Most of us remember our school years with fondness. A classroom was a place where learning, friendships, and personal growth happened, paving the way for us to become who we are today.
However, time spent in school is never just fun and games. The need to fit in and keep up with the pace calls for developing essential stress-relieving skills, which all children need to learn along the way.
This period of adaptation, however, can be more challenging for some kids than others.
Without proper inclusion, guidance, and care, children with disabilities often feel left out and neglected in school, which hinders their academic, social, and emotional development.
This is why, with their well-being in mind, the idea of inclusive classrooms was born.
The aim of creating inclusive classrooms
An inclusive classroom is organized to support the different development needs of all students, regardless of their physical and learning abilities.
In this context, inclusive education consists of several important aspects:
- All children from one class spend most of their school days in a shared educational space;
- Children with disabilities are included in lessons and activities modified to meet their needs when necessary;
- Children with disabilities are encouraged to work on their tasks independently (while support is always provided along the way);
- Children with disabilities are also included in outside activities, such as recess, field trips, and assemblies;
- Most importantly, every child is treated as an independent and valued class member.
Inclusive education is based on a firm understanding that all children should be appreciated equally and deserve equal access to learning and growth opportunities. Therefore, this approach aims to promote learning environments that are unbiased and supportive of all children.
Benefits of inclusive classrooms
Is an inclusive classroom a nurturing or a hostile environment for children with disabilities? According to numerous research papers, it’s indeed the former. Whatever more, inclusive environments tend to benefit children of various physical and learning abilities.
Studies have shown that inclusive academic workspaces encourage kids to work together, understand and value different perspectives, and become successful learners and critical thinkers.
For children with disabilities, an inclusive classroom means:
- More social interactions and chances for new friendships;
- Higher expectations that lead to more successful academic paths;
- Increased parents’ participation;
- Better skill acquisition and better chances of inclusion in future environments.
In an inclusive space, students without disabilities learn to:
- Appreciate and accept individual differences;
- Enjoy helping and teaching others;
- Adapt better in future inclusive communities.
Best essay writing service experts confirm that spending time in inclusive environments helps develop a sense of empathy and boosts creativity and cooperation. After all, why would a child need the help from thesis writing service if they can practice and improve their writing skills with a good friend from their inclusive class?
Supporting interaction in an inclusive classroom
Creating a warm, friendly environment where all children feel welcome and safe is the ultimate goal of every teacher working in an inclusive space.
To organize such an environment, a teacher must prepare to:
- Design a classroom that’s pleasant and inviting;
- Create procedures that promote positive feelings in students;
- Plan strategies to empower students’ need for independence;
Also, remember that leading by example is the most effective tool an educator has. Behave around students the way you’d like them to behave to one another. Show them that kindness, cooperation, and friendship go a long way, and it will become a lesson that children will never forget.
Designing a friendly classroom
The physical environment where children learn plays a vital part in how students feel about their school. A brightly colored, organized classroom that is physically accessible for all students is a place that makes all children feel safe and adequate.
Follow the universal design principles to make sure your teaching space is well-equipped to support all your students.
Creating small “traditions” for your inclusive space
Enriching each day with a shared tradition that brings the kids together is a practice that can make a difference between a “good” and a “bad” day.
Before you begin teaching, you can gather the class to recite a segment of a poem or say a motivational quote that promotes friendship and growth. At the end of each class, you can either sing a song or reflect on what the children learned that day.
Planning strategies to nurture and empower children
Encourage students on their road to self-discovery by helping them understand what they’re good at and what they need help with. Teach them to watch their progress, so they can take ownership of their improvement over time.
Also, always be prepared to evaluate your effectiveness as a teacher.
General tips for inclusive communication in class
When a teacher incorporates inclusive communication skills into everyday classroom exchanges, they create solid foundations for positive and effective interactions between students as well.
Here are a few tips to guide you to becoming a more inclusive communicator and an example for all children in your inclusive class.
- Always face the child you are speaking to. Even if they come to class with a companion, ask questions and give instructions directly to the student. If the student’s vision is impaired, identify yourself and address the student by name. Always make sure to let this child know when you are leaving.
- Tone down the distractions (music, background noise) and pace your delivery when speaking. Make sure that only one person speaks at a given time. Make short breaks so all children can follow (and sign-language interpreters can catch up with what you said).
- Be patient and flexible when communicating with children. If one technique doesn’t work, try another. If a child has difficulties with formatting their sentences, don’t rush them—wait until they have expressed their opinion or shared how they feel.
- Be prepared to offer assistance, but never enforce it. Instead, let every child do as much as they can on their own. Assist them only after they accept your offer to help.
Maintaining a functional inclusive education doesn’t begin and end with making adaptations within the classroom. It’s a dynamic process that depends on the constant professional advancement of teachers, as well as the support of the parents according to SuperiorPapers.
Inclusive classrooms must also be built on a never-ending consideration of the barriers children face in accessing quality education.
To remove such barriers and provide a better environment for the learning and development of students, school communities should never stop evaluating their conclusions and practices. When educators are flexible and open to new ideas, they are in the right mindset to support and nurture students throughout their academic journeys.