19 January, 2016
An inclusive education pertains to schools, centers of learning and educational systems that are open to all children, and that make that all children learn and participate.
For this to happen, teachers, schools and systems may need to be modified so that they can better accommodate the diversity of needs that pupils have and that they are included in all aspects of school-life. It also means determining any barriers within and around the school that hinder learning and participation, and reducing or removing these barriers. Inclusion in education is a process of enabling all children, including previously excluded groups, to learn and participate effectively within mainstream school systems. Placing excluded children within a mainstream setting does not of itself attain inclusion.
- Every child has an innate right to education on basis of equality of opportunity
- No child is excluded from, or discriminated within education on grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, disability, birth, poverty or other status
- All children can learn and benefit from education
- Schools adapt to the needs of children, rather than the opposite
- Children’s views are listened to and taken seriously
- Individual differences between children are a source of richness and diversity, and not a problem
- The diversity of needs and pace of development of children are addressed through a wide and flexible range of responses
- Understanding inclusion as a continuing process, not a one-time event
- Strengthening and sustaining the participation of children, teachers, parents and community members in the work of the school
- Restructuring the cultures, policies and practices in schools to respond to the diversity of pupils within their locality. Inclusive settings focus on identifying and then reducing the barriers to learning and participation, rather than on what is ‘special’ about the individual child or group of children, and targeting services to address the ‘problem’
- Giving an accessible curriculum, appropriate training programs for teachers, and for all students, the provision of fully accessible information, environments and support
- Recognizing and providing support for staff as well as students.
Inclusive education has many benefits for the students. Instructional time with non-disabled peers helps the learners to learn strategies taught by the teacher. Teachers bring in various ways to teach a lesson for disabled students and non-disabled students. All the students in the classroom benefit from this. The students can now learn from the lesson how to help each other. Socialization in the school permits the students to learn communication skills and interaction skills from each other. Students can build friendships from these interactions. The students can also learn about hobbies from each other. A friendship in school is vital for the development of learning. When a student has a friend, the student can relate to a member of the classroom. Students’ being able to connect to each other gives them a better learning environment.
Involving non-disabled peers with disabled peers gives the students a positive attitude towards each other. The students are the next generation to be in the workforce; the time in the classroom with the disabled and non-disabled peers will allow them to interact in the real world someday. Disabled peers can be involved in the classroom. Students can be included in homeroom, specials such as art and gym, lunch, recess, and assemblies. Disabled students involved in these classrooms will give them the time they need to participate in activities with their non-disabled peers.
Awareness should be taught to students that will be in the classroom with the disabled peers. The teacher can do a puppet show, show a movie, or have the student talk to the class. The teacher could also read a book to help the student describe his or her disability. The class can ask questions about what they learned and what they want to know. This will help when the students are together in the classroom. Positive modeling is important for the students in the classroom. Positive modeling is the teacher showing a good example towards both disabled and non-disabled students this will help the students to get along more.
One of the most valid arguments opposing inclusion is the issue surrounding the training of general education teachers in meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Inclusion may seem to be an overwhelming method, particularly to regular classroom teachers, who, in general, view their workload as already at a barely manageable limit. In order to meet the challenge of educating special needs children, regular classroom teachers need to adapt, change and develop approaches that will help meet the needs of not just individuals with disabilities, but all individuals. The problem is being able to take the time to develop these strategies without compromising the other responsibilities teachers have to run a successful learning environment. Although many teachers are willing to adapt homework, tests, and grading practices and find such adaptations helpful, many do not have the training necessary to make those adaptations.
It is general practice that children in an inclusive classroom be with their chronological age-mates. Also, to motivate a sense of belonging, emphasis is placed on the value of friendships. A relationship between a child with special needs and a peer without need is often nurtured by teachers. Another common practice is the assignment of a buddy to accompany a child with special needs at all times (for example in the cafeteria, on the playground, on the bus and so on).
A child with special needs may need transition from a regular classroom to the special needs classroom, and may be shadowed by an educational assistant throughout the day. The curriculum is usually planned by a collaborative team of teachers, parents and paraprofessionals and adapted to fit individual needs.
Teachers use a number of techniques to help build classroom communities:
- Games that build community, instead of competitive ones that divide it
- Involving children in solving problems
- Songs and books that teach community
- Openly dealing with individual differences
- Assigning classroom jobs that build community
- Teaching children to look for ways to help each other
- Utilizing physical therapy equipment such as standing frames, so kids who typically use wheelchairs can stand when the other kids are standing and more actively participate in activities.