STRATEGIES USED IN INCLUSIVE LEARNING
By Bushra Abdul Sattar
In an inclusive classroom, instructors are aware of the diversity of students and work with students to create a safe and collaborative learning environment. Instructors use multiple methods to deliver course content and provide students with a variety of opportunities to share what they know. Inclusive classrooms recognize students learn in different ways and have valuable perspectives to bring to the content being learned. (Introduction, 2019)
An inclusive class does not mean a set of disabled learners instead it can have multiple elements of diversity such as cultural differences, gifted learners, religious differences, different types of learners and different levels of learning to name a few.
To maximize learning in a diverse classroom, the educator to begin with needs to be equipped with such knowledge to first understand and then exercise the necessary doings. The prime strategy for an educator to invest in the classroom is to deeply understand all the learners and build powerful interactions with them. This is one half of being an equipped educator. The other half is to have the formal knowledge on such diversity to be able to actually ‘help’ them be your class.
From there on it is a matter of applying and utilizing the knowledge. The educator can cater to all learning styles such as visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or social. In doing so, a lesson can have elements to suit all learners.
For example, a lesson in English Literature for a middle school age group can have a elements of the story telling where the educator reads parts of the story in a close knitted physical setting to cater to auditory learners. The educator can either pair them or group them up to discuss what was read and make their own notes or rewrite in first person to relate to the story. To fulfil the visual and kinaesthetic style of learning, a role play with costumes can be arranged for complete engagement of the lesson takes place. It may not be practical to carry out the example mentioned at every juncture, but a consistent effort of the mix will keep all learners have their yearning of comprehension fulfilled.
A strategy an educator can use to other sensitivities in a class such as cultural and religious differences is to create constant awareness. There is no better way than encouraging the various different learners themselves to speak and enlighten the rest of the class. For example, introduce the word diversity and make it an important part of their vocabulary. Further, have a ‘diversity day’ every month and dedicate an hour to add a themed piece of information from each one’s background such as cultural food, religious apparel, etc. Being their own advocates creates a sense of identity, invokes respect and acceptance of one another. This will also help better inter-personal relationships.
Another strategy an educator can exercise is to shed gender stereotypical thinking. Encouraging to defy norm based activities while still accepting gender differences is something an educator must first belief and execute in the class. Ideally before invoking thought into the learners’ mind-sets, questioning them of their already existing perception on specific gender biased topics and to further discuss by raising questions. This may provide a better insight and give an idea how to tackle and mediate such perception shifts. For example, talking about gender biased professions and gender biased expressions should be topics that need to be discussed in the contemporary classrooms.
An educator has to constantly encourage positive and healthy expression. Also, the educator can talk about psychological issues that may be faced and that have answers. These issues can be touched upon in age based intensity to avoid over whelming attitudes towards such possible existing sensations. Topics such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, broken homes, financial crises can be spoken about in intervals.