Inclusive education: what is it and how to make it a reality at school?

Inclusive education: what is it and how to make it a reality at school?

The term inclusion has evolved over time. Today, in the field of education, the aim is to offer a quality educational proposal to all students, guaranteeing at all times the presence (allowing students to join ordinary classrooms with the necessary measures and support), participation (learning with other people and have an active involvement) and progress (take into account different abilities and learning rates, providing equal opportunities) in learning.

Inclusive education seeks to develop an education that values ​​and respects differences, seeing them as an opportunity to optimize personal and social development and, in this way, enrich the teaching and learning processes, bearing in mind that inclusion is not limited to the educational field. , but it is a transversal objective in all areas of life.

How to transfer it to the classroom?

All this has given rise to open curricular proposals such as the universal design for learning (DUA), which favors the personalization of learning. It is not a work methodology or a specific form of classroom management, but rather an educational framework that allows a fairly wide choice of methodologies, activities, objectives, materials, etc. at all times.

This universal design raises the need to create flexible and personalized activities, tasks and content according to the reality of each classroom, with the support of new technologies to personalize learning and support.

Three principles for diversity

A universal design is based on three basic principles:

  1. Provide multiple forms of motivation and engagement.

  2. Provide multiple forms of representation.

  3. Provide multiple forms of action and expression.

These principles can generate great benefits in student learning, and can be applied in schools where other more ambitious changes cannot yet be assumed.

implantation instruments

To help educational communities in this constant movement towards building an inclusive school and making the right to quality education for everyone effective, instruments such as the inclusion rate.

There is also a set of legislative frameworks, at the international and national levels, such as the education for all (EFA)the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and, particularly in Catalonia, the decrees of organization of primary education of 2015 and the educational attention to students within the framework of an inclusive educational system of 2017.

Teacher training is key

Teacher training in inclusive education should serve to develop a higher quality education for everyone, improve the educational project, strengthen professional skills and provide an efficient and proportionate response.

In addition to financial, material and personal resources, it is essential that the educational community and, especially, the management teams have experience in the principles that make a school inclusive. Said management teams must bet on teachers committing to work from a perspective of professional inquiry and rigorously implementing methodological changes.

A systematic approach

For schools to be more open (with more flexible methodologies, which allow girls and boys to decide certain aspects of the learning process) precisely supposes specially structured practices, the application of evidence-based work, and specifying the objectives and goals. evaluation criteria. The cloisters must work in close collaboration, and also in constant communication with external professionals, exchanging knowledge, proposals, recommendations and points of view.

language and terminology

The inclusive school has an undoubted commitment to people who are in a situation of educational disadvantage, because they are, in fact, the ones who will encounter the most barriers to their inclusion. This disadvantage can be caused by situations of ignorance of the school language, by situations of socioeconomic disadvantage or because the boy or girl has been diagnosed with a disease, disorder or disability, among others.

In this sense, from the Spanish educational legislation it has been determined that, within the framework of the school, these boys and girls will have specific needs for educational support and that in these cases additional and intensive measures and support must be provided.

In relation to boys and girls with a recognized disability, there are discrepancies between those who propose to change the term disability to functional diversity. The term functional diversity is justified with the idea that all people are diverse in the way they function and, therefore, we would all have, to different degrees, “some type of disability”.

On the other hand, whoever defends the use of the term disability considers that this type of expression (functional diversity) erases the reason for the discrimination of the collective.

Given the need to know the diagnostic classifications of learning disorders, language disorders, development disorders, diseases or syndromes, it is important to share a common language for the entire educational community (school, external services, speech therapists, medicine).

Intervention of other professionals

To optimize the intervention, it is necessary to involve the family, social health agents and schoolchildren. If it is translated into practice, we will see that the following situations make a lot of sense, for example:

  1. That the guidelines for action recommended by psychology for a boy or girl with special educational needs be shared, included and linked to teaching practices, so that everyone shares the same way of acting, strengthening internalization and enabling the extrapolation across the class group.

  2. That the teaching team is informed of the phonemes that a boy or girl works with the speech therapy team, and that these are reinforced within the phonological awareness program in the classroom with the aim of improving generalization.

  3. That the nouns that are being worked on in the classroom, within the living beings project, are material shared with the physiotherapist, who can incorporate them into the rehabilitation session in many different ways, in order to strengthen learning.

In other words, the boy or girl always learns and in any situation and, in order to maximize their development, it is undeniable that networking is necessary in which objectives and guidelines for action are shared.

A longer version of this article It was originally published on the UOC blog.

Nadia AhufingerProfessor of Psychology and Education Studies at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and member of the researcher of the Cognition and Language Research Group (GRECIL), UOC – Open University of Catalonia; Ana Luisa Adam AlcocerAssociate Professor in the Master’s Degree in Learning Difficulties and Language Disorders, UOC – Open University of Cataloniaand Debora Aguilar Serranoresponsible teacher, UOC – Open University of Catalonia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. read the original.

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