Caputo, L. (2018, September 6). A Special Educator’s Call: All Students Need Genuine Friendships. Retrieved January 16, 2019

The classroom atmosphere a teacher cultivates can enhance students’ academic, physical, and social and emotional success. Empowering students to practice kindness and create positive relationships with one another is a worthy goal. However, in inclusive classrooms (where special education students learn alongside general education students), students need concrete opportunities to acquire genuine relationships. To teachers’ eyes, a relationship that may appear substantial during classroom time can, in fact, lack sincerity once the adult leaves the room. All students, especially those who do not share similar backgrounds or have similar needs, require the teachers’ support to ensure that they establish authentic peer connections.

Best Practices