Around the globe, there have been countless unfortunate incidents of children being excluded on account of disability, language, race, religion, gender and poverty. The need of the hour is to have an inclusive education in place where children are supported by faculties and community irrespective of their differences! An inclusive environment benefits everyone, but before we explore its benefits in detail, let’s first learn what is meant by inclusivity!
What is inclusive education?
Inclusive education refers to a format or rather a pattern of education wherein students coming from diverse backgrounds are given equal treatment and opportunities. They enjoy education as well as co-curricular activities or sports meets or plays together.
Why inclusive education is so important?
Inclusive education focuses on unique values and contributions each child coming from a diverse background brings to the classroom. An institution that practices inclusivity in a true sense, provides a safe and secure environment to the child where students achieve their learning goals together. However, the institution must have the requisite training, flexibility, support and resources to ensure that an inclusive environment is created and maintained seamlessly.
A school is often the first relationship a child has outside their families. Therefore, they need to develop social relationships and interactions and learn to respect the diversity that other children bring to the classroom. They learn to recognise other children’s abilities and learn and play together. If we provide them with an inclusive educational setting, they emerge as mature and socially responsible individuals with better chances for success in all walks of life.
Benefits of inclusive education
Here are some key benefits of inclusive education, for children, institution and community at large:
- Children are considered as part of their community and are prepared to handle life better.
- They develop a sense of belonging and emerge as more socially responsible individuals.
- An inclusive learning environment means better learning opportunities for children. Children learn to interact with people having varying abilities and they learn better too.
- A positive inclusion helps children develop their strengths and handle their weaknesses better.
- Students learn to focus on their individual goals while having a fair competition with children of their age.
- An inclusive learning environment promotes participation from the parents.
- Children learn in an environment where they learn to respect each other’s culture. They also learn to accept their individual differences and make friends.
How an institution promotes inclusive education?
An institution plays a significant role in making inclusive education a reality. Here are the steps an institution can take:
- ensure that faculties have required training, skills, and resources available to teach and handle students coming from diverse backgrounds and learning styles.
- ensure that schools have requisite financial support to introduce inclusive activities and services.
- enable parents to assess their children’s right to get educated in an inclusive learning environment
Tips on developing inclusive classroom strategies
- Define clear behavioural standards for students.
- Apply these standards consistently.
- Handle students who fail to behave sensibly.
- Provide equal opportunities to all children and listen to their problems patiently.
- Acknowledge that every child has a specific need, which may require a unique solution.
- Offer them support in all possible ways so that other students also learn how to handle and address diversity.
- Create a relaxed, meaningful environment that promotes learning.
- Assess children about their preparedness for a new concept that you plan to introduce.
- Let children choose the way they want to demonstrate their learning
- Discourage parents to compare the progress of one child to another, focus should always be on individual’s development.
In simple language, inclusion in education brings equal access to education and opportunities irrespective of their age, religion, gender, abilities, or behaviour skills. Inclusion in schools means providing additional support to children who have special needs and creating an environment that works for all students, whether they have a disability. The success of a child is the success of the entire community. Therefore, schools must take all possible measures to ensure they inculcate an inclusive environment for students that helps them prepare them for a better future. This will also enable students get benefitted by learning how to embrace success together while being empathetic to one another.