Inclusive education values diversity and the unique contributions each student brings to the classroom. In a truly inclusive setting, every child feels safe and has a sense of belonging. Students and their parents participate in setting learning goals; school staff has the training, support, flexibility, and resources to nurture, encourage, and respond to the needs of all students.
This article from Open Society Foundations gives a basic introduction to the value of inclusive education and what’s required to create an inclusive education environment.
What are the basic elements of inclusive education?
- Use of teaching assistants or specialists: These staff have the potential to be inclusive or divisive. A specialist who helps teachers address the needs of all students is working inclusively. A specialist who pulls students out of class to work with them individually on a regular basis is not.
- Inclusive curriculum: An inclusive curriculum includes locally relevant themes and contributions by marginalized and minority groups. It avoids binary narratives of “good and bad,” and allows adapting the curriculum to the learning styles of children with special education needs
- Parental involvement: In a diverse school system, inclusion means thinking about multiple ways to reach out to parents on their own terms.
To make inclusive education a reality:
- ensure that educators have the training, flexibility, and resources to teach students with diverse needs and learning styles; and
- enable the entire community— educators, social workers, parents, and students—to work together and participate in the design, delivery, and monitoring of education, thereby reframing inclusive education as a shared responsibility.
Inclusive education is not a cost-cutting measure, but by eliminating redundancy and the high costs of running parallel systems, such investments are an efficient and effective use of funds, and hold the potential to improve education for all students.
Read the full article here