Inclusive education is an approach to educating all students in a single classroom, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. It is based on the belief that all students should have equal opportunities to learn and participate in the classroom, and that the needs of individual students should be met through a variety of accommodations and modifications. This approach values diversity and promotes the participation of all students in the learning process.
Why is creating an inclusive classroom important?
- Children in remote outback areas may face additional barriers to education, such as ESLD, Special Needs, limited schooling experience, intergenerational trauma, limited transportation or limited resources. Inclusive education helps to ensure that all students, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, have access to the same educational opportunities.
- Being in an inclusive classroom can help students develop positive relationships with their peers and improve their self-esteem and confidence. It also helps to create a positive school culture and promotes understanding and acceptance of diversity. Students feel accepted for who they are and are encouraged to be inclusive and supportive of each other. Students from trauma backgrounds or low literacy can be reactive and keen to point out the flaws in others to defer attention away from themselves- in an inclusive classroom we teach students about how to be inclusive, a strengths based focus so students don’t act out or bully others for their flaws rather see them for their strengths.
- It helps to prepare students for the real world- Students in an inclusive classroom learn to work and interact with people of different backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives. This can help to prepare them for the diverse world they will encounter in the future.
- It can help to close the achievement gap- Children with disabilities are often more likely to experience poor academic outcomes, an inclusive classroom can help to close this gap by providing accommodations and modifications that meet the unique needs of each student.
- It helps reduce behaviour management issues- students will feel like they belong in your class, they will feel more respected, safe and heard. This in turn helps reduce triggers and increase engagement.
How do I create an inclusive classroom?
- Get to know your students- Take the time to get to know your students and their unique backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. This will help you to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students. You will know their backgrounds and strengths so that you can acknowledge them and promote them when appropriate.
- Representation- Once you know your students on a deeper level, you will be able to display role-models from people of the student’s background; whether that be First Nations, amputee, facial differences, Deaf, neurodiverse, female etc. You will be able to have bookshelf stacked with diverse books. You will be able to celebrate events and successes of people of those backgrounds. You will be able to organise guest speakers (Zoom or in person) from people with shared experiences, backgrounds and strengths.
- Incorporate diverse perspectives- Incorporate diverse perspectives into your curriculum and lesson plans. This can be done by including literature, historical events, and cultural traditions from different backgrounds.
- Be aware of cultural bias- Be aware of cultural bias in your teaching and try to avoid it. Be open to new perspectives and be willing to learn about different cultures. This is a really important point- and something you could ask your First Nations education assistant to help you spot and avoid.
- Establish a sense of safety- classroom expectations, systems and routines create safety for students in your class. These structures help you then have fun and get to know each other, they help you manage the differences and diversity in your classroom, reduce students interacting unkindly.
- Create a positive classroom culture- Create a positive classroom culture by promoting mutual respect, open communication, and inclusivity. This could be done through getting to know you games, team building, class building and brain breaks- we have a few ideas to do that here Getting to Know You, Brain Break Pack and Yarning Circle Discussion Topics.
- Provide accommodations- Provide accommodations for diverse students, such as extra support, language translation or interpreting services, or alternative assignments.
- Encourage student voice- Encourage student voice by providing opportunities for students to share their perspectives, ideas, and experiences.
- Respect privacy- Respect privacy and be mindful of the different cultural and personal beliefs of your students. This can include Law/Lore, who students can or can’t interact with, sharing information between students (who are likely related), avoiding shaming for diversity.
- Provide professional development- Provide professional development opportunities for yourself and your colleagues on diversity, equity and inclusivity.
Creating an inclusive classroom takes time and effort, but it is essential for supporting diverse students in a remote setting. By being aware of cultural bias, promoting mutual respect, and providing accommodations, you can create a safe and welcoming environment for all students.
We explore these concepts and more in our New Remote Teacher course- available on demand and self directed, or for groups of 10+ with weekly lives and support.
Loved this post? You might also like to read: 9 Quick Tips To Forming Relationships When You Arrive In Your Remote Teaching Role, 17 Behaviour Management Considerations in your Remote Classroom
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