“The world needs all kinds of minds” – Temple Grandin
Today is the international day of persons with disabilities and it is not an ordinary day to remember their rights but also a day to reflect what we have done to include millions of people around the globe in our society and also in our classroom.
First of all, Do we really know what means inclusion? I looked for some definitions and according to Oxford dictionary is the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.
After this definition, I tried to focus on educational issues, in which my research is focusing on incluisve education. Most of the time, we are not ready to include our students with disabilities in regular classes. Interviewing and observing some teachers and classrooms in Brazil, I have to say that it is a long road to get there.
Although we have technologies, methodologies and theories to improve our teaching skills, we still have a huge gap, when it comes to include our students in our schools.
And whether you think, it is a merely problem in Brazil, sorry but you are wrong! It is not only in the brazilian schools but also around the world. I had the opportunity to give a webinar at eTwinning Inclusive Education Group where we discussed about inclusive education and, I got surprised at some teachers and educators do not know how to teach children with special needs in Europe.
In addition to, they have to teach them and deal with students’ diffuculties by their own without any support from school. Fortunately, internet is helping us to improve and develop ourselves with many other teachers, who can share their experiences within inclusive classroom. So, #etwinning is one of these groups which is contribuiting to support teachers from EU.
Moreover, the importance of an inclusive education goes beyond our classrooms, it goes beyond educational issues, curriculum and so on. We have to bare in mind that is a fundamental human right.
Therefore, why not a curriculum in which will eliminate barriers and include all kind of minds, where our students will be assessed not only by tests or exams but also by portfolios, projects and abilities. These are the cornerstone of Universal Design for Learning. This kind of curriculum has overcome some myths, such as that special needs students can not learn or can not be included in a regular classroom.
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they can learn” – Ignacio Estrada
Nevertheless, It is the right time to discuss and reflect about inclusive education. Break Barriers and open Doors: for an inclusive society and development for all according to United Nations in 2013.
To sum up, I would like to suggest you, these two webinars discussing about Inclusive Education. Here they are:
- Susan Hillyard & Mercedes Viola Inclusive education – practically speaking
- Interactive panel discussion Inclusive education – practically speaking
United Nation – http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1515
Universal Design Curriculum https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/08/12/importance-universal-design-learning
Oxford Dictionary – http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/inclusion
Think inclusive – http://www.thinkinclusive.us/
IATEFL – http://www.iatefl.org/web-events/iatefl-webconference