Understanding Inclusive Learning and Teaching in Lifelong Learning

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Unit 009 Understanding inclusive learning and teaching in lifelong learning

My aim in this unit is to look at inclusive learning and teaching in lifelong learning and explore it in the context of teaching Information Technology. I will analyse and evaluate aspects, strategies and approaches to inclusive learning. I will explain how areas like resources, functional skills, feedback and assessment opportunities can help learners achieve their goals and beyond. Also, I will show how important the learning environment is towards motivating learners and promoting respect for others. Inclusion is ensuring that all learners feel part of the learning process and can participate and contribute in order to get the best opportunity to succeed. Wilson (2008:153) states that inclusion is “about creating interesting, varied and inspiring learning opportunities for all learners; ensuring all learners contribute and are never disadvantaged by methods, language or resources”. This statement makes sense as if learners feel excluded and their needs are not met in any session they will most likely not be motivated to learn and thus prevent their overall development. Francis and Gould (2009:74) statement supports this theory when it noted that “all learners should feel part of and engaged in the particular session”. It was in 1996 Tomlinson defined inclusion as ‘the greatest degree of match or fit between individual learning requirements and provision’. Although his theory centred on students with learning difficulties and disabilities in mainstream college provision, it is suggesting that everyone will benefit if learning and teaching is inclusive. Where inclusion is diversity is not far behind as we have a wide range of learners from various cultural, religious background, ethnicity, gender/orientation, age, physical disabilities, previous experiences, mental health issues, aptitude and learning styles. For example, a teacher can use the cultural background of their learners and embed it for an Internet task to search for information on that particular country online and then share with the class. If teachers are to be inclusive they must also recognise and support equality to ensuring that all their learners can access learning. For example, a learner with hearing problems can still access an IT course if a teacher will find out the leaner’s needs which may be to source an Interpreter or ensure the room has an induction loop. It must be noted here that inclusion is a collaborative process and involves both teachers and learners to ensure that everyone is aware of roles they play in making it work. Learners have individual learning needs and come from various educational and social background and teachers should endeavour to meet these learning needs and create an environment where all learners can be included in the learning process. This would involve planning, examining teaching methods and styles, effective use of resources and how we assess learners and ourselves. Planning cannot be effective unless we understand our learners and it is counterproductive to plan sessions without a clear idea of who will receive the knowledge and skills we hope to give. Francis and Gould (2009:55) say that in planning “the learners and their needs are our first consideration”. It is important to recognise individual differences in terms of gender, race, age, learning abilities, cultural backgrounds and so much more. It is unlikely that we will meet learners before the first session; however, teachers can find useful information about learners through their application forms, initial assessments, questionnaires, interviews and so on. These can be useful to ensure we check that courses are appropriate for learners and if any additional support is required. It makes it very difficult to take the needs of learners into consideration if learners are not willing to disclose needs to us. Support can be pre-arranged for learners, for example, in the...
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