Inclusive School and its Characteristics: An inclusive school is a school that promotes diversity, equality, and inclusion by accommodating and meeting the diverse learning needs of all students, regardless of their background, abilities, disabilities, or other differences.
Concept Of Inclusive School
It focuses on creating a welcoming and supportive environment where every student feels valued, respected, and able to participate in all aspects of school life. This includes providing necessary accommodations, access to resources, and personalized learning plans to help all students succeed academically and socially.
An inclusive school is a type of educational institution that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion by providing equal opportunities and support for all students.
Inclusive schools aim to create a welcoming and safe environment that values and respects diversity, where every student feels accepted, supported, and engaged in their learning.
This approach involves adapting teaching methods, providing individualized support, and fostering a positive and respectful school culture that celebrates differences and promotes equity and social justice.
The concept of inclusive education was first introduced in the Salamanca statement in 1994. Inclusive means to include or take in or become a part of a group. The principle of inclusive education /schools was adopted at the world conference on special needs for education.
An inclusive school is a school that brings all children with different abilities into one classroom, the school uses different types of teachers, specialist, psychologists and volunteers to help children with different abilities , fellow students can also help their disabled fellow students.
Definitions of Inclusive School
Here are a few definitions of inclusive schools provided by experts:
National Council on Disability“Inclusive education is the creation of schools and classrooms that are welcoming to and supportive of all learners, including those with disabilities, and that promote the full and equal participation of all students in all aspects of the educational environment.”
According to UNESCO in 2001The founding principle of an inclusive school is that any school must be able to welcome, in as natural a way as possible, all young people, adapting to the needs of each one. Inclusive education is concerned with all children but takes a special interest in those who have missed learning opportunities, such as those with special needs and handicaps, or else those belonging to ethnic or linguistic minorities. In other words, a school for everyone.
Council for Exceptional Children“Inclusive schools are those that provide all learners with access to equitable opportunities and support for achieving their full potential in academic, social, and emotional development, regardless of their background, abilities, or other differences.”
Characteristics of an Inclusive School
An inclusive school is a learning environment that welcomes and supports students of all abilities, backgrounds, and identities.
Here are some characteristics of an inclusive school:
1. Education for all: the underlying principle behind inclusive education is education for all.
2. Equity for All: An inclusive school embraces equality and ensures that every student has access to quality education.
3. Education based on diversity: Inclusive education focuses on the vision of diversification and not individualization.
In earlier times any difference from normal criteria led to segregation, but the case is different today. Each child is unique and they should be part of education for all instead of being subjected to different schools.
4. Eradication of barriers: Inclusive education aims to identify and eradicate the barriers encountered by students. These barriers arise from the interaction between students and people, policies, institutions, cultures, and social economic factors.
The main aim is to eliminate physical, personal, and institutional barriers that restrict learning opportunities. It also ensures full access and participation in all educational activities of every student irrespective of disability.
5. Universal Design for Learning: The school employs Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to create a learning environment accessible for all.
6. Positive School Culture: The school culture promotes kindness, respect, and empathy among students and staff. It also addresses bullying and harassment promptly.
7. Child-centered approach: A child-centered approach is used in inclusive education. The schools and teachers need to have a flexible curriculum, which can be adapted to the students and not vice-versa.
Teachers should use varied and improved teaching practices to accommodate all learning styles, making learning more interesting.
8. Proper resources and support: To achieve the objective of teaching-learning activities in an inclusive school we need proper resources and support from the government and the school.
It includes instruments, technologies, technical Instruments, trained teachers, additional teachers, students who support students, families, specialized teachers, as well as professionals from other sectors.
9. Personalized Support: The school provides individualized support, accommodations, and modifications to help students with special needs to reach their full potential.
10. Solution to the problem of segregation: Inclusive school has an education setting in which disabled children receive education along with normal children, in regular classrooms thus, inclusive education practically solves the problem of segregation of disabled children.
11. Relevant curriculum: The curriculum of an inclusive school should be such that it offers universal learning opportunities to all students and maintains a balance and response to the normal and diverse needs of the students.
This ensures equal opportunities to all, at the same time giving sufficient freedom to the school for defining the learning contents necessary to address the educational needs of all types of students.
12. Continuous review of policies and values: Inclusive schools or institutions should constantly review their values, organization, and educational practices so as to identify and minimize the barriers encountered by students to participate and succeed in learning and seeking appropriate strategies to respond to diversity.
13. Parents Family and Community Engagement: in an inclusive school are partners in their child’s learning. The school facilities and invites parental participation through regular meetings to monitor the child’s progress in the school.
The school works actively to engage families and communities in the education of their children, and values their contributions to the learning process.
14. Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS): The school implements MTSS to provide early intervention and targeted support to students who are struggling academically, socially, or emotionally.
15. Professional Development: Teachers and staff receive ongoing professional development to enhance their knowledge and skills in inclusive education.
16. Continuous Improvement: The school regularly evaluates its policies, practices, and programs to ensure that they are effective in promoting inclusive education and meeting the needs of all students.
17. Welcoming attitude: In an inclusive school all children and young people from local community are welcome to participate in curricular and co-curricular activities of the school.
18. Positive relationship: In an inclusive school, there should be positive thinking and an environment created for students to learn, in a healthy and positive environment.
An inclusive school is a learning environment that values diversity, promotes equity, and provides personalized support for all students. It employs a range of strategies, such as Universal Design for Learning, differentiated instruction, and MTSS, to meet the individual needs of students and create a positive and safe learning culture.
Inclusive schools also engage families and communities and provide ongoing professional development for teachers and staff. By creating an inclusive environment, schools can ensure that all students have access to quality education and are able to reach their full potential.
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