Let’s first describe what ‘learning’ is. Through education and experience, the skills and knowledge we acquire is Learning. Learning is an essential element in one’s growth. Although our intelligence as well as our learning abilities is intangible, they are our greatest assets since anything one does to reinvent and update their understanding, it enables one to grow from where he/she is today to where he/she wants to go. Learning must not be confused with education as it is just a portion of learning. Learning starts from our birth till the day we die, so we learn in both conscious and unconscious states. It is very essential for the development of human population as when a person grows the whole society grows as a result.
Inclusive Practice Meaning
Inclusive practice is an approach towards giving learning and educational chances, the ones which are unbiased and free from obstacles, considering the needs of every individual, people of different genders, cultures, race and disabled people. All students’ educational requirements are fulfilled effectively through best practices engaged by the teachers. But today many teachers have to deal with such obstacles in amplifying students’ achievements. These difficulties range from students’ perceptions to environmental issues that result in limited or no success. Let’s look at some factors in detail.
These issues can be categorized into personal, social and cultural factors that have an impact on learning. Among the personal factors first come the students’ perceptions itself. It’s based on student’s behavior and attitudes, how seriously they take their studies and how much they love learning. Also it’s based on what a student expects from himself. If he thinks he can do well and excel, he will surely perform well but if he thinks in the opposite way, he won’t do well, get disturbed and ultimately surrender as per failure syndrome (Brophy; 1998). They should be self confident and believe that they carry in them the ability to achieve or else they will perform poorly every time. It is further linked to their capability to deal with problems. This requires past experience that can help them to deal with classroom problems. Because of past learning practice they can speedily grasp what is being taught but many students lack this ability and are a hindering element towards victory. Another vital factor is the family a student belongs to. For instance if students’ parents are not well educated especially mothers, they won’t get any educational help at home. Also if the family has conservative and low-income background their kids are forced to get low standard education or can’t go abroad to study.
Among the social and cultural factors poverty is the biggest issue. Kids belonging to such families don’t get the opportunities to learn outside the school, won’t be able to attend famous schools, their family issues disturb and discourage them. This is common in urban areas and crime-infested areas where kids show their violence in classrooms, they are not keen to learn so they don’t attend schools while their parents support them in this. They are not excited to learn so they give up schooling, they don’t try further; they are disrupted either by other students or family members, physical and mental issues or simply they are not being motivated by their teachers. All these issues affect students’ motivation and thus their learning capability is influenced (Leland; 2005). Another cultural impact is difference in races or disability (both physical and mental) in kids, due to which all kids are not treated equally or such kids feel different and isolated from other kids. This hurts their feelings and motivation.
Every person possesses the ability to learn. This includes cognitive, physical and sensory abilities that will be discussed separately in detail.
Starting with cognitive abilities, they the brain-based ability we must to carry out any task from the easiest to the most difficlut. They have more to do with the process of how we discover, keep in mind, problem-solve, and focus rather than with any real knowledge. The most important cognitive skills includes; concentration: it is an act of will so a kid should be taught to focus on something and then pay attention to it. Learning disability specialist believes that it is essential for kids to concentrate and attend to a task for a lengthened time to achieve some activities.
Perception: students need to interpret situations which can be done by recalling past experience of similar situations and applying them, lack of experience cause misinterpretation. “We see things not as they are, but as we are” (Kant; 1804).
Memory and logical thinking: developing memorizing skills is very important as no student or teacher can show progress if they keep on forgetting and repeat things. Then comes logical thinking which is same as thinking in steps. Students gather facts and information and assemble them in chain-like sequence which eventually becomes meaningful, two vital elements of learning are perpetual and memory trace (Adam; 1971).
Sensory skills include those such as hearing, vision, speech and touch. They are accountable for getting information. Physical abilities changes as a child grow. With age one learns to walk, play, talk, work and carry out all physical activities. This can be referred as motor skill too. All three of these skills are linked and they in almost everyone can be enhanced with correct practice.
It’s normally agreed that schools adopt philosophy of inclusion and act inclusively to supports needs of all types of students (Lupart, 2002. some of these philosophies mentioned in Special Educational unit (2001) are child-centered programming, sharing educational responsibility with students’ families, using less intrusive teaching practices. Report says that schools must describe these visions in a mission statement. A framework also presents a familiar language for debate among stakeholders, and assists stakeholders focus on an instant action. It has established to be helpful in its efforts to sustain alteration at the state and district levels (McGregor, 2001. Boards must offer “sufficient school accommodation” for those who have a right to attend school and students shouldn’t be excluded from public learning due to disability (The Public Schools Act). Provincial legislations and regulations are vital as education comes under provincial jurisdiction (Lutfiyya; 2002). The New Brunswick Education Act outlines some practices that includes; positive chances for everyone, two-way planning by teachers, parents and organization, celebration of differences, interference of family in students’ educational planning, special programs that deal with disabled students and better school environment.
There are many other policies for inclusive practice such as Human Rights Act 1998, Childcare Act (2006), Disability Discrimination Act (2005) etc. Policies and legislative framework is essential to walk on the path of inclusive practice, they have great influence on organization as it sets targets to work on and helps teachers to confront the barriers.
Having discussed the importance of learning and adopting inclusive practice and after coming across all types of obstacles in the success of students, we must now consider the responsibilities of teachers to overcome this. Every teacher, counselor and administrator wishes to be dedicated and help out students to learn and achieve at their uppermost possible stage. For this teachers have some roles and responsibilities to carry out in order to apply inclusive practices in lifelong learning sector. Lifelong learning is to encourage inclusion at the same time as increasing the values of grown-up education following the existing school-leaving age of 16. Lifelong learning refers to student in sixth form education all the way through to adult’s education in a community-based background. Firstly it is important for a person entering the teaching profession to understand all the possible challenges he/she might face. Also they should clearly know what others expect from them and what tasks they have towards their students. Not only is this, but it also important the other way round, it’s also important to consider what a teacher expects from a student. It is said that hypothesis on teacher’s expectations, student’s skill and lifeless biases all have an effect on student’s achievements. What a teachers expects from future outcomes of their students effect both teacher’s opinion and student’s work (Bambarg; 2000). Based on a theory, high hope from student’s work is more likely to improve student’s learning gains (Hale-Benson; 1986) and these high hopes are mostly from upper-class or high income students. While on the opposite side, pessimistic behavior can result in students giving up on learning.
The legislations now have realized that how obstacles in learning are gestated extra support for learning over special educational requirements. There is more interactive nature towards students’ needs and more is focus is applied on what support a child needs rather then what’s wrong with the student. This has affected the roles of professionals therefore their lifelong role should be related to appropriate codes and regulatory needs that encircle the profession. Being a teacher, it we should provide the tools and assets needed to teach students, that is most importantly being well qualified and having a licence to teach.
Some basic tasks of teachers includes; teaching, counseling, organizing, administrating, liaising with external agencies, development, providing staff , assessing, consulting with colleagues, and managing other adults. But there are deep roles to be acted upon in order develop inclusion. Through alteration and delineation of the set of courses teachers can supply learning requirements of every student and develop inclusive classroom (Forlin; 2004). Teachers mull over the capabilities of learners and give relevant plans to make their learning possible, also they focus on students’ behavioral issues and what extra learning aid do they need and their own professional needs. They need self-regulatory skills or else students won’t be beneficial. They then take appropriate actions. Being a student, I too like many others expect my teacher to motivate me during my learning process that way I will not feel frustrated, or won’t give up; I will be encouraged to continue my learning. It is a universal fact that motivation is the route towards goals. When a student has to make choice such as which field to choose, or what to play, if he is motivated towards any one choice he can make better decisions. The significance of motivation is that it encourages the students to complete a task heartily. For instance a person may decide to start a work and he does start it but at some point he may get stuck and then feel frustrated. At this stage, motivations such as telling them how great they are doing and encourage them by saying that you believe in them and their success, such positive acts from teachers, family or friends can help make students devoted and thorough in their tasks. Thus this increases their passion to complete the work (Larson; 2000)
If I was a teacher my role in recognizing the and reaching the needs of learners would engage in evaluating the learners and formulating distinguishable learning results depending on the stage they have achieved in addition to their own skills. But this might require supplementary help and development of learning plans in order involve myself in learning and to attain the already set objectives of students. If there are many students all with different goals then it get harder to devise up and addition help is needed for which teachers should coordinate with the significant professionals to make certain they are conscious of the lesson plan and can support the students? As far as learning styles are concerned, the teacher should guarantee that the action is planned so that the subject can be educated in a way that will motivate the students and meet up their own desires.
For students to achieve internal and external help a referral is need (Tummons; 2007). If you have a line manager, he can be your initial point of contact for referral. If you attend team conferences or get in touch with other teachers, your co-workers may also be capable to help in the course of their own preceding experiences. As they are more experienced and have a knowhow of what should be done in particular situation they can lead new comers well. Also assistance can be available within the organization if there is any learning support department or from skills of life specialists. Various institutes contain specialist resources for assisting disabled learners or may possibly be able to present a learning support assistant. Apart from this there are websites available for help in applying strategies in teaching and dealing with physical or sensory disabled person. As points of referral may vary according to the form of organization a teacher works in; it is their responsibility to uncover what support is obtainable locally.
So we have now discovered the key features of inclusive learning are teacher’s focus on their roles and responsibilities, equality, supporting and motivating students, dealing with disabilities and considering the importance of referrals. Now let’s look at the benefits of inclusive practice. Firstly every parent wants to see their child to live normal life with friends and colleagues, this wish comes true special for disabled students. Learning with people of different cultures, students and teachers learn to appreciate diversity and friendship develop amongst them, treating disabled students like normal students, due to high expectations students learn academic skills and students learn at their own speed and manner within a fostering learning atmosphere.
So my responsibilities relative to other professionals is to entrench promptness, behavior management, role model appropriate behavior such as treating all equally, giving extra support to disabled kids and creating a friendly and motivating atmosphere in classroom, and report any behavioral issues or any problems of distress to the teacher (Wallace, 2007). I would toil with the other professionals concerned to guarantee that pertinent information is shared and that individuals accountable for diverse features of a learner’s support are conscious of any matter that might distress them. It can also be advantageous to put down some vital rules so that both the teacher and the learners are alert of what is expected.
Reflective account and plan
If I be the teacher and follow the roles and responsibilities mentioned above it can be very effective for students and other professionals. My very first approach was to evaluate the work I need to carry out keeping in mind the requirements of the students. Due to this planning along with referrals I will be able to develop better practices as deep understanding is required. Taking care of physically and mentally disabled students is the most essential element for inclusive performance. So my approach is towards the Equality Act 2010 which can be my strength too.
Often the participation of teachers in learning process is voluntary (mostly because of pressure from colleagues and administration). Some teachers feel that they won’t be able to interact and deal with particular students especially those who need extra support and time. This should not be the case and it can be my or other teacher’s weakness. Teachers should improve this criterion to be able to focus and help students achieve their desired goals.
Promotion of equality, inclusion and diversity in the classroom is not only a hope; it is a necessity. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 2005, a ‘duty to actively promote’ egalitarianism of opportunity for disabled populace was only placed on educational institutions. Equality in learning is not about just treating every person the same way; it is about lending everyone an equal occasion to achieve their rights in the learning experience. While Diversity is about celebrating inhabitants’ dissimilarities such as knowledge, backgrounds, experiences and skills by heartening them and using those dissimilarities to make wider the learning experience.
A teacher must be able to judge the areas of their success and learn from weaknesses (Tummons; 2007). According to the Equality Act 2010, teachers must give significance to diversity and encourage equality amongst kids. It is said “Valuing the differences in people, whether that relates to gender, race, age, disability or any other individual characteristics they may have” (Gravels, A., 2008). Disabled students are not ought to be discriminated against during their learning process as stated by the Educational Needs and Disability act 2001. In order words all students including those which physical or mental disabilities should feel that they are equally and positively appreciated and hard work and desire to learn is not judged and recognized with biasness.
To increase equality in your classroom, one should consider that your students are not affected by firstly communication. Teachers should make sure that all students understand what is being delivered; you have correct body language, ensure you don’t pass offensive comments and use easy vocabulary. Secondly use of resources. Think whether they might be seen as biased or stereotypical plus that are they appropriate for the learners’ requirements. Thirdly see if students are not bothered by you teaching methods. Different students might have different learning styles so teacher should try to adopt all styles and their teaching methods should vary. Also ensure that every student is participating in learning process and disabled students are not feeling left out. Lastly place emphasis on the environment you are teaching in. See if every student gets the chance to establish effective working relationships with others and they all work as a team. Classroom should secure and reachable so that students with lack of mobility and sensory disabilities do not face difficulties. Diversity and equality is thus the most important element without which no one can develop inclusion.
Because there are many techniques of teaching and all vary to a great extent, it is vital for the teachers to be updated and keep an eye on the ground-breaking and positive method of teaching. This is due to the fact that any one technique cannot be trusted on its success to achieve goals; therefore staying updated can increase the opportunities to improve inclusive practice. Thus bringing changes to your teaching methods which are not productive so far, is a good approach to promote inclusion.
Conclusively, inclusive practice is very important in not just teaching but every other organization. With the application of range of policies and set goals along with student’s presence and enthusiasm in classroom, teachers can develop an inclusive environment.
- ADAMS, J.A. (1971) A closed-loop theory of motor learning. Journal of Motor Behavior, 3 (2), p. 111-150
- Saskatchewan Special Education Unit (2001). Creating opportunities for students withintellectual or multiple disabilities. Saskatchewan Education
- Reisenberger A & Dadzie S (2002), Equality and diversity in adult and community learning – a guide for managers
- Tummons, J., 2007. Becoming a Professional Tutor in the Lifelong Learning Sector. s.l.:Learning Matters.
- Lupart, J. (2002). Meeting the educational needs of exceptional learners in Alberta.
- Exceptionality Education Canada, 11(2,3), 55-70.
- Wallace, S., 2007. Managing Behaviour in the Lifelong Learning Sector. s.l.:Learning Matters.