5 Ways to Work Towards an Inclusive Education System for All
The needed supports for students are often too briefly discussed between teachers, testing bodies and students and their parents. There needs to be a more thorough and systematic way of approaching a student with a disability, along with their parent/guardian when negotiating what the student needs in order to succeed in their studies.
1. The teacher or lecturer needs to understand the student’s needs in order to really understand them.
Students should be allowed to have a private chat with teachers before each planned lesson to see how they can be included in the activity. If there is any opposed barrier, then the teacher or lecturer should focus on the student’s abilities and also work on activities that strengthen their weaknesses. For example, for students with social anxiety or any other related condition, students may feel shy to express their needs publicly in class, so having a discussion beforehand will be beneficial for both the student and teacher.
2. Teachers or lecturers, please push your students and show them what is possible.
Please do not underestimate them or bully them. See the best in every student and not the worst. You never know what they are going through, so please do not judge them. Instead, work with them and be patient with their progress. Encourage them to do their best and strive for excellence.
3. The interaction between health practitioners and teachers/lecturers needs to be improved.
This is essential so that teacher/lecturer understands the student’s medical condition if necessary and how to deal with it. There should be more specific training for teachers on technologies and coping strategies that can help them teach the student in the most efficient way. This is different from student to student, so this also needs to be goal directed and specialized.
4. In the global education sector, there should be a “needs based funding” to support the student while in the classroom so they can work with their limitations.
We also certainly need more “subject specialized” aides and academic support workers. From my experience, I have had integration aides and academic support workers who wrote irrelevant or wrong information because they have no understanding of the subject matter. Some of the personal assistants I have worked with have left classes early because they could not be bothered with the relevant subject matter at hand or have deliberately came late to class. They had no understanding of what help I needed and what was required of them as a whole. I have also had support workers treat me without respect or say negative things about me. Some people who end up as integration aides or support workers are not trained for their profession. I believe it is the least favored profession and should be the most privileged and formal profession in the labor sector. This feels unfair and unjust as we are not getting the same amount of clarity in our notes as some of our peers.
5. Testing bodies should allow for flexibility when testing aptitude.
What usually happens is that these testing bodies are individual parties and may not have the same understanding as the school or university to what the student needs. There needs to be a better understanding of what a reasonable adjustment means and the individual student’s needs.
Overall, I think we need to improve the personal and professional inter-communication between healthcare providers, testing bodies, teachers, lecturers, tutors, parents and students so that we can improve educational outcomes for students. Every student deserves the best education we can give them no matter the ability, race or religion. We all deserved to be given the necessary and needed supports in the classroom in order to achieve our personal goals.
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