Inclusive education is an opportunity for the social integration of all children regardless of their physical or mental attributes. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the most effective practices for educating students in inclusive classes. The paper is divided into three main parts. First, a literature review explores the sources used for researching inclusive practices. The second one delves into the essential characteristics of inclusive education, as well as the steps necessary to implement these ideas in the classroom. Next, potential barriers are studied, which are followed by solutions based on inclusive practices. In the final section, the impact on future practices is described with personal recommendations.
There are three sources, which provided information about the practices in inclusive education. The first is an article in the Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, “Educating students with learning disabilities in inclusive classrooms” by Ford. The second source is the report by the University of New Hampshire’s Institute of Disability titled “Essential best practices in inclusive schools”. The final one is the post in TESOL International Association’s blog “5 Characteristics of highly effective classroom teachers of ELs”.
There will be five characteristics, which are critical to achieving an effective classroom for all students. The first characteristic is classroom diversity, which manifests in the variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds (Haynes, 2016). The second is the encouraging teachers’ attitude, meaning that the same approach would be adopted to all students (Haynes, 2016). Parent involvement through regular meetings is the next characteristic (Jorgensen et al., 2012). The fourth one is the emphasis on interaction-based learning, which would necessitate students to communicate with each other (Jorgensen et al., 2012). The final characteristic is the accessibility of educational materials, which will help students with disabilities, such as visual impairment, to learn.
Overall, six steps will be taken to create such a learning environment. The first step in creating it is deciding to structure the classes with an obligatory diversity quota. The second step would involve a teacher regulating that at least fifty percent of the class should be composed of students of non mainstream background. Third, the teacher ought to express the same welcoming attitude towards all students regardless of their background. Next, the teacher would be required to organize regular meetings with parents to receive their feedback on the quality of their children’s school lives. The fifth step is to structure the curricula to maximize interactions between students. Finally, classrooms should be equipped with materials sufficient for teaching children with disabilities.
Maintaining an inclusive classroom presupposes three major challenges for a teacher. Firstly, some children will inevitably show more progress than others. It can be solved by pairing the better performing students with those that experience difficulty handling the program (Ford, 2013). Second, some students may be unable to perceive information due to physical disabilities. Alternatively, the practice of co-teaching can be implemented, which implies the presence of a second teacher who “provides additional support for those who need it” (Ford, 2013, p. 6). Third, some students may be introverted and perform better in solitude rather than in teams. A possible solution to this is differentiated instruction (Ford, 2013). It means adopting an individualized approach to each student based on the parents’ feedback.
Reflection and Conclusion
Overall, the future practice will most likely incorporate co-teaching and the individualized approach for two reasons. A second teacher facilitates education in a diverse classroom. Second, the individualized approach allows the educators to respect students’ differences and use them to their advantage. However, two current practices may be flawed and require reexamination. First, overemphasis on interaction may have an adversarial effect on students of Asian background who are usually introverted. Allowing students to work on their own would be beneficial to them. Second, one teacher is not sufficient for managing a diverse classroom. As more classes become inclusive, it would be recommended to use a second teacher as often as possible.
Ford, J. (2013). Educating students with learning disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education, 3(1), 1-20.
Haynes, J. (2016). 5 Characteristics of highly effective classroom teachers of ELs. TESOL. Web.
Jorgensen, C. M., McSheehan, M., Schuh, M., & Sonnenmeier, R. M. (2012). Essential best practices in inclusive schools. University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability. Web.