How to Teach Inclusion in the Classroom

The education system has come a long way, child poverty has reduced and more opportunities are available for children to have a better life. Nonetheless, there are those who still feel excluded in the education system. These children who feel excluded in their school could be disabled, poor, ethnically different or from other social strata, are all completely human and their rights must be protected and respected.

Every human being in the world has rights, whether they are the rich or the poor, whether they are adults or children. There are children today, who are still abused, neglected, ignored and deprived the rights they are entitled to. The saddest part though, is that 95% of the excluded children, would not be able to tell a teacher, their family or even a friend about the problems they face.

These children need protection, education, love and guidance on how to enjoy their lives properly. Teachers play an important part in shaping these children’s lives. One way a teacher could play a role in creating an inclusive environment in the school is by providing opportunities and ways for children to express themselves in art, sports or music.

Remember, not all children have the same skills and interests. Sometimes, children who are told that they should do certain subjects or excel in other subjects are just not able to do them. Teachers should accept such children for who they are. By accepting these children and encouraging them, they would be able to express themselves better and become better rounded people.

Inclusion in the Classroom

There are certain ways a teacher could be proactive in helping create a more inclusive environment in their classroom. Here are a few suggestions

Share a Classroom with an Excluded Child

Inclusion has to be a journey. This means that if the inclusion program is well run, all students will eventually be included. By sharing the class with excluded children, a teacher could provide that extra push to included children. For a teacher who suspects that an excluded child has great potential, providing opportunities will make him become even more confident in himself.

Watch Out about Your Own Body Language

The way a teacher speaks to a child, says a lot about how he sees the child. If a teacher says that an excluded child is a lazy bum, an undesirable and an embarrassment then he is setting the boundaries that the excluded child would live in. When teachers say things such as ‘you won’t amount to anything’, ‘what’s wrong with you?’, ‘your parents are stupid for letting you be so dumb’ etc, children start feeling inferior. These kind of words would make an excluded child feel discouraged. Teachers must make it clear that they are not insulting excluded children. Instead, they need to communicate that they believe in these children and want to help in any way possible.

Use Non-Verbal Communication

Another way teachers could boost inclusion in the classroom is by using non-verbal communication. Instead of judging a child on his handwriting, behaviour or his ability to learn easily, teachers should consider the way he talks, walks, and the way he communicates with others. For example, a child could be asked to write a story, draw a picture or make a collage. Instead of considering writing or drawing skills, teachers should look at the child’s style, his creativity and the way he expresses himself.

Lastly, teachers should create a safe environment where the excluded children do not feel belittled or humiliated. They have to realize, that children make mistakes and that removing a child from the classroom for such mistakes could be detrimental to his future. If the excluded children do not feel accepted, they won’t be motivated to pursue inclusion.

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