“We believe and proclaim that:
- every child has a fundamental right to education, and must be given the opportunity to achieve and maintain an acceptable level of learning,
- every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs,
- education systems should be designed and educational programmes implemented to take into account the wide diversity of these characteristics and needs
- those with special educational needs must have access to regular schools which should accommodate them within a childcentred pedagogy capable of meeting these needs,
- regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all; moreover, they provide an effective education to the majority of children and improve the efficiency and ultimately the cost-effectiveness of the entire education system.”
THE SALAMANCA STATEMENT AND FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION ON SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION, 1994
Being a teacher that promotes and practices inclusive education is vital in education today. Inclusive education isn’t just about incorporating children with special needs into the classroom, but also about honouring the MANY different ways children learn and retain information. The following are some styles of inclusive education that I have been shown and I plan on implementing into my classroom. Click the headings to be linked to further reading on these teaching styles.
Universal Design for Learning is all about how the children of all abilities and ways of knowing can come to understand and meet the curriculum. Not all children learn through text, not all learn through visuals. Some children express themselves best through physical expression, while others may be limited by how they can physically express themselves. For these reasons, among many others, it is important to understand how your learners are engaged and cater your instructions to that so students can get the most out of every lesson. This process of lesson-building is usually done before the students are in your classroom and you meet them one on one. UDL’s main idea is that the teacher needs to be prepared for any situation that may be thrown at them before the situation arises.
Differentiated instruction is similar to UDL in the way that it asks the teacher to consider all of the different learning backgrounds in their classroom. Assignments and learning methods should be changed to suit the children that the information is being presented to. Thus, the two carry some areas of over lap except in two aspects. This method encourages group work so students are able to work both with students who learn similarly and students who may benefit them by showing them a new learning method. As well, differentiated learning asks the teacher to continuously assess the classroom and make adjusts for new challenges rather than pre-planning before meeting the learners. For further reading on differentiated classrooms, check out Carol Tomlinson’s many books on the subject.