Teaching Resource for Inclusive Education – EDMAS 6025

EDMAS 6025 – Understanding and Supporting Young People

In this task you are to create a resource that demonstrates your understanding of inclusive education.  It will demonstrate the theoretical and legislative elements of inclusion, and build on these to identify pedagogical approaches, practical strategies and resources to move towards inclusion in education.  It also incorporates elements of collaboration with parents/ carers, respect and confidentiality, and how you could involve them in the planning and teaching process.  This task aims to provide a foundation of options to draw on for AT3, where you can draw on this knowledge and understanding to apply your knowledge as you plan for a class cohort.  This resource file can be thought of in four parts:

  1. Understanding development and issues that impact individual development
  2. Rights, legislation and inclusion
  3. Inclusive education pedagogies and strategies
  4. Developing connections to learning

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Teaching Resource for Inclusive Education

Childhood and Adolescent Development

Childhood and adolescent development have a significant impact on the education. This fact explains why it is important to understand various stages that children go through in their development in order to understand how each learner’s education is impacted by their development. Early childhood covers the period between infancy and 8 years. During this stage, a child undergoes tremendous growth and development. This growth encompasses physical growth and weight increase. There is a doubling of the child’s weight and height. There is also acquisition of many skills such as sitting, walking, sufficient hand-eye coordination, and scribbling, among others. There is also development of fine-motor skills which enables them to have a better grasp of such items as pencils and crayons. These children also develop their language and cognitive skills. This allows them to build a vocabulary of between 300 and 1000 words. Language development also helps to advance the children’s cognitive skills and their social development by promoting interactions.

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In the middle stage and adolescence stage, children undergo tremendous development that advances their growth even further. The middle stage covers the ages between 8 and 12 years. During this stage, children develop the skills of developing hypotheses and classification of information. Children also gain enthusiasm for certain fields and subjects based on their interests. There is significant social development and development of independence. The adolescence stage covers the ages between 12 and 18 years. During this stage, children undergo identity development. At this stage, there is also significant physical and mental growth. Sexual maturation sets in during adolescence, and adolescents develop a sense of responsibility. There is increased ability in the solving of abstract problems.

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Factors that Impact Growth and Development

Many issues can impact the growth and development of children. Hereditary issues are one of the main factors that play an important part in the development of children. Children can inherit such conditions as hypertension and diabetes from their parents. These conditions have a negative impact on the growth of children. The environment is also another important factor that is central to growth and development. The home and the school environment should be made in a way that positively affects the development of children. The impact of sex cannot be left out, as it shows that boys tend to grow faster than girls, while girls mature faster than boys during adolescence. Socio-economic status and nutrition also play an important part in growth and development. Children from poor background tend to grow slowly mainly due to malnutrition. A lack of a regular balanced diet means that children do not develop as fast as those who have access to highly nutritious diets. Developmental stage, such as adolescence also has a significant impact on development and education, as adolescents have high emotional challenges that need to be critically managed.

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Disability also impacts the development of children significantly. Disabilities are of various forms, such as hearing loss, blindness, learning challenges such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and dyslexia, traumatic brain injury, and developmental conditions such as autism and epilepsy. These disabilities make it difficult for children to grow and develop normally. As such, their normal life is affected, which includes education.  These disabilities may range in their severity, and thus children with disabilities should be managed in a manner that responds to the student’s individual needs. Creating an inclusive learning environment is crucial as it ensures that diverse learners have an environment that meets their diverse needs.

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Rights and Legislation of Children with Disabilities in Relation to Education

All children have a right to education as stipulated in law. Various advantages have been recognized for encouraging inclusive education that encompasses children with disabilities. For example, it ensures that children living with disabilities face reduced stigma in the society. Education also empowers them to be more independent and self-reliant (Tomlinson, 2014). According to the Australian Disability Discrimination Act, children with disabilities should have access to appropriate and free public education (Schwartz & Elder, 2018). Schools should be able to conduct assessments of each child in order to determine the individual needs that should be met. This legislation, which was enacted in 1992, requires that schools should have individualized plans for each child in order to respond to their specific needs. The schools are also required to design programs that facilitate meaningful participation of all children in the education system.

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The Disability Standards for Education of 2005illegalizes all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities in the public service. Public institutions are required to treat people with disabilities like everyone else, and ensure that they have access to education at all levels. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act seeks to ensure that there is equality in the public institutions, and that people are not discriminated on the basis of disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 helps to protect the rights and privileges of people living with disabilities in programs that are financed by the federal government. Schools are required to provide accommodation and support to living with disabilities, according to the legislation. These legislations help to guarantee the rights of all children to education. As such, children living with any forms of disability are nit discriminated against in the education system.

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Inclusive Education

Children with disabilities, just like all other children, have dreams and ambitions for their futures. They need quality education just like every other child in order to develop their skills and build their careers with full potential. Children with disabilities are more often than not overlooked in several ways, ranging from policy making to limitation of their education because they are often regarded as inferior species to those without physical disabilities. They thus face several challenges and barriers to education in form of stigma, discrimination and many others.

Inclusive education is one of the surest ways to ensure that all children are given equal and fair chance to learn. Inclusive education means that all children regardless of their backgrounds and disabilities are in the same schools, same classrooms and given equal learning opportunities (Arthur-Kelly & Neilands, 2017). Inclusive education system values and respects the unique contributions made by learners from all backgrounds and allows these diverse groups top grow together to the benefit of all.

Inclusive education brings with it a lot of benefits both to the learners and to the society as well. An inclusive education system promotes bonding and friendships among learners of varied background; this makes learning easier and fun and generally improves performance (Greenhow & Lewin, 2015). An inclusive education system grants access to the curriculum to all students in equal measure thereby alleviating discrimination. Enhanced skill acquisition and generalization is another important benefit that inclusive education brings, this enables all the learners to develop their skills that later enable them to pursue their careers. Last but not least, an inclusive education system motivates the disabled children to learn.

Inclusive Pedagogical Approaches and Teaching Strategies

Inclusive pedagogy is a student-centre teaching approach that aims at creating an exciting and fully engaging environment to all students regardless of their background, learning methods, and cognitive and physical abilities in classroom. Inclusive pedagogy has been shown to improve learning outcomes among children with disability when the faculty recognizes these differences and take measures to ensure that each and every student feels welcome and that they are just as important as other children. Two of the most commonly used inclusive pedagogies include differentiation and universal design for learning.

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Differentiation is a flexible learning approach when giving instructions to students. It features a flexible and adaptable curriculum that aims at maximizing learner’s potential. It involves features as simple as subtitles on a film and complex ones like media form. A differentiated classroom uses several ways to give instructions to students so that everyone has an equal opportunity to understand. A well differentiated teaching approach is adaptive, malleable, flexible, outcome based, oriented to student growth and success, recognizes learns disabilities and works on them, dynamic and diverse, believes in learners and empathetic.

To ensure that a curriculum is student-centred and well differentiated, the universal design comes in handy. Universal design is a way of thinking about learning and teaching with the aim of ensuring all students succeeds in their education irrespective of their physical and mental disabilities. Its principles are intended to avail course materials and learning experiences to all learners in the most welcoming way possible. The universal design guides teachers and other instructors to vary their ways of teaching so as to meet the learning needs of diverse groups of learners. The principles that guide the universal design for learning are: representation, action and engagement.

Provide Opportunities for Agency, Participation, and Engagement

There is need to adopt teaching strategies that promote agency, participation, and engagement. Learner agency helps to shift the responsibility of learning from being teacher-based, to being based on learners. This approach helps to inculcate a sense of responsibility in learners in order for them to be more conscious of the importance of education in their lives. This approach also ensures that learners can intervene in the learning process in a way that improves the learning environment and learning outcomes. One of the strategies of promoting learner agency is by creating a culture of inquiry and creativity. A culture of inquiry makes children more insightful and engaging while learning. It also increases their curiosity to ask questions on things that they would like to understand better. A culture of inquiry also ensures that learners can engage among themselves in questions and discussions in order to understand things as well as raise even bigger questions. Creativity also promotes innovation and invention in the learning environment.

Promoting learner participation in the learning process helps to create an equal opportunity for every student to have an effective experience in the learning process. It also helps to encourage students to explore issues from different perspectives. As learners will participate in various ways, teachers should understand each learner at a personal level in order to develop the best approach in encouraging participation and engagement. Some learners may participate by raising their hands and answering questions, while others may participate by asking questions. Some learners may also be more comfortable illustrating things on the board or by helping in development of teaching aids. The instructor’s goal is to develop healthy environment that embraces diversity of students.

Development and Recommendations for Individual Learning Plan

In implementing inclusive learning, it is important to develop individual learning plans (ILPs) that help in meeting the needs of each learner. The steps that should be followed while developing an ILP include: understanding the learner’s unique needs, set measurable and meaningful goals, plan the program, implement the developed learning plan, monitor and review the plan and the outcomes. There should be clear goals that should be achieved, such as a learner achieving a good level of social interactions and progressing well in class. While carrying out an individual learning plan, it is crucial to ensure that there are clear mechanisms for evaluating their effectiveness. This step ensures that it is easy to notice if the system is working or not. This makes it possible to make appropriate changes when needed for the benefit of each learner.

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Strategies for the Involvement of Parents or Caregivers

It is essential to ensure that parents and guardians are well integrated in the education of their children. This approach ensures that children are well supported while at home and in school. A good integration of parents ensures that instructors can meet the needs of the students based on the information provided by their parents and guardians. One of the best strategies for incorporating parents in the development of ILPs is the active integration of teachers in all meetings that focus on development of learning plans. In such a way, the parents will help in outlining the goals they would like to see met in the learning process (Arthur-Kelly & Neilands, 2017). Instructors can also help in containing expectations from parents by explaining to them the best approaches in attempting to meet the learning goals.

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