Inclusion in the classroom doesn’t only mean accommodating the students with visual special needs. A handful of students can have “invisible” disabilities and may fall through the cracks if the teacher is not paying attention. Often these students don’t cause trouble and always do the right thing, but there may be some underlying problem which could be stifling their progress.
According to Danielle Egonu-Obanye, an assistant head teacher at an elementary school in London, England, inclusion is an important area of school life which needs proper management. Forging relationships with the “invisible” students, even through small gestures, can bolster their academic progress and provide a deeper understanding into how they learn.
· Recommend a book which will interest the student. Leave it with a personal note as to why you thought of them.
· Ask questions about what you have heard the child talk about such as “How was your brother’s birthday?” This conveys to the student you are interested in their extra-curricular activities.
· Write notes on sticky notes reinforcing the work they have submitted.
· Keep a journal with your students. Use tiny notebooks so as not to write too much. Write short messages which they can respond to about what’s going on in their lives. These journals help teachers keep in touch with students when there has not been a chance to dialogue in the classroom.
It is important to have an insight into every child in the classroom, especially as social and economic uncertainty can impact their concentration and self-confidence. Regularly writing a class list from memory may uncover the “invisible” children and alert a teacher to be mindful not to leave anyone behind.
For more information about looking out for the “invisible” child and making your class truly inclusive, click here.