Why Discuss Inclusion?
This article is an account of a professional discussion on inclusion between teachers, SLT, parents and carers. It is essential that inclusion is a subject that we discuss regularly. Inclusive education is an issue has an impact on every school and every classroom. It is an area close to many people’s hearts and can draw out quite strong emotions. I chose questions that hopefully, educators could relate to whether they worked in mainstream or special school settings.
Define Inclusion in 3 Words.
I merged the first question with a task asking tweeters to contribute their three-word definition of inclusion. We added these to a padlet in addition to tweeting. What is inclusion? How do you define Inclusion? Add your ideas in the comments below.
View the Padlet of the discussion here. https://padlet.com/joe_white1/bnif1jkesv7c
How do you define inclusion?
Jonathon started us off witha great definition of inclusion “access for all”
Anna continued with “fairness, everybody and teamwork”
How accessible is your school, classroom or learning space?
Some really good ideas coming through. Question 1 itself (How accessible is your school, classroom or learning space?) gained a contribution from Amanda Meyer all the way from Australia. Amanda is the host of #includEDau a weekly Australian inclusion chat who has designed her classroom to be as accessible as possible.
She reflected that her school was always working towards improving. Milot teaches his students across Skype, so has a very accessible classroom.
What challenges do you face in providing a fully inclusive education?
No professional discussion on inclusion could exist without discussing the challenges educators face daily. Amanda started us off with “Teacher knowledge, parent understanding and time constraints”. All of which a number of contributors agreed with. She followed it up with a suggestion that these could be overcome using “Through PL, tenacity and stubbornness”. https://twitter.com/243Rin/status/667437817740546053
Limited resources came up as an issue that would follow through into other answers https://twitter.com/bridgewillows/status/667439706251141120 . Polly (@pollpuddleduck) suggested that the range of needs in any one classroom may be an issue. This was echoed by some tweeters who did not use the Hashtag! https://twitter.com/PollyPuddleduck/status/667438146641072128
What support do teachers need from slt to deliver inclusive lessons?
- Coaching, professional learning, access to advice, partnership https://twitter.com/loumsanders
- support good practice in the classroom/work closely with families and ensure long term planning takes place to meet needs https://twitter.com/PollyPuddleduck
- believe that technology would enhance inclusion. Why not invest in getting students to have #tech in their classrooms! https://twitter.com/mirrenduh
- Excellent communication throughout the institution is essential to high-quality inclusion.https://twitter.com/ChrisChivers2
- Professional development. Investment in teachers’ skills is an investment in students’ learning. https://twitter.com/bridgewillows
Is it more important for a child to be included academically or socially?
Chris https://twitter.com/ChrisChivers2 echoed many of the answers stating “Know child, challenge, support and celebrate achievement within the community. A sense of belonging.”. Amanda also mentioned the importance of a sense of belonging. A lot of people said it came down to the individual’s needs but all aspects were important.
This is my personal opinion as well. Academic progress is often not the most important reason to be in school for many children. Louise mentioned the need to address issues around poverty as well, an issue that could be a chat all to itself. https://twitter.com/loumsanders/status/667443647240118273
Ben https://twitter.com/hengehall brought up the issue schools face in having to supply data for students with SEN that may detract from teachers focusing on the wider issues faced by vulnerable young people. https://twitter.com/hengehall/status/667444153219960832
Is there a need for special schools?
Playing devil’s advocate here. I work in a special school so I am biased. But there was a resounding agreement that the need existed. Suzanna https://twitter.com/sing0utsue said that they provided access to the specialist teaching some students require https://twitter.com/sing0utsue/status/667447270808358912 . This was echoed by Chris https://twitter.com/ChrisChivers2 stating the need for highly individualised education. Milot did not fully agree he made the suggestion they could be incorporated into mainstream schools. https://twitter.com/mirrenduh/status/667445506919030785.
Overall it was a interesting professional discussion on inclusion and SEND education overall.
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