*What is inclusive education?
Individual differences among student will always exist; our challenge as teachers is to see these
not as problems to be fixed but as opportunities to enrich and make learning accessible for all.
Inclusion is an effort to make sure all students receive whatever specially designed instruction
and support they need to succeed as learners.
An inclusive teacher welcomes all students and finds ways to accept and accommodate each
individual student. An inclusive teacher identifies existing barriers that limit access to learning,
and then finds solutions and strategies to remove or reduce those barriers. Some barriers to
inclusion are visible; others are hidden or difficult to recognize.
We also need to encourage students to understand each others’ barriers, or this itself may
become a barrier to learning.
Students may experience challenges because of any one or a combination of the following:
● behavioural and social skill difficulties
● communication or language disabilities
● concentration difficulties
● conflict in the home or that caused by political situations or national emergency
● executive functions, such as difficulties in understanding, planning and organizing
● hearing impairments, acquired congenitally or through illness or injury
● literacy and language difficulties
● numeracy difficulties
● physical or neurological impairments, which may or may not be visible
● visual impairments, ranging from mild to severe.
Teachers should be careful, however, not to label a student and create further barriers in so
doing, particularly if you yourselves are not qualified to make a diagnosis, nevertheless you are
accountable for referring them to the relevant department. Each child is unique but it is our
management of their learning environment that will decide the extent of the barrier and the need for it to be a factor. We need to be aware of a child’s readiness to learn and their readiness for school.
*Why is inclusive education important?
Teachers need to find ways to welcome all students and organize their teaching so that each
student gets a learning experience that makes engagement and success possible. We should
create a good match between what we teach and how we teach it, and what the student needs
and is capable of. We need not only to ensure access but also make sure each student receives
the support and individual attention that result in meaningful learning.
*What are the challenges of an inclusive classroom?
Some students may have unexpected barriers. Those who consistently do well in class may not
perform in exams, or those who are strong at writing may be weaker when speaking. Those who
are considered to be the brightest students may also have barriers to learning. Some students
may be working extra hard to compensate for barriers they prefer to keep hidden; some
students may suddenly reveal limitations in their ability to learn, using the techniques they have
been taught. We need to be aware of all corners of our classroom, be open and put ourselves in
our students’ shoes.
Where next ?