Are you a parent who wants to know about Inclusion in Education and how it is implemented in schools?
Inclusive Education is important because all children, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or health care need, have the right and opportunity to be part of their school community and develop a sense of belonging. Everyone deserves the opportunity to become better prepared for life in the wider community as children and adults. It also provides all children with opportunities to develop friendships with one another, regardless of their differences. Inclusion is more a mindset than a set of strategies. Think ‘time equity.’ Every student deserves the right to the same amount of time every day working on things that are appropriately challenging.
Many of us are used to modifications we often see these days to help those with physical needs, such as reduced mobility. We wouldn’t dream of designing a school without suitable access routes, or accept fire evacuation procedures without the provision of portable chairs. But what attention do we give to those, whose brains are wired in ways differently to our own? How often do we put ourselves in their shoes or, more correctly, ask them what could be made better?
What is true of buildings is true of education. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to teaching, learning and assessment. Being inclusive in education is no longer just about “allowing” students into the classroom, but also about empowering them to participate and progress once there. It is less about focusing on an individual’s barriers and more about dismantling the barriers that society has created that impede them from realising their potential.
In order to accomplish ‘time equity,’ we at Regent, think about removing barriers and extending paths. For instance, a gifted student in a class might need an extended path while an English Language Learner, (ELL) student will find vocabulary to be the barrier in their path. It also involves our teachers thinking, what scaffolds — high tech or no tech — will give this student access to what (s)he needs to learn?
One thing I’ve found from teaching in these (inclusive) environments, is that, many students can benefit from teachers who rethink how they can teach a lesson to reach students on an Individual Educational Plan (IAP) and Advanced Learning Plan (ALP). There are often other students struggling or who have different learning styles who also benefit from these resources!
Inclusion is not just about accommodation, it’s about attitude and a decision by our school, to commit to providing each and every student the inalienable right to belong. It is also a mindset for school leaders and teachers and they have to feel it is not a burden.
At Regent, we strive to provide an inclusive environment, where each student is respected and appreciated as valuable members of their school community. To this end it really takes the whole-team to collaborate to make it work.
Join us for our Mindful Monday webinar on 4th January 2021 from 09:30 – 10:30 am to know more about the fundamental principles of Inclusive Education, its aims and objectives. We will also examine the roles and responsibilities of our staff at Regent International School - Inclusion Department, in ensuring that we meet the needs of all the children within our care. This live webinar will be led by myself, Leonie Mitchell-Holness, Assistant Head Teacher – Inclusion at Regent International School. You may also submit your questions in advance through the registration form and I will be happy to answer them during the live Q&A session at the end of the webinar.
Author: Mrs. Leonie Mitchell-Holness, Assistant Head Teacher – Inclusion, Regent International School