Inclusive education is a move towards a learning environment where ‘special school’ learners are integrated into ‘mainstream’ education. According to Nind et al. (2005) ‘Education and educational provision is shared by both ‘normal’ pupils and those with a disability, at the expense of differences in the specific nature of each child or young person and her/his particular strengths and areas of weakness, and consequences that these differences have in terms of educational needs’. This means that the aim of inclusive practice is to create a neutral learning environment. It should be noted that that every learner will have different needs and requirements and therefore, should be taught respectively. Equality is a vital part of successful inclusive practice. This assignment will try to analyse the factors that influence learning, referring to legislation to support and enforce inclusive practice.
2. Analyse that characteristics which influence the learning of a group of learners.
There are various factors that will influence learners and it is essential to understand how each factor can affect learning. Factors such as sex, age, learning difficulties, disability, social class, motivation, ethnicity, language and relationships may influence learning. Some of these factors may be obvious to the teacher but others may need the learner to disclose the information. The course application form, Induction quizzes and collegiate questionnaires allow the learners to disclose this information, however it is the responsibility of the teacher to actively use this information. Barriers to learning can be categorised into 3 groups; cognitive, physical and sensory. I will now explore an example of each of these barriers and explain how they could influence the learning I teach. An example of a cognitive learning barrier would be Aspergers. ‘Asperger's Syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder that falls within the autistic spectrum. It is a life-long condition, which affects about 1 in 200 people, more commonly in men than women. Those with Asperger's Syndrome are usually of average or above average intelligence. The condition is characterised by difficulties with Social Interaction, Social Communication and Flexibility of Thinking or Imagination. In addition, there may be sensory, motor and organisational difficulties.’ (www.aspergerfoundation.org.uk/what_as.htm) Consequently their ability to pick up non verbal cues is often lacking. The learner may demonstrate little empathy, and struggle to make personal and social relationships. A learner with Asperger’s may have good language skills but may find it hard to understand jokes, sarcasm and metaphors, and take things literally. They often have narrow interests which dominate their conversations and might find it difficult to have a mutual sharing of ideas and feelings. Most learners with Asperger’s need a highly structured environment, and will often rely upon the help of others to create a sense of order. Unorganised situations can lead to distress and anxiety. Burgoine & Wing (1983) describe the main clinical features of Asperger’s as: * Lack of Empathy
* Naive, inappropriate one-sided interaction
* Little or no ability to form friendships
* Pedantic repetitive speech
* Poor non-verbal communication
* Intense absorption in certain subjects
* Clumsy and ill coordinated movements.
As a result of this, the tutor would have to let all members of staff aware of the learner’s condition, either on a group profile or through a staff meeting. However, to ensure an inclusive environment, the learner with Asperger’s must not be isolated, but integrated into the group. Teachers (and learners) should be discouraged from using too many jokes or sarcasm as this could confuse the learner. The teacher may also need to spend more time going through class or assignment tasks or come up with a ‘code word’ to use if the learner didn’t...
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