Creating Inclusive Schools
Inclusion in education has traditionally meant making sure students with disabilities are integrated into general education classrooms to the greatest possible extent.
Creating a school that is truly inclusive starts in each classroom, but it must also be wider in scope. It requires specific strategies and a shift in culture that is shared and encouraged by the school administration, teachers, and students.
A school culture defines the values, expectations, beliefs, and assumptions of everyone from administrators to students. Inclusion requires a cultural shift in many schools. Here are some elements of an inclusive school culture:
- Inclusion requires a strong commitment to and belief in involving everyone.
- Diversity must be considered a positive attribute and resource rather than a challenge or detriment.
- Parents, teachers and the school management collaborate with all students’ best interests in mind.
- Inclusive schools maintain a solid connection to the community.
- There is zero-tolerance for bullying or exclusion.
- Inclusive schools are willing to innovate and take risks with new ideas.
Inclusion in schools isn’t merely about providing additional support to children with special educational needs. It’s about creating a learning environment that works for everyone, whether they have a disability, are a member of a minority community, come from a low-income family – or find it harder to learn and achieve for other reasons.
Let’s have a quick look at how inclusive schools are highly different from non-inclusive schools:
|Inclusive School||Not an Inclusive School|
|Child spends the majority of the day in the general education classroom.||Child spends the majority of the day in a special education classroom and goes to a general education classroom for one or two periods.|
|Child’s desk is included with the other groups of desks in the classroom.||Child’s desk is away from the other desks in the classroom.|
|Child has access to and is included in classroom lessons and activities that are adapted or modified to meet his/her special needs.||Child works on his/her own curriculum.|
|Child attends outside activities with the class including assemblies, field trips, enrichment classes, and recess.||Child is given alternate activities and options with other special education students.|
|Child is an independent, valued, and respected classroom member.||Child is looked upon as helpless, needy, and dependent.|
|Child receives specialist support (therapy, speech, and language) with minimal disruption to the class routine and program.||Child is pulled from the classroom lessons and activities for specialist support without consideration for what the child will miss.|
|The teacher can identify your child’s strengths and areas for improvement.||The teacher refers to the specialists and paraprofessionals to identify child’s development.|
|Child can name classmates and has many common classroom experiences.||Child does not know classmates and does not have many common classroom experiences|
Everyone fits together in an inclusive education classroom. The benefits of inclusive learning:
- All students learning together
- Teachers learning to expand their skills
- Valuing other cultures and perspectives
- Giving teachers assistance and support
- Connecting with individual learning styles
- Honouring the needs of all the pupils equally
- Celebrating diversity and individuality
- Nurturing shared respect and empathy
- Focusing on abilities and not disabilities
- Teaching students of all abilities and backgrounds together
- Giving teachers extra support with learning specialists
- Expanding instruction to address different learning styles
- Training teachers to manage and teach children with disabilities
- Creating a learning environment of empathy and respect
At School Psychology India, we work with schools to train their teaching faculty and advice school managements in creating inclusive schools. Contact us now to make your school an inclusive school. Call us or Whats app us at 0091 97 86 89 0008 to discuss about making your school an inclusive campus.