Inclusion in the classroom
The following is a summary of an article first published on “The Western Star” on April 13th, 2012. Click here to see original article.
This article looks at inclusion in the classroom, and a teacher, about whom the article is about, makes the bold statement that inclusion in the classroom is a simple thing to achieve.
In a way, he’s not wrong. It’s about the way in which teachers and the schooling system approaches students with special needs. Often, the article argues, it’s not about giving the students with special needs differentiated attention outside of the classroom and in special needs classes, but teaching teachers to better differentiate their teaching to include students with special needs, and have them integrated better with the ‘normal’ classroom.
While this is a fine approach, there are cases where the teaching needs to be so differentiated that it needs to occur away from the regular classroom, for the benefit of the student. However, equal educational outcomes and inclusion should be the end goal.
Inclusion in the classroom is something that all teachers should strive for, but it is so often very hard – and almost impossible to achieve. This is because the average classroom has so many hidden cultural ways of operating, that making it completely culturally inclusive would require a complete overhaul of the way a classroom operates.
There are many such cultural operations, some of which include:
- Reading and writing left to right.
- Maps that show the world as the west sees it- with America to the left hand side, and China and Asia on the right.
- Desk arrangements
- Hierarchies of learning such as the Bloom’s taxonomy which place comprehension and recollection at the bottom, and creation and evaluation at the top.
- Rote learning.
- Student participation
- Individual work.
All these and many more are practices we don’t think of as belonging to our culture specifically, but they can be very alienating to other cultures.
Thinking about ways around these practices to make them more culturally inclusive is the best way to make your classroom friendly to all students within it.
Making the world more culturally inclusive is important. What’s the best way to go about it?