Inclusive classroom- It is a “ Room for ALL.”. Each child has a right to get an education. An inclusive classroom is a place – where children learn with and without any differences. It welcomes all the children without any discrimination. All the children learn together.
What do you get in this article? :
- What is an Inclusive classrom ?
- Understanding of concepts with real life experiences of experts.
- Role of the teacher in different situations.
- Types of Disabilities and Role of teachers with disable children.
- How to promote inclusion in the classroom.
- Other Diversities and role of a teacher.
- Role of teacher in the Inclusive Classroom.
- Barrier of Inclusive classrooms.
- Benefits of Inclusive classroom.
- What is the Universal Design of learning?
Let’s take the example of a visually disabled child. If a child is blind. So what do we expect from his education? Parents may prefer to admit the child to a special school or Blind school. And he learns there is a better way also. But the same child has to deal with the real world. Like other kids –
- He also wants to play.
- He will also go to market some day.
- Going to bus the stop or railway stop.
- Have to cross the road.
Real life situation:
In short, like other children or human beings, he also has a normal life. Where he does the normal activity. And also deal with the normal people who are not challenged like him. And be a part of this society. So what should we do to make them comfortable in society? We need to teach these children along with other children. Like other normal children, we should provide the same environment to them as a general platform.
Here I’m not only just talking about visually disabled children. But also all the diverse learners who are disabled or challenged in any aspect. Such as :
- children from disadvantaged group
- religious diversity
- social diversity
- Gender biasness
- racial diversity
- physically challenged
- behavioral problem
- all types of disable children
Let’s understand it with examples of my real-life teaching career. During the span of my teaching career, I met many kids who needed help in some or another way. At that time, the concept of an inclusive classroom helped us. Or we can say we are directly or indirectly implementing these. But now we call it an inclusive classroom.
Situation : 1( Behavioral disorder)
I was a teacher in KV NO.3 Gandhinagar. The school is still very beautiful. I worked there for almost 10 years. In this span of time, I taught many students. I came in contact with many kids who really needed help. But one of the kids whom I taught I never forget. Because I personally did a case study on that child. He had a behavioral disorder.
The name of the Kid was Master Joy. But I must say the boy was very intelligent at the same time. Some behavioral disorders I noticed in him are as follows.
- Hyper anger issue
- beating , hitting , biting other children
- seeking attention
- conduct disorder
- Social discomfort- not having any peer friend.
- Screaming and shouting
That child was in class 2. I came to know about all these problems. Some I got to know by my observation. Some were from the complaints received. What you should understand is your role as a teacher. What did I do as a teacher?
Role of the teacher in a such situation :
Let’s understand it step by step. Firstly I called a child and talked with him politely. Ask about his parents and family members. Then any other issue he had at home or school. And At that time I was doing his frequent counseling. Without disturbing his study. And also without his knowledge.
The next step was to meet his mother. Counseling his mother and discussing his situation. Where I got a lot of help. Then I called the father and made him aware of the condition of the child. Where I succeeded and convinced the parent to give him medical treatment. And met the child psychologist and discussed his problems. But the topic is how I promote inclusion here.
How do I promote classroom inclusion here ?.
- During this session I always appreciate the child for his work.
- Never make him feel that he was not part of this classroom.
- Engaged him in work.
- Made him monitor of the class. Made him feel a sense of responsibility.
- Encouraged other children to play with him.
- Continuous counselling of his behaviour
- Gave him Reward for his good traits.
- Tried to provide him with a suitable learning place. Where he did not feel deprived.
- Gave him the same respect as others.
- Never scolded him.
As a teacher, your role in an inclusive classroom is not only to teach them. But also help the children as a guide or as a friend, Where they can share their feelings and emotions easily. They get a stress-free and enjoyable platform to get an education.
Further, you may use various activity-based teaching methods. Which helps the children to learn better. These types of activities can not only help special children. But also each child is present in the classroom. You can use fun learning activities. Further, you can use art integrated activities, Where you can correlate your subject with other subjects and teach effectively. Here I provide links to fun learning activities And Art integrated activities. Click on that and you find many activities over there. Use those activities which surely help you to make your classroom inclusive.
Situation -2 to understand Inclusive classroom-( Physical disability or any other disability)
Every school has such kids who are in special needs. There are many types of disability such as
- hearing disability
- mental health
- communicating and many more.
As a teacher first you should be aware of these kinds of kids. Because they need special attention and special equipment too. But we have to teach them along with all normal children. Here is what we do as a teacher to deal with such a kid.
Role of a teacher towards disable children in the Inclusive classroom.
- You should make them feel comfortable in the classroom.
- As per the needs of the child , you should change your teaching learning process.
- There are so many resources available for disable kids. Suppose :
If a child blind:
- Provide him with a braille script.
- use more audio aid for teaching.
- Use audio aid or braille for the assessment.
- Give them comfort with other children .
If a child is physically challenged :
- school should have inclusive school platform
- Where they have ramps for such a children
- separate toilet facility for them
- wheelchair for them
- conduct assessment in such a way that they do not feel an over burden.
- motivate them to participate in various activities.
- behave equally like other children
If a child has a hearing disability:
- use more video based teaching learning activities. more real life activities.
- can use the play way method.
- try to use symbols and sign language to teach them
- use more visual aids where they understand easily.
- make them part of a normal group. Let them perform an activity.
- provide hearing aids if possible.
Incident from my past : ( Promotes Inclusive classroom)
While writing about these disabilities, I remember there was a Nepali boy in my classroom. I was a class teacher of class 3 rd. The boy has a physical disability. Most of the body parts kept shivering all the time. So he was not able to speak properly. And while writing, he was unable to write properly. That was a tough situation for me. Because I don’t know how to handle this kid.
So I simply assigned one boy to look after his work. Even help him to complete his work. Other students also slowly accept him the way he was. Slowly he enjoyed the learning process. Because now he has more friends. And the children treated him normally.
As a teacher, I provided him with a general platform to study. Where he couldn’t find any difference between him and other children. I always encouraged him to participate in classroom discussions. I used flashcards, videos, MCQ to assess him. So he just picked up an answer. Even all the learning processes were arranged in such a way- he also could understand easily.
By making proper planning we can make the classroom a general education platform for all. Above Some of the activities are mentioned. You can use those particular activities for that kid. And make your diverse learning platform General for all.
Other diversities and role of teacher to make inclusive classroom :
Apart from the above disabilities, there are many children of diverse groups in our classroom. These children, directly and indirectly, face difficulties while getting an education. It is the teacher’s duty to keep every child fit in one frame without having any differences. Treat all equally. And encourage other children the same. We can find :
- racial diversity
- cultural diversity
- Gender biasness
- religious diversity
- economically disadvantaged group
In an earlier time or even nowadays, also at the corner of any classroom. These kinds of diversities can be seen. In many countries or states or villages, you find racial diversity. Where the children are judged on their skin color.
Some Akbar or Anthony have religious difficulties. Where others see him/her like he is from another planet. Anywhere any Parminder or Jonas can judge based on their costume.
Oh, she is a girl and can not go to school. She has to do some household work. She will get married soon. Girls have to listen to all these due to gender biases. Somewhere any Shasha or Shyam left the school as they can not afford the school fees. Other expenditure. You can definitely relate to yourself here if you are a teacher. So here our role is very important. Not to prompt these kinds of malpractices.
What should I do as a teacher to apply for an inclusive classroom?
- Treat everyone equally.
- Positive attitude toward the diverse students.
- Know each child’s weaknesses and strengths
- No gender biasness. Treat girls & boys equally.
- Don’t be judgmental.
- If a child is economically weak. Help them.
- Help each and every child to get adjusted in the classroom.
Above we discussed many situations. And the role of the teacher for that situation is to inculcate an Inclusive classroom. Now let’s look at the overall role of teachers in inclusive classrooms.
Role of teachers in inclusive classrooms.
- Act as a guide and supporter.
- Teachers should have a positive attitude towards diverse students.
- Provide suitable resources for teaching the learning process.
- Provide General platform for all.
- Make a small group. Teach them based on their need.
- Appreciate each child.
- Try to find out the hidden talent of the child.
- Use multisensory teaching.
- Help to develop self confidence in each child.
What not to do as a teacher ?- Barrier for an Inclusive classroom.
- Teachers have a negative approach.
- Biased attitude towards kids.
- Lack of infrastructure.
- Lack of facility.
- Vast and unsuitable Curriculum for all.
- Sometimes lack of funds.
- Teachers training- no trained teachers.
- Poor education system.
- No interaction between parents and teachers.
- Lastly, Teachers students ratio.
Benefits of an Inclusive classroom:
Inclusive classrooms not only help the with disabilities. But it also helps kids without disabilities.
- Social development of all.
- Provide great opportunities of learning.
- Have a general platform for all. Learn in common space with diverse and disable children. Promote inclusion in the classroom.
- Integration of family and other communities.
- Increase parent participation.
- Develop a sense of respect for all people.
- Higher learning outcomes.
- Learn team work and group work.
- Children learn to accept his strengths and weaknesses. Develop self confidence.
Now let’s discuss What is UDL( Universal Design of learning )?
Universal Design of learning(UDL)
UDL is a teaching-learning approach. Which gives equal opportunity to all learners.UDL helps a diverse group of students. Give them a place to learn and share what they know on a general platform. The three main principles of UDL are :
- Action and expression.
UDL offers flexibility to learn in the way they are. It is a barrier-free teaching-learning tool. Where all can learn without having any differences. The differences we discuss above. UDL provides many ways of the teaching-learning process where the teacher can represent the content. And students in the back represent what they know and what they learn. It provides the facility to all special needs kids and normal kids also. Facilities such as :
- Use of headphones
- Large prints
- Braille script
- Smartphones use.
- Audio aid
- Video aid
- Peer writing
- Draw a picture instead of writing or speaking
- Use of calculator
These are the examples that a UDL classroom should have. They are the ways of learning which teachers can use. In a way, it provides flexibility to learners. UDL (Universal Design learning) is an integral part of an Inclusive classroom.
Let’s sum up by believing that Inclusive classrooms are a need of today’s time. Where all the students get equal opportunities to learn. I try to cover most of the aspects of an inclusive classroom. As a teacher what is your role in the inclusive classroom? And using all above mentioned practical ways. You can convert your class to an Inclusive classroom. Lastly, I want to urge you :
“To get education is the right of every child. So Don’t be biassed or judgemental. They are also part of our society. Love them and see the miracle. ”