Inclusion is discussed at length nowadays. It is important to have an inclusive classroom that is equitable for each student. Most students spend a minimum of 6 hours a day in a classroom which they share during a year surrounded by mostly the same students. A classroom is a small community, and it is important that everyone feels valued and appreciated so that their learning journey goes by smoothly. Let us discover how teachers can make their teaching space a more inclusive one…
What Is Inclusion?
The general term of inclusion means the action of incorporating someone or something within a group or structure. In education, inclusion is making sure that every student has the same rights and opportunities without considering their background, individual needs or limitations.
Inclusion does not stop at the extra attention teachers give to students with special needs; it is the need of creating a learning atmosphere that is nondiscriminatory and suitable for everyone.
It is quite a challenge for teachers, knowing that every student has special needs. For example, some pupils may have problems expressing themselves properly in English if it is not their first language. They also need to consider children who come from low-income backgrounds, or who face different issues. Teachers need to make a space that is enjoyable for all of them.
Why Is Inclusion Important?
Inclusion is important as every student develops a sense of belonging towards a community, so they need to learn the basics of being in a community and a group. They must learn the mutual respect they should have towards each other, which will help them later in life. It allows them to work on individual and group goals, and it provides the ability to develop friendships.
How To Create An Inclusive Classroom
Set standards of behavior.
Teachers should instruct their children that different places have different norms attached to them and in a class, they should behave in a certain way. There should be a set of rules that the teacher should discuss with the students to set things clear from the beginning.
The rules should mostly be about mutual respect, for example;
- No violence
- No use of foul language
- Do not steal
- Everyone’s opinion is valid and should be expressed without ridicule.
These little yet fundamental rules will allow your students to be respectful towards their friends but also to know when to report it when they feel unsafe.
Now that the rules are set, there should be consequences whenever students fail to obey these. Remember that you should stick to these rules and not be indulgent as students will feel that they can break them with no consequences, thus making your classroom less inclusive.
Always remind them of the rules from time to time. Try to give them up to three warnings and if they are transgressing the rules, think about more serious consequences for the other children’s good.
Deal in a sensitive way.
You should research a sensitive way to deal with rulebreakers. Do not humiliate them in front of their friends as it visibly singles out the child which is far from the aim of being inclusive.
Let Them Express Themselves
Try to have a time slot in your planning to devote time to the children to express themselves. You will be able to get to know them, and whenever there are incidents involving them, you will be able to respond appropriately.
When you allow them to express themselves, you will be able to target their needs. Each pupil has their own needs, background and issues that teachers need to consider, and this will allow you to make your classroom inclusive.
Let us know in the comments what do you think of having an inclusive teaching environment…