Examine the key factors influencing inclusive teaching and learning
Inclusive teaching means recognising, accommodating and meeting the learning needs of all students, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation. This starts with acknowledging that students are members of diverse communities, have a range of individual learning needs, and deserve equal opportunity to access the learning experience. Applying inclusive learning is increasingly important in our diverse society and education should reflect, promote and facilitate this. For example, there are more and more disabled people entering education nowadays than there used to be: an inclusive environment must ensure that they are equally valued and accepted and that their efforts to learn are recognised and judged without bias. Traditional teaching holds that students with diverse needs be placed in the general education setting only once they can meet traditional academic expectations. Inclusive education, on the other hand, celebrate people’s diversity and brings all students together in one classroom, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses in any area, and seeks to maximize the potential of all of them by encouraging and using their different backgrounds and knowledge to broaden the learning experience. In order to create an effective inclusive learning environment we must overcome barriers that might stop learners getting the best from their learning experience. Barriers to learning are problems or situations that prevent learners from accessing programs, going to class, concentrating and learning. The typical barriers are located within the learner, hence of an intrinsic nature, and can be physical, sensory, physiological or intellectual. For example not knowing, or not being comfortable with, the rest of the class could constitute a barrier. Icebreakers could be used in this instance to encourage learners to talk to us, to each other and to the group as a whole. Similarly climate setters can be used to promote learning related to session objectives; this is particularly important as people can be intimidated in a situation where they are asked to come up with ideas. Hence the tutor needs to create an environment where students feel comfortable to express themselves. Learners may also face extrinsic barriers, related to the environment they live, work and study in. Issues with family relationships, social support, employment and financial matters provide some such examples. It’s very important to motivate learners in order for them to get the most out of their classes. To motivate a learner we must first understand what motivates them and teach to their particular strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we may have to match teaching approaches to their learning styles and provide support to those who need it. Other times we may have to use energizers to challenge the class or refocus learners’ attention, e.g. after a long period of concentration or after a break. Also, encouraging friendly competition could provide motivational challenges for all of them. Most of all, we need to give them constructive feedback to encourage personal improvement. One theory we can be refer to for motivational purposes is Maslow’s pyramid of needs. According to his pyramid we must feel that we are satisfied with our physiological needs before we can think of getting a roof. Having the feeling of being secure motivates us to seek love. Once we have accomplished the need for belongingness then we seek a better future which motivates us to set goals and achieve something honourable in life. Once we have accomplished a settled life with love and respect, we might then look to reach our full potential. To ensure all students gain the most from their learning, consideration must be based on the particular learning style and objectives for each individual. An initial assessment of the students can be carried out for this purpose and then use a...
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