, Frankenthal / Pfalz 1989, ISBN 3-924935-11-4 .
  • Alexander Hüther: School experiment on preventive integration. Final report . PIH, Frankenthal / Pfalz 1997, ISBN 3-924935-24-6 .
  • G. Antor, U. Bleidick (Hrsg.): Handlexikon der handicap pedagogy. Key terms from theory and practice. Stuttgart, Berlin, Cologne.
  • G. Cloerkes: Sociology of the disabled. An introduction. Heidelberg.
  • G. Feuser, H. Meyer: Integration in the primary school . Fulda.
  • A. Fröhlich, N. Heinen, W. Lamers: School development - design (t) dreams in working with severely disabled pupils. Düsseldorf 2003.
  • Peter Lienhard, Klaus Joller, Belinda Mettauer: Recipe book school integration. On the way to an inclusive school. Bern 2011.
  • Frank J. Müller (ed.): Looking back ahead - pioneers of inclusion Volume 1: Alfred Sander, Hans Eberwein, Helmut Reiser, Jutta Schöler, Rainer Maikowski, Reimer Kornmann, Ulf Preuss-Lausitz, Ulrike Schildmann and Wolfgang Jantzen, ISBN 3837927725
  • Alfred Sander: About integration for inclusion. Developments in the school integration of children and young people with special educational needs on an ecosystem basis using the example of the Saarland.
  • I. Schnell, A. Sander (Ed.): Inclusive pedagogy. Publishing house Julius Klinkhardt, Bad Heilbrunn.
  • Jutta Schöler: Integrative school - integrative teaching. Neuwied, Berlin 1999.
  • Andreas Möckel: History of curative education. Stuttgart 1988.
  • Jürgen Münch: How special education was put back on its general pedagogical feet. In: Beatrix Lumer (Ed.): Integration of disabled children. Experiences, reflections, suggestions. Cornelsen, Berlin, pp. 8-23.
  • Simone Seitz: Time for inclusive material lessons. Baltmannsweiler 2005.

Web links

  • - Information and important addresses on the subject of integrating visually impaired / blind children and young people
  • - Information, literature, teaching ideas and materials for the school integration of children with visual impairment
  • When everyone learns together Integrative teaching with disabled children in primary school, SWR2 Leben (2010)

Individual evidence

  1. Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU): Coalition agreement between the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) Landesverband Niedersachsen and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Lower Saxony for the 18th electoral period of the Lower Saxony State Parliament 2017 to 2022 . 2017, lines 525-529