What are the benefits of inclusion in our classrooms and how will KHDA Education inclusion policy affect schools in Dubai?
A functional inclusive classroom’s key purpose is to benefit additional needs children, by bringing together general educational teachers and Learning Support Assistants (LSA’s).
An inclusive classroom should benefit the needs of students in need of some extra help by giving them proper support without ostracising them from classmates. The benefits of inclusion in the classroom also applies to main stream students who can (when needed) get occasional learning support from the specialists on hand.
Some parents are concerned if their child is diagnosed an extra or additional learning support need, they will be separated from their classmates. However with an inclusive classroom it’s primary function is to accommodate both main stream and additional support students with the relevant general teachers and specialist teachers, who collaborate together to work with the children’s additional requirements.
The benefits of inclusion in the classroom is to view all students as the same, then only provide the extra support when it is necessary to do so otherwise all children are treated the same.
An Inclusion classroom is very much like a regular classroom and is actually referred to as the least restrictive environment (LRE) which is where extra needs children spend as much time as possible in the company of their classmates with the minimum amount of segregation.
The inclusion classroom can be structured in different ways for example sometimes they work on a collaborative team teaching (or co-teaching) model. This usually relies on an in-house resource that provides a full time LSA who is based in the classroom full time.
The alternative is to bring in an LSA’s or therapist at set times during the day into the mainstream classroom at regular times so the none of the children have to leave to go to another location.
The key benefits of inclusion is use the classroom for both main stream students and extra needs students treating everyone the same and bringing in the extra specialist resources when required but never separating the children or pulling them into another environment.
Parents need reassurance that they are proven benefits of inclusion classrooms where studies show they help all children with or without additional learning support.
Types of Inclusion in the classroom.
#1 Different types of Learning.
It’s common knowledge that we all learn at different speeds and in different ways. There is a term known as ‘Differentiation instruction’ when students are taught in smaller groups, to allow teachers to teach each child in the best way that suits that child. Teachers are tasked to meet all their students individual learning styles by presenting lessons in different ways and using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) such as multi-sensory instruction where teachers use visual aids. Children can learn Mathematics with colour coded visual objects.
Inclusive classrooms often have interactive boards where students can get additional stimulus by interacting with the board moving shapes and objects and writing with the finger tips. These can then be saved and converted into a reference video clip to endorse the learning from the lesson.
#2 Supportive Teaching Strategies
Supportive teaching can benefit all students not only those with the extra learning requirements. A professional inclusive environment has teachers that will combine specialist designed instruction to benefit both mainstream and extra support children, teachers may for instance use positive behaviour interventions and support (PBIS) to get their students to maintain focus and attention.
#3: Better use of Resources
Often the traditional classroom required children with extra needs to leave their classmates and go outside for a related services such as therapists speech, language, behavioural). A fully inclusive classroom sends the therapists and other related services into the classroom so the children are never separated. This way the general education teacher can also benefit from seeing the specialist teacher skills in action in their classroom.
#4: Reduced Stigma
The stigma really only exists outside the classroom among adults. Whereas children are not so influenced by society stigma and bond together more easily. They understand that we all learn in a different way and if we can normalise the classroom then children quickly adapt to any differences in Learning styles and find they have alot more in common with the other children and they helping them build and maintain friendships.
#5: Raising expectations
A child that has been assessed and is on an Individualised Education Program (IEP) will have been given targets based on the curriculum their school follows. Goals are then set for the subjects within the national curriculum as a whole to be achieved by end of each school term.
Whereas differentiation instruction and co-teaching in a mainstream (inclusive) classroom make it simpler for students with standards-based IEPs to be taught the same material as their classmates.
Some schools use both inclusive and non-inclusive classrooms and place any mainstream students with extra needs students without any consideration. Whereas other schools select and put students who will benefit from and environment of ‘different learning’ which is meeting the needs of all learners at all ability levels.
If you are interested to find out moreabout KHDA inclusion policy or schools in Dubai that run assessment centres, then you can learn by clicking the highlighted links.
Studies prove both mainstream (general) students benefit from the specialist resources found in an inclusion classroom.
The special education teacher can benefit all students in an inclusion class, not only those with extra education needs.
The Benefits of Inclusion also found that forming smaller groups within the classroom and teaching children according to their specific learning requirements.