Since 1992 the law has changed to allow all students, regardless of impairment, to be included in the mainstream classroom as a normal expectation. However, for many teachers this is a new imposition that was not part of their original understanding, and few will have had much formal or in-service education around inclusion.
While in-service is very important and Include provides several workshops in this area, often direct one-to-one support in the classroom can provide the skills and confidence to get quickly n top of a difficult situation where inclusion is not flowing smoothly.
Include will provide direct support in the classroom for teachers to assist with:
- curriculum and lesson planning assistance to ensure all students are included in the lessons;
- grouping of students;
- positive behaviour development;
- working with education assistants;
- working with therapists and other visitors;
- helping with friendship development;
- working in partnership with families
- other practical teaching issues.
The approach taken is always collaborative — the teacher is the expert in the individual classroom, whereas we can bring expertise in working with children who have been traditionally excluded. This only works when there is a joint problem solving approach rather than a ‘professional advice’ approach. We work from the belief that the skills and resources to solve any problem resides in the teaching staff and school, provided that the will is present. Our role is to work with you to demonstrate that this is the case.
Not sure what you are doing? Not sure that what you are doing is right for a child with a label? Getting confusing or impractical advice from visiting professionals?
Our fundamental working principal is that the teacher is the professional and the expert in the classroom. However, all of us sometimes find ourselves in novel situations that are outside our experience and we need some external advice.
For students with an impairment, while we avoid the use of labels and view children as children first, the impairment is still an issue. If a person has cerebral palsy, we can all see that he or she will have difficulty in mobility and/or dexterity and so will adjust our teaching and environment to enable the person to access education in the same way as other children.
For some other impairments however, the particular adjustment required is not so clear. For example, children with an intellectual impairment commonly have difficulty with abstract concepts so time, mental maths, object classification and other learning requiring abstract processing is likely to require adjustment to the teaching approach if learning is to occur successfully. Similarly, children labelled as being in the autism spectrum will benefit from adjustments to the teaching approach. Even for the non-labelled children in the class, many will struggle with particular ways of learning, but thrive under alternative approaches.
Include can advise on specific methodologies that can be used in the general classroom in a way that will benefit all children without placing additional demands on the teacher. By building skills in this area, the research evidence is that all students in the class benefit.