“Inclusion applies to an arrangement where every student’s (including disabled learners) entitlements have been designed in from the outset, as opposed to integration which applies to the assimilation of students into a pre-existing arrangement.” (www.psychology.heacademy.ac.uk accessed 19/12/10)
The term ‘Inclusive learning’ was first defined in 1996 with the release of the ‘Tomlinson Report’. Inclusive practice enables us to recognise and accommodate the requirements of all learners, therefore removing barriers of learning. The report indicates a requirement to move away from labelling learners and creating difference between them. Instead there must be greater emphasis for institutions to create a positive and inclusive learning environment to suit all students. “The report found that historically learners with learning difficulties or disabilities were excluded from mainstream opportunities in the post-compulsory sector. (www.education.stateuniversity.com accessed 19/12/10)
All learners are different and require individual support. However some learners require additional support to achieve a positive learning outcome. Some learners may have social barriers such as requiring religious holidays, which may conflict with the typical college timetable or may miss certain parts of the day. Others may have financial problems, which will require additional college support to assist in their course, transport or purchasing of essential resources to complete their course. Some learners may have preconceived negative feelings about themselves and the world around them. Through support and encouragement by the college and the tutor, learners can change their attitude and the willingness to learn. Medical barriers could include epilepsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), poor vision/blindness, or hearing impairment and there are many hidden medical conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, anaemia, cancer or HIV and AIDS. There are also specific learning difficulties such as dysphraxia and dysgraphia, dyslexia and Asperger’s syndrome.
“Barriers to learning for disabled students may be attitudinal, organisational or practical.” (www.open.ac.uk accessed 20/01/11)
An inclusive environment needs to be present within every part of the educational system. When planning lessons the tutor should take into account the learners cognitive needs. The outcome on a learner’s ability to learn could be the difficulty in sustaining attention, impaired memory, poor concentration and attention, difficulty with problem solving and decision making, difficulty with language skills and slow reaction time. “Learners with cognitive needs will require help with language, memory and reasoning skills; sequencing and organisational skills; understanding number; problem solving and concept development” (Training and Development Agency for Schools final version June 2007 online accessed 20/01/11)
B.F. Skinner (1951) believed that learning has to be structured in small steps, with regular rewards. He believed that repetition and reward from achieving the learning outcome creates successful learning.
Petty (2009) suggests that effective teachers put huge emphasis on rewarding their learners with praise, attention and other encouragement. Working with a group of adults of all ages, different background, religion and very little knowledge of the English language, it is essential that as a teacher I reward, encourage and praise positive behaviour within the classroom.
It is also important to take into account the sensory and/or physical abilities, keeping in mind that some disabilities are hidden and not easily detected. The more obvious disabilities are hearing, visual and physical impairment. A structured learning programme should be implemented as appropriate to the needs of the learner and equipment, learning materials and learning aids, which may be required. Making reasonable...