Inclusive education: Everything you need to know
Inclusive education in a nutshell
For whom? Inclusive education targets all children in the community with all levels of cognitive capacities, taking into account the differences of each individual.
Why? Inclusive education aims to fully develop the autonomy and self-determination of children and especially those with special needs. This vision of inclusive education encourages the whole community to favor integrating all children in the different spheres of activity. The long-term goal is to build a stronger society that values diversity.
How? By favoring and promoting accessibility to activities in the natural environment for all children with or without disabilities. By offering educational support to members of the community: a child with special needs, children around them (their peers), their parents, and educators. By promoting inclusive communities and encouraging their creation.
Values and principles of inclusive education
Inclusive education is a responsible approach to each individual regardless of their capacities. It can be implemented in educational institutions and considered while composing learning courses. This term is also about discovering different teaching methods so that all children are actively involved in classes. The approach of inclusion aims at long-term, friendly and respectful relationships between students, teachers and students, and children and parents.
It is worth mentioning that inclusive education is not designated for ‘special children’ only. Focused in particular on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, it strives to fully develop the potential of each individual. According to the principles of inclusion, all children are prepared to attend regular schools and classes at all times.
This method is rather about finding ideas and building the spaces where all people could learn and participate with no feeling of being excluded. Creativity can be understood to mean that teachers learn to teach in different ways or that they structure their lessons so that all children can participate. It also implies using platforms like essayservice to come up with innovative approaches and individual assignments.
Inclusion as a value means that we expect all of our children and adults to be appreciated and accepted in society for life.
According to the New Brunswick Department of Education, the main principles of inclusive education are the following:
- All children can learn.
- All children attend regular classes appropriate for their age in their local schools.
- All children receive appropriate education programs.
- All children follow a learning curriculum in accordance with their needs.
- All children participate in parallel activities and extracurricular activities.
- All children benefit from cooperation between their homes, their schools, their communities.
Main characteristics of inclusive education
Inclusive education implies that educators take account of and successfully implement the following characteristics and practices:
- Unconditionally accept all children in regular classes and school life.
- Provide as much support as needed for students, staff, and educational spaces to ensure the active participation of all children.
- Highlight what each student can do as opposed to focusing on what she or he cannot do or have difficulties with.
- Teachers and parents do not lower their expectations for particular children.
- Set educational goals in accordance with the abilities of each child. From this arises the need to develop individual curriculums and adapt activities to different personalities.
- Have strong leadership regarding inclusion on the part of administrators.
- Ensure the teachers know different teaching methods so that children with different abilities and strengths could learn together.
- Ensure principals, teachers, parents, and other stakeholders work together on the implementation of inclusion in an educational environment.
Do we mean by inclusive education that all children must stay in the same class and stick to the same curriculum?
When schools offer inclusive education, the teachers usually have doubts about how often a child may drop out of the regular curriculum and why this happens. This approach means that all students should attend regular classes with no division by academic performance. However, this does not mean that particular children cannot miss some classes for specific reasons.
For example, a child may require individual help in a particular subject. As opposed to traditional education, the inclusive education process aims to avoid that children with certain characteristics (for example, those with a disability) are grouped into separate classes during the whole school day or part of it. However, the individual approach is needed to ensure that every student succeeds.
The benefits of inclusive education
Inclusive education (when well put into practice) is very important for multiple reasons. First of all, it gives an opportunity to all of the children, without exception, to be a part of a community as opposed to traditional education, which usually contributes to the creation of homogenous groups. This prepares children to diverse adult life and helps them integrate society in the future.
Another advantage of inclusive education methods is that it provides constant encouragement. Children in all situations might experience demotivation during the learning process because, at some point, many of them feel different from the rest of the group. In such a way, the whole class is more motivated. Children set the goal to work on their individual goals rather than fit in the homogenous group, suppressing talents. A personality with its unique traits becomes valuable, and the culture of respect is grown.
Finally, it is worth highlighting that it is beneficial not only to people with special needs who have higher chances to experience difficulties integrating society but for everyone.