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Developing an inclusive education system education essay

Implementing an inclusive curriculum: This essay aims to review recent studies published in databases accessible through Google Scholar and University of Bristol Library Search. Only peer-reviewed articles were reviewed. It is possible that important and relevant research was not reviewed due to the large number of hits. Further literature was reviewed through forward citation searching. It seems that inclusive education, regardless of criticism levelled towards it can do no wrong.

Academic achievement and social functioning of special educational needs SEN students increases when they are part of inclusive settings e.

Implementing an inclusive curriculum: A teacher’s perspective

Is then opposition to full inclusion simply prejudice, comparable to segregation practices or apartheid? The answer lies in deciding what inclusion means and how it is handled within a particular system. This question is of particular importance to me as a teacher, as Slovenia is slowly moving away from a segregated education system to implementing inclusive curricula. I will attempt to review available literature and highlight the most critical issues in the process. Inclusion in practice The sentiment behind inclusive practices can be summed up by the Salamanca declaration UNESCO,which states that mainstream schools are the best setting for providing SEN students with an efficient and cost effective education.

It furthermore asserts that there are secondary benefits to including SEN students, such as creating welcoming communities and building an inclusive society. The evident discrepancy between the proposed goal of inclusion and the current state of affairs has shown a number of issues, including vagueness and unhelpfulness of disorder classifications, negative consequences of labelling, assessment difficulties and poor curricula and pedagogy in inclusive classrooms Hornby, While the list of potential and observed issues is long, the parameters necessary for the implementation of successful inclusive practices are as hard to define and much harder to achieve.

Focusing on the main points of confusion within the inclusion literature, we can immediately see that some confusion is generated by the lively debate occurring outside the scientific sphere. To give an example, labelling stands out as one of the more controversial issues Paton, Proponents of inclusion policies seem to propose avoiding labelling students for fear of stigmatization Hornby, This is a concern that has little to do with reality, as it has been shown that students with a specific diagnosis are able to receive targeted interventions and have a better explanation for their academic difficulties, benefiting self-esteem e.

It is, therefore in the interest of educators to label their students as precisely as possible, rather than either ignoring or using a generalizable label of SEN. This developing an inclusive education system education essay an issue-when a child is diagnosed as having special educational needs, a support structure must exist to provide the child with an appropriate education. The first step in providing such a structure is a curriculum. Key issues in implementing an inclusive curriculum: An appropriate curriculum for SEN students is, for obvious reasons, hard to design.

Providing SEN students with a non-modified curriculum might seem like a positive step, yet it fails to account developing an inclusive education system education essay the variety of disorders on the SEN spectrum as well as fails to recognise the unequal distribution of resources in a system. A national curriculum will therefore need to make provisions for SEN students, especially when the system is geared towards full inclusion Forbes, As inclusion is seen as a process e.

An effective inclusive curriculum, whether monolithic and inflexible or largely in the hands of local authorities needs to be provided by teachers, who in turn need to be trained and prepared for teaching SEN students.

This is unsatisfactory because, though I personally have learned a lot you run the risk of inconsistency. Research identifies the idea that SEN students will not comprehend the curriculum and that the curriculum must be covered, regardless of comprehension as specific issues in preparing teachers for inclusive practices where an inclusive curriculum is concerned King-sears, I must note that while the end result suggested that SEN students will learn more efficiently with the implementation of such strategies, teachers were unaware of the possibility of implementing them before the commencement of the experiment, suggesting that no additional training was administered before the start of the inclusion program.

Other recent studies suggest that there is a number of effective strategies for improving the learning rates among SEN students regardless of subject Foegen, Not only must teachers be aware of strategies they could employ in inclusive settings, how they are employed is equally important. An example study of UDL technique application concluded that a teacher must, in an inclusive setting, use both classical direct instruction as well as discovery learning an inductive form based on inferring rules.

These strategies are not always valid, as some of them predict that teachers will have access to resources such as teaching assistants, specialist teachers or simply time, which in Slovenia is not always the case. For instance, the aforementioned CSA technique hinges on 9 separate lessons administered in 30 minute blocks to achieve mastery of a single concept.

Furthermore, the UDL approach requires educators to provide students with flexible content representation, varied means of assessment and different ways of participation or engagement in the classroom King-sears, While most SEN students will be able to comprehend a curriculum, some might need additional instruction. Additional tutoring programs such as Class-wide peer tutoring CWPT might be necessary, although this does not in any way mean that teachers can absolve themselves of the responsibility of implementing the curriculum.

SEN students might have needs beyond what the developing an inclusive education system education essay can provide, especially where primary skills such as literacy and algebra are concerned. Comprehension of a curriculum geared towards ensuring competitive test scores in learners might not be necessary to SEN learners, especially since there is evidence of poor social inclusion amongst SEN students in inclusive settings.

This implies that curricula should be designed to facilitate social inclusion. We can conclude that the idea that SEN students will not comprehend the curriculum might be false, provided that teaching strategies, appropriate supplementary staff, funding and environment are available. Accountability The fact that teachers are required to cover the curriculum within a certain timeframe, regardless of SEN students ability to follow it alongside their peers is the second major problem that teachers face during the implementation of an inclusive curriculum King-sears, This is a symptom of a much wider issue-accountability.

Researchers note that when assessment scores among SEN students are particularly low, there is an immediate focus on the parts of the curriculum that are being assessed. An example qualitative study of testing SEN students in an inclusive curriculum clearly shows that repeated testing and make-up testing is the norm for at-risk students Meek, This is often perceived as a failure of the curriculum, particularly when statistics show that less than a third of SEN students in the US pass high school competency exams Defur, According to teachers implementing the curriculum, the curriculum goals for SEN students should be differentiated from simply satisfying test parameters.

Goals for SEN students should be specifically tailored and pursued with methods mentioned above Meek, King notes that this begins a vicious cycle of neglecting background knowledge necessary for understanding among SEN students, leading to poor standardized test scores, which in turn leads to increases in the pace of study by administrators King-sears,a situation I observed even in settings where SEN students were not included.

Educators should consider that points of entry for students might vary, depending on their previous knowledge and specific disability. Research shows that focusing on individual students, testing for mastery of knowledge and not for test content, testing for competency in particular areas that might be more accessible for SEN students and other changes to the testing system should be beneficial Meek, The point of standardized testing, however, is not torture of SEN students, but rather ensuring that students are developing an inclusive education system education essay fact benefiting from their education.

  1. This raises an issue-when a child is diagnosed as having special educational needs, a support structure must exist to provide the child with an appropriate education. Accessed 27 February
  2. We can conclude that the idea that SEN students will not comprehend the curriculum might be false, provided that teaching strategies, appropriate supplementary staff, funding and environment are available. When Education White Paper 6 was first published in , South Africa appeared to be following the international trend toward inclusion, but subsequent policy implementation has made little progress over the past decade.
  3. Phi Delta Kappan, 90 7 , —

Ensuring that students learn everything the curriculum has to offer might not be the most reasonable of priorities, as research points out that some students may master less content, but learn more than they would have if they had been exposed to every part of it King-sears, Is it then right to modify inclusive curricula and ignore standardised testing?

I must note that this solution might not be applicable in nations or areas with high student to teacher ratios or poor funding. Student differentiation Adaptive teaching of a curriculum hinges on the teacher being able to adapt it to a specific student. Without this adaptation, poor results on standardised tests might influence school rankings prompting unethical policies such as exclusion of SEN students from assessment King-sears, Adaptation or differentiation of the curriculum is then necessary, but how can it be achieved?

  • Schooling as a lottery;
  • Reflecting on 10 years of the right to equality in South Africa;
  • In summary, the Department of Education needs to hold itself accountable for the implementation of a policy that it created, especially since inclusive policies are of little meaning and use unless they are implemented and enforced;
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A recent study emphasizes the role of initial assessment systems in inclusion of SEN students. The European DAFFODIL Dynamic Assessment of Functioning and Oriented at Development and Inclusive Learning project was examined and questionnaires sent to a variety of educators, psychological professionals and parents in a number of European countries to determine how effective this differentiation of SEN students is and how students are assessed upon their entry into inclusive programs.

This clearly implies that any effective inclusive curriculum must be supplemented by a dynamic, process based evaluation of SEN students, not static psychometric tests.

Chapter 1. What Is an Inclusive School?

Is there then a need for individual programs and evaluations for each student? The actual strategies recommended for applying a curriculum in a differentiated way have been widely researched. An example study shows that differentiation need not be on the individual level but can be applied to groups of students with similar disabilities. Krawec suggests that differentiating students into groups of low-achieving, average-achieving and SEN students and then explicitly teaching paraphrasing and visual representation strategies to them might eliminate differences in ability among them Krawec, The research furthermore suggests that any such curriculum should be supplemented by real world problem solving.

  1. In addition to school- and cultural-level challenges to inclusion, difficulties associated with the implementation of inclusive policy appear to stem, in part, from the ambiguities within Education White Paper 6 Department of Education, Accessed 27 February
  2. Moreover, to appreciate disability, welfare and educational policies need to understand the risks of discrimination, continuing to rely on medical and psychological interpretations and define and measure impairment with reference to specific impairment groups, but not with any mindset of oppression or discrimination Barnes 2008. This is in line with the social model of disability that views disability centrally as a social construct created by an ability-oriented environment.
  3. Teacher beliefs are hard to change, especially with teachers that have extensive work experience Pajares, Since many schools charge tuition fees, it may not be economically feasible for parents to send their child with a disability to school, particularly if they have other developing children of school-going age whose prospects of bringing in some sort of income are much better than those of their disabled child.
  4. Realistic and flexible approaches are required for an inclusive environment, such as activity-based learning, self-directed learning, practical hands-on approaches, thematic approaches to topics and open-ended tasks Goepel, et al.

When the entry level of knowledge and ability has been identified, further monitoring is necessary to ensure that students advance at a steady pace and move on to more complex skills King-sears, CBM or similar monitoring system employs short-term and long-term achievable goals on an individual basis to ensure developing an inclusive education system education essay the curriculum is being followed at an appropriate pace.

Studies report that it is useful in any subject Stecker, While any such monitoring system will be time —consuming, it provides the teacher with the option of applying a truly differentiated curriculum. Both students that show low progress as well as those that are not being challenged enough can be taught differently, which I would argue is truly inclusive.

Secondary curriculum goals If the primary goal of any inclusive curriculum is to provide a basis for student learning and achievement, its secondary goal must be to facilitate inclusion. Inclusive education should produce happy, well-adjusted and productive citizens Hornby, While a certain segment of research paints a positive picture of SEN student social standing and relationship in classrooms Avramidis,other research suggests that SEN students experience loneliness, ostracism and other forms or consequences of exclusion more frequently than their classmates Bossaert et al.

A curriculum, inclusive or not, seemingly has little to do with non-academic focuses such as socialization. Despite this, research argues that a modern inclusive curriculum can provide social skills training to SEN students in a classroom setting. A study showed that social skills can be taught without context, in 20 minute segments using group-work, skill assessment protocols and homework assignments.

Implementing social skill training into the curriculum as an essential part of the program brings with it all the issues inherent in implementing an otherwise typical inclusive curriculum.

In the same study teachers implementing social skills training reported time problems the SSiS program required three 30 minute lessons a weeklack of traininglack of time for preparation and high student to teacher ratios. They also indicated that the introduction of social skills training into the curriculum reduced the time available for other subjects.

Teacher training and beliefs This brings up another important point.

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  • Inevitably, obstacles to inclusion will thwart progress in both developing and developed countries;
  • Teachers' experiences in a selected district, KwaZulu-Natal;
  • They also indicated that the introduction of social skills training into the curriculum reduced the time available for other subjects;
  • Teacher beliefs are hard to change, especially with teachers that have extensive work experience Pajares,
  • To summarise, inclusive education is not an argument for accessing mainstream education for the students who have previously been excluded.

A recent example study found that inexperienced teachers are concerned about working with SEN students and have had little contact with them before being asked to participate in an inclusive setting Forlin et al. This supports the belief that an effective inclusive curriculum could be facilitated by teachers with effective teaching practices overall.

A study observing core lessons in inclusive settings showed developing an inclusive education system education essay teachers that expresses interventionist beliefs also consider themselves more responsible for the performance of SEN students and hold that reducing barriers to access is one of their responsibilities White, This implies that no training is necessary as long as teachers are effective and consistently interact well with their students.

This clearly shows that successfully implementing an inclusive curriculum is dependent on providing training and imposing a consistent set of beliefs on teaching. Teacher beliefs are hard to change, especially with teachers that have extensive work experience Pajares, Whatever the case, research indicates that no matter the mechanism used to alter teacher beliefs, such change will not happen uniformly, nor will it occur without practical evidence that student learning has improved T.

Implementing an inclusive curriculum then does not hinge on teacher beliefs, but rather teacher training. A different meta-analysis, on the other hand suggests that teacher training does not improve achievement among SEN students to any significant degree T. Is there then a reason for teachers to try and implement an inclusive curriculum? Having observed education of SEN students in a segregated system, education in non-restrictive seems like a welcome and logical step forward, both practically and morally.

To do so successfully, a number of concerns must first be addressed. A quick review of the literature proves that the field contains several real issues, most of which will in the end be confronted by those applying the policy-the teachers. All the clusters of controversy dealt with above teacher training and beliefs, secondary curriculum goals, student differentiation, accountability and non-comprehension have a number of more or less plausible solutions.

The fact that education, for any child, is a complex and deeply personal experience combined with close public interest in education guarantees that many of them will be found wanting when and if they are applied.

The only way for a teacher to successfully adapt and at the same time apply a truly inclusive curriculum is a personal, individual interest in each individual student combined with a necessary shift in teacher education.