What is inclusive education? It is the practice of providing education to all children irrespective of their abilities, religious beliefs, or gender. Children across the globe have a fire of ambition burning within and have colorful dreams for their future. Thus, every child is entitled to be supported by their parents and community as they grow, learn, and develop in their early years, and to go to school and be encouraged and included by instructors and classmates alike when they reach school age.
It is in favor of everyone when all children, regardless of their differences, are appreciated and educated together—this is the foundation of inclusive education. Different and diverse students learning beside each other in the same classroom is what inclusive education entails. They enjoy going on school trips and participating in after-school events together. It is the most effective way to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to attend school, learn, and build new skills they require to flourish. The distinguishing factor about this system is that it honors exclusivity and values uniqueness and promotes students from all backgrounds to grow alongside one another.
Every child feels secure and has a sense of togetherness in such a setting. Students and their parents are involved in setting learning objectives and making decisions that affect them. And school personnel are trained to be supportive, flexible, and are equipped to foster, encourage, and address the needs of all students.
Importance of Inclusive Education
Inclusive education is all about admiring each individual's differences as well as their distinct set of capabilities and weaknesses. It's more than just a school ideology; it's a valuable life skill. It aims to abolish the discriminatory attitude. Children reach adulthood who live in a world that is full of people who are not like them; learning how to communicate and work with these people is a key achievement of childhood, just as important as academic achievement.
Schools lay down the groundwork for an individual's future relationships as it is in the school environment that the kid forms his/her first relationship outside of the family. An inclusive school is an excellent preparation for real life because everyday social, physical, and intellectual interaction between typically developing children and their special needs peers results in students establishing:
- Increased sensitivity - Children who develop normal and an all-inclusive environment become more sensitive as they learn alongside children with special needs. They realize how certain words can be hurtful, and they practice compassion and understanding.
- Improved understanding of strengths and weaknesses - Children who attend inclusive schools learn that everyone has both weaknesses and strengths. They learn to value these variations and how to work together to achieve a goal.
- More patience - Inclusive education teaches children the value of another human being, regardless of appearance or sound. Physical or mental differences do not imply a lower value.
Strategies for Building an Inclusive Education System
To boost the advancement of inclusive education at the school level, there should be an adequate provision of security, housing, toilets, and drinking water in the school, while also developing the children's creative skills while keeping their unique qualities in mind.
The following strategies would be immensely helpful in the creation of an inclusive environment in school:-
- Learning about students and allowing them to learn about the educators. It takes time to build a rapport with the students. Providing opportunities for students to share their interests, struggles, and aspirations, as well as promoting teachers to share theirs with them, fosters a bond that can grow over time. Some teachers enjoy using surveys or journals to learn more about their students.
- Making a safe space for students to share is vital, this stimulates them to connect with their peers. When the students indulge in fruitful conversations about their feelings, it helps in building empathy and allows them to share different opinions in a respectful manner. The creation of a hospitable environment in the classroom strengthens social-emotional skills such as empathy and compassion as well as fosters positive interactions between the students.
- The use of diverse learning content that appeals to various student interests is just as important as the teaching style. Allowing students to learn about certain empowering social justice movements, history, or current events that highlight inclusive and just behavior through various mediums is edifying.
- The choice of study material and literature also plays a key role. The incorporation of stories that promote the importance of justice helps in eliciting positive responses from the students and sets a good example. Inviting guest speakers to share their stories also acts as a motivator and allows the students to visualize their role models and take inspiration from their experiences.
Key Features of Inclusive Education
- Allows differently-abled children to live in a less limiting and more effective environment, allowing them to live like normal children.
- It is beneficial at all levels of society and aids the creation of a healthy social environment and relationship between disabled and normal children. It reduces the social barrier between people and nurtures a sense of mutual collaboration.
- This is a system in which physically disabled children are treated the same as other children, this boosts their confidence and contributes to their development.
Inclusive education is no longer an opinion but a requirement. What necessitates its requirement is the need for holistic development of the children. It is essential for every nation because, with the help of inclusive education, the child receives an education in a general environment and tries to group up as a normal child, without feeling alienated, even though it includes gifted children, special children, and disabled children. The ultimate aim is to foster a community feeling and a sense of cooperation among all children.