Inclusion in the classroom

Sonu Khosla is working as Head of Inclusive Education/Special Education Needs Department at Pathways School Noida, India

Sonu Khosla, Head of Inclusive Education/ Special Education Needs Department at Pathways School Noida, India

A PYP teacher shares the multi-sensory approaches to teaching and learning that she uses in her school.

“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn” – Ignacio Estrada

image1As parents and educators we all believe that every child is special, unique and different from another. Yet in many education systems, the child has to fit the curriculum rather than making the curriculum suit the child’s needs. In the PYP however, the notion of inclusion give us that ray of hope as curriculum allows for planning that best suit the needs of all students.

This brings me to an important question: Is there an inclusive pedagogy?”

Differentiation is undoubtedly, an important strategy for inclusive teaching and learning which includes cooperative learning, peer-mediated instruction, collaborative teaching, classroom management strategies and social skills.

However, there is still room for some innovative thinking and collaborative learning around inclusion in the classroom. It may be that schools will need to re-evaluate assumptions about particular behaviour of learners, for example, a student who likes to talk while working is a helpful automatic self-expression.

image2Some strategies that we use in our school to support students in their learning:

  • altering instructions
  • adapting assignments
  • frequent monitoring and feedback
  • peer tutoring and mentoring
  • offering choice on a variety of materials
  • providing opportunities for students to develop their self-management skills
  • mindful grouping
  • carefully designing the spaces in the classroom
  • movement breaks

Sonu

 

 

 

 

Sonu’s previous experience  includes conducting cross-cultural training modules and In-company workshops on India as a Guest Speaker at ‘Royal Tropical Institute’ (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen), Amsterdam and Zuyd Hogeschool, Maastrict. She has also worked at the British School in the Netherlands and De Walvis School in The Hague. She worked on research projects and clinical trials on Micronutrients in association with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore (USA).

8 Responses to Inclusion in the classroom

  1. Naini Singh 3 July 2014 at 11:23 am #

    Other “accommodating” elements could be:

    where the teacher changes the learning objective if the student is unable to grasp it. Also modelling a strategy, allowing the student to showcase learning in different ways, teacher presentation of information suited to chid’s needs and classroom scheduling are other strategies that come to mind.

    • Sonu Khosla 3 July 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Absolutely Nalini. Modelling is a very important strategy which is used with differently abled. Also catering to the learning style like visual, kinesthetic, or auditory is very effective. Simple strategies like repetitions, undivided attention for 5 minutes, using whiteboards , sensory corner go a long way to help children feel included.

    • Jan Sabetti 18 December 2014 at 7:59 pm #

      Great insight into Inclusion as it relates to students with special needs. As a teacher of students with disabilities, I agree that differentiation is the most important strategy for the inclusion teacher. It is also the most important strategy for the Gen Ed teacher. I don’t think that many Gen Ed teachers are differentiating for the special needs students.

      • Sonu Khosla 19 December 2014 at 2:36 pm #

        Thank you Jan. Yes I agree that General teachers should be differentiating more not just for differently abled but as a general rule. This benefits a range of students with different learning styles. Measuring each child with the same yard stick does not do justice to a child. I think as special educators if we sensitize them and give them the confidence we can help our differently abled.

  2. Ganga 6 August 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    “Inclusion” is a term that’s becoming very “in” these days, especially in the Indian schooling context. But it is also true that only few schools, or more appropriately, teachers, are actually able to implement this effectively. Inclusion is alien to the traditional schooling methods which categorically excluded children with varied, specialist or limited interests, amounting to the child’s poor performance. Such children might have gone on in life to do wonders in a conducive environment – a matter purely left to chance.
    Inclusive teaching on the other hand, with adaptable/flexible teaching strategies and tools caters to virtually every child in a given classroom. Encouraging the child to express their learnings in a mode they are most comfortable with brings out the best in the child and does wonders for self confidence and original thought.
    It is obvious this is the future direction in which educators must move. It is also heartening that there is an increasing number of educators like Ms. Sonu Khosla,who strive hard to implement an inclusive learning universe in the classroom. Such learning environments cater differently to individual needs of children without categorizing or labeling them. No wonder children in such schools are confident, self reliant, team workers n leaders, compassionate citizens and expressive thinkers ..what every parent really hopes an education will achieve for their child!!

    • Sonu Khosla 6 August 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      I agree completely Ganga. Going by the strengths and weakness of the child is far more positive approach than labelling and restricting them in categories. Keeping the self esteem of the child intact is something we need to constantly work with. Moreover, there is ample research to support that “Inclusion” is not only beneficial to the differently abled but also to others as they learn to understand ,feel for them which is possible by interacting with them.(Lewin 1997, Hartmann 1998,Vaas-Gal 1998).Children do better, academically and socially in integrated settings (CSIE, 2002).

  3. Susan Hibbard 18 December 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    I think that in order for inclusion to work, the general education and special education teachers need time to collaborate and plan for the unique needs of the students. Every child is different so I truly believe differentiation is necessary. Inclusion is a good model for most students;however, sometimes students need a small group with less distractions.

    • Sonu Khosla 19 December 2014 at 2:42 pm #

      Collaboration is the key to PYP. One of the ways to collaborate effectively is through Google groups to match the busy diaries of everyone. Sharing of weekly plans between the Form tutor and Special educator also helps in understanding and helping the child more. I agree completely with ADHD and ASD smaller groups are more fruitful.

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