Inclusion and the Inclusive Learning Environment
The process of inclusion in any setting refers to the situation in which all are involved. This means taking into account the needs of every person and making sure the expectations of the learners are met.
An inclusive learning environment requires the teacher to recognise and accommodate all the needs of each learner. Differentiation is using a variety of different approaches and resources to meet the needs of everyone. All learners are different in their own ways and therefore, what may work for one learner may not necessarily work for another.
The teacher also needs to be aware of what motivates the learners. Their willingness to learn will affect their learning and behaviour in class. “Motivation is either intrinsic (from within), meaning the student wants to learn for their own fulfilment, or extrinsic (from without), meaning there may be an external factor motivating the student, e.g. promotion at work” (Gravells, A. p40). Short class discussions can help motivate learners, help them understand the subject and so encourage them to get on with their work. It is essential for the teacher to discourage any competition and everyone should be allowed to work at their own pace. Attention spans can be short, and so easy, manageable targets will help learners stay focussed. I also find that regular short breaks help when the learners get restless.
It is essential for the teacher not to display favouritism and to be approachable to all learners. Each learner should be treated equally. The teacher must challenge discrimination, prejudice and stereotyping and encourage the group to mix. All learners, whatever their needs, should feel included in a learning environment where different teaching styles are used, and where they feel safe, accepted and valued. It is also crucial to consider that each learner has something unique to add to the learning environment that can be helpful to other...