Inclusive Education: A Practical Guide to Supporting Diversity in the Classroom

Inclusive Education: A Practical Guide to Supporting Diversity in the Classroom

Inclusive Education: A Practical Guide to Supporting Diversity in the Classroom

Inclusive Education: A Practical Guide to Supporting Diversity in the Classroom

Synopsis

One of the ongoing challenges faced by school teachers at all levels is including students with special needs in regular classrooms. This is a practical guide to working with primary and secondary students who need extra attention because of disabilities or giftedness.The authors of this accessible and invaluable book outline the principles behind educational diversity and inclusive policies by:* Discussing the range of different needs teachers can expect to encounter in an inclusive classroom* Explaining the practical issues involved in assessment, planning and implementing an inclusive curriculum* Offering strategies for managing the classroom and promoting positive social relationships.The emphasis throughout is on ensuring that students with special needs receive worthwhile educational experiences, without compromising the needs of other students in the classroom.This is a guide for classroom teachers and student teachers rather than for those teachers who have specialist training in working with students with special needs. The strategies the authors provide are well-tested and easy to implement and based on real-life classroom settings.

Excerpt

What is the purpose of school? This is a question that draws many answers. And those answers point to different types of practices in the school and classroom. I've been thinking about this question for many years. In countries that consider themselves political democracies, most schools have mission statements that read something like, 'becoming a citizen in a democracy', 'lifelong learner', 'developing skills to be a valuable member of the community'. Yet, too many schools continue to structure their operations to assure another message—that democracy and community are only for some. The ongoing, systematic segregation of students by ability, race and class sends a powerful and well-learned message—one that needs to be revised.

Throughout the world, many people are developing a different vision for our communities. They see communities as groups where all members are valued, and all are included. These same people see how inclusive community building must start in our schools. Unless we teach our children how to live and work together, not only tolerating but valuing differences in culture, ethnicity, language, background and, yes, even dramatically different cognitive, social-emotional, and sensory-physical abilities, we almost always teach the opposite—systematic forms of segregation, oppression and elitism.

The champions of this view of schooling realise that having children with substantial differences learning together in an inclusive classroom is not about being 'nice' to 'those' people. Rather it's a fundamental condition for a good school, one that pays attention to both excellence and equity. But can you have both equity and excellence together? Loreman, Deppeler and Harvey clearly state that we can. The message comes through clear—excellence cannot exist without equity.

Inclusive Education is an important book because it adds a clear voice that helps teachers, administrators and parents visualise in concrete form truly inclusive instruction. The approach the authors have taken is helpful from many perspectives as it gives readers strategies and tools. I'd like to point out a few of these. Firstly, the issue of who we are discussing: children . . .

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