Around the world, every day, there are children who cannot attend class with their friends. There is a myriad of reasons why, for example poverty or their race, gender, disability or language. Inclusive education is where all students, no matter their race, gender, or background can come together and learn.
It is widely believed that a healthy society is responsible for its children, to give them the opportunity to learn. By doing so, society will ultimately be benefited as a whole.
Understanding and practicing inclusive education lies in the heart of Level 3 Award in Education and Training (AET). Due to the importance and relevance of inclusive learning, L3 AET has dedicated a whole unit to focus on it.
What is inclusive education?
So, what is inclusive education? This is where students of diverse backgrounds are given the same opportunity to learn and become part of the school body, no matter their situation beyond the school gates. Inclusive education values diversity and the uniqueness of every student.
In a true inclusive education, everyone feels safe and is encouraged to build a sense of belonging. Students and their parents participate in setting learning goals and take part in decisions that affect them.
In order to encourage inclusive learning, schools must actively pursue a policy of inclusive education. This means there is support and flexibility as well as the resources to respond to the unique needs of each student.
Inclusive education is intended to provide a comprehensive education, as well as provide a starting point from which discrimination of all types are challenged in the education system and beyond. It is intended to allow respect and understanding to grow as students from multiple varieties of backgrounds grow together.
The classroom is the place where students spend a good deal of their young lives, this means the classroom needs to be a place where the concept of an inclusive education really does need to be focused. The classroom needs to be a safe place to allow students to explore and grow together, with no one left out. By doing so, they will take these lessons out beyond the gates, and affect society positively for years to come.
Challenges with inclusive education
To start an inclusive education system, teachers must first understand the demographic of the school. Understanding that will help teachers to identify what needs to be changed.
Questions need to be asked, such as “Does the school have any students with disabilities and learning difficulties?”, “Do we have processes to protect and help these students?” and “Do we have specialists who understand and champion the removal of barriers to learning?”. These questions help in dealing with the challenges any school faces.
Once a school understands the challenges they face, there needs to be a leadership team to drive reforms forwards. The team needs to meet on a regular basis to discuss the progress of any reform, and whether the reform is working.
It is important for inclusiveness that reform is not treated as a single event, but a continual cycle of analysis, action, and review. The leadership team not only needs to keep all reforms under review, but needs to ensure that all stakeholders are involved, ranging from teachers, and other staff, to parents and, of course, students.
Practicing inclusive education
It is very important as part of the continual reform cycle that teachers are placed at its heart. After all, they are the ones being called upon to deliver the reform. This means the teachers own development.
Earning a Level 3 Award in Education and Training will enable you to master inclusive education in your classroom.