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Inclusive Practice

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Inclusive Practice is a concept that features throughout your course. This refers to recognising, accommodating and meeting the needs of all your learners. For example, a learner with a disabling medical condition may also have English as an additional language and be a single parent. Inclusive teaching avoids pigeonholing (profiling) learners into specific groups with predictable and fixed approaches to learning.

Inclusive practice is creating and presenting opportunities for learning in such a way that they are accessible to all learners. It also involves making what you teach and the way you teach it much more flexible.

Inclusive practice also includes taking into consideration different learning styles, teaching and embracing diversity. As a teacher, you also need to consider good communication and your behavior. You should be a role model and should stay away from using offensive language and jargon. It is also important to ensure you give all your learners attention and consider your class management skills. There will be more discussion about this during the next topics.

It is important for you to recognise that inclusive practice is not about making radical changes to a course and just focusing on under-represented groups.

While there may be learners with different needs in a group, the teacher has to find ways of accommodating this. There will be learners who learn in different ways, where a particular kind of teaching style suits them. Others will be quick to understand, and some may have missed previous lessons. There may be a teaching cohort or group, but it will be composed of individuals with their own specific requirements. This explains why there is no one way of teaching and why all teachers must experiment and add variety to their lessons.

The government is trying to promote an inclusive society by breaking down barriers. In the context of teaching, this means treating every learner individually and trying to meet individual needs within a group. You may or may not have to deal with learners who have disabilities, but you will always have to deal with learners who are facing some barrier to the achievement of their goals. There is a limited amount a teacher can do when faced with the reality of this, especially where the barriers are self-built, but in practical terms, it means that a teacher must make as many opportunities as possible to cater to varying learning styles and to keep the learners motivated.

Certainly, ICT has been seen as a way of getting individual learners working on their own within a group environment, but perhaps it does not always address other barriers which can arise. In some quarters ICT itself has been seen as a barrier to learning, especially with some older learners.

Linked to inclusive learning is the “Every Learner Matters” agenda.This is a shared programme of change to improve outcomes for all children & vulnerable adults. It drives forward the Government’s vision of radical reform for children, young people, vulnerable adults & families.This initiative raises awareness of legislation surrounding vulnerable groups and how policies can be applied in practice. It covers issues such as type of abuse that can occur and how to spot this, developing a safeguarding culture and creating a safe environment for individuals.

The 5 main points of Every Learner Matters are:

1. Being healthy – this outcome deals with the extent to which providers contribute to the development of healthy lifestyles in children. Evidence will include ways in which providers promote the following: physical, mental, emotional and sexual health; participation in sport and exercise; healthy eating and the drinking of water; the ability to recognise and combat personal stress; having self-esteem; and the avoidance of drug taking including smoking and alcohol. There should also be assessment of the extent to which appropriate support is available for both students and staff to help achieve these positive outcomes.

2. Staying safe – this outcome is principally about the extent to which providers contribute to ensuring that childrenstay safe from harm. Evidence includes complying with child protection legislation, undertaking DBS checks, protecting young people and vulnerable adults from bullying, harassment and other forms of maltreatment, discrimination, crime, anti-social behaviour, sexual exploitation, exposure to violence and other dangers. Ensuring that all relevant staff are appropriately trained.

3. Enjoying and achieving – this outcome includes attending and enjoying education and training, and the extent to which learners make progress with regard to their learning and their personal development. Evidence to evaluate this includes arrangements to assess and monitor learners progress, support learners with poor attendance and behaviour, and meet the needs of potentially underachieving groups. Also relevant will be the extent and effectiveness of the enrichment of provision by promoting social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities. Learners views about the degree to which they enjoy their learning life are taken into account here.

4. Making a positive contribution – this outcome includes the development of self-confidence and enterprising behaviour in learners, together with their understanding of rights and responsibilities, and their active participation in community life. Evidence includes measures to ensure understanding of rights and responsibilities, the extent to which learners are consulted about key decisions, and the provision of opportunities for learners to develop and lead provider and community activities. There should also be a focus on enabling young people to develop appropriate independent behaviour and to avoid engaging in antisocial behaviour.

5. Achieving economic well-being – this outcome includes the effectiveness of the ways in which the provider prepares learners for the acquisition of the skills and knowledge needed for employment and for economically independent living. Evidence includes arrangements for developing self-confidence, enterprise and teamwork, the provision of good careers advice and training for financial competence, and the accessibility of opportunities for work experience and work-based learning.