In this blog on inclusive education and strategies for integrating students with disabilities, we’ll answer the following:
- What is inclusive education?
- What is an example of inclusiveness in education?
- Are there different types of inclusion?
- What are the pros and cons of inclusive education?
- How can others be more inclusive?
What is Inclusive Education?
Inclusive education programs place all children in the same classroom, regardless of factors like disabilities or language barriers. The idea is to create an atmosphere of equality where everyone is being treated the same while learning the same curriculum.
What Is An Example of Inclusiveness in Education?
Inclusiveness in education might look like providing reading aid access to all students or ensuring the building is accessible to wheelchair users. Another way to practice inclusiveness in education is to have fidget toys and tools available in all classrooms for students with ADHD and other conditions that make it difficult to focus.
Are There Different Types of Inclusion?
Inclusion can be divided into two categories: regular (partial) inclusion and full inclusion.
Regular inclusion places all students in a mainstream classroom together for lectures, but those with disabilities will also spend time learning independently or in small groups.
Full inclusion incorporates all students into the mainstream classroom and provides students with disabilities special support within that classroom.
What Are The Pros and Cons of Inclusive Education?
|Pros of Inclusive Education||Cons of Inclusive Education|
|Increases socialization||“Cookie-cutter” teaching approach|
|Increases staff collaboration||May disrupt learning environments|
|Promotes equality||Might not fully accommodate some students|
|Creates higher expectations for all students||Teachers must have a basic understanding of every disability present in the classroom|
Pro 1: Promotes Socialization
Students with disabilities, language barriers, etc., are in the minority of a classroom; when divided, this leads to smaller groups of peers for them to socialize with and befriend. Placed in a mainstream classroom, all students have the opportunity to interact with one another, build more friendships, and have more significant daily social interactions.
Pro 2: Increases Staff Collaboration
When students are divided into different classrooms, staff must work independently from one another to teach their primary students. In an inclusive environment, teachers and staff, who mainly work with students with disabilities or neurotypical development, can all collaborate to create a more effective learning environment.
Pro 3: Promotes Equality
When students are placed in separate classrooms based on their abilities, skill level, disabilities, etc., this communicates an atmosphere of division. It’s telling the students they are different from one another and aren’t capable of learning together. Inclusive classrooms create an equal space where students learn together regardless of their unique strengths and challenges.
Pro 4: Creates Higher Expectations for All Students
Students typically put in the effort to match the standards you have for them. Inclusive education places all students in the same curriculum. Although some students may have additional support, they’re all striving for the same learning goals, whether a project, presentation, or test.
Con 1: “Cookie-Cutter” Teaching Approach
While inclusive education is a great way to promote equality in the classroom, it can have some drawbacks with less diverse learning approaches. It’s difficult for one curriculum to target all the unique learning styles of each student in a classroom. Because of this, inclusive learning education often incorporates additional support in and outside of the classroom for students with disabilities.
Con 2: May Disrupt Learning Environments
Placing a diverse group of learners in one setting always increases the likelihood of added distractions. Some students may be more prone to talking or displaying disruptive behaviors.
Con 3: May Not Fully Accommodate Some Students
Going back to the “cookie-cutter” phenomenon, a single mainstream classroom may not be able to meet the needs of every student fully. For example, distractions and loud noises can make learning much more difficult for some students, and finding ways around this in a mainstream classroom may be a challenge.
Con 4: Teacher Must Have Basic Understanding of Every Disability Present in the Classroom
Inclusive education allows for more collaboration between teachers and students, but this means that every teacher must be equipped with the knowledge of each of their students’ disabilities. They need to know how each student learns best, their needed accommodations, and how to set them up for success.
How Can Others Be More Inclusive?
Whether it’s in or out of the classroom, inclusivity is embracing our differences and alikeness. It’s important to listen to others, allow them to speak, and express themselves. We need to celebrate each other’s successes, no matter how small.
In the classroom, we need to give everyone learning opportunities and a chance to share their thoughts and to put effort in projects, assignments, and collaboration. Make each other feel heard, seen, and appreciated. That’s the key to being more inclusive.