Inclusive learning is about making sure that every learner in the classroom has their needs identified and met. It is about realising that every learner will have specific individual needs and it is the job of the teacher to accommodate the needs of all of their learners. Booth et al. (2000) state ‘Inclusion is seen to involve the identification and minimising of barriers to learning and participation’ (Booth et al., 2000: 13).
One approach to inclusive learning is having additional support for the learners with additional educational needs (AEN). This can be in the form of a teaching assistant or in some more severe cases a carer.
Additional support can be used to do several things. The support a teaching assistant provides is to enable the learner to either do the same work the rest of the class is doing but with extra support with ideas, writing or just a general confidence boost. Teaching assistants can also be used to take the pupils with AEN as a separate group and do work that has been differentiated by the teacher. This is a way of enabling the learner to feel they have achieved and not worry about what the rest of the class thinks.
The use of the teaching assistant is vital for many learners. It enables the learner to achieve the academic levels they need and often exceed what they thought they could achieve. However, it could be argued that if a child is given too much individual support then they will learn to expect it and be reluctant to work without support. The other main area to focus on is differentiation. If a teacher is able to correctly identify the different levels and needs of their class members and then differentiate accordingly then this is going to be one of the most effective ways of creating inclusive learning.
According to Dickinson and Wright (1993) Differentiation is ‘not a single event, it is a process. This process involves recognising the variety of individual needs within a class, planning to meet those needs, providing appropriate delivery and evaluating the effectiveness of the activities in order to maximise the achievements of individual students’ (Dickinson and Wright, 1993:3).
Assignment: analyse how to select resources to meet the needs of learners.
According to Kyriacou (2007) ‘The key task facing teachers is to set up a learning activity which effectively achieves the learning outcomes intended for each pupil’ (Kyriacou, 2007:19). This suggests that creating an activity and finding the resources to complete the activity are one of the most crucial activities faced by teachers. If the resources are not correct then an activity may not work.
As Pollard (1997) says ‘Resources, in the form of equipment, apparatus, artefacts and media are a mean of deepening, enriching and broadening the curriculum through providing first hand experiences’ (Pollard, 1997:190). Resources are the teachers main way of creating an exciting and relevant learning experience.
One of the most successful ways of selecting resources, is to look at the individual needs of the learners in the class. The teacher needs to identify whether the learners are visual, oral or kinaesthetic learners. Having found this out the teacher needs to create activities that will support the needs of their learners. IF they are predominantly kinaesthetic then the activities, and therefore the resources, need to enable the learners to be hands-on and learn through doing.
However, it is also necessary to remember that even though a learners preferred learning style could be kinaesthetic, at some point, all learners need to be able to take part in other forms of learning such as listening to someone else or writing an essay. Learners need to be adaptable and this is also the role of the teacher, to ensure that they are capable of several forms of learning.
Assignment: explain how to create assessment opportunities that meet...