To answer this question one would have to first define the terms ‘inclusion, equality and diversity. According to Ann Gravells inclusivity is “involving all learners in relevant activities rather than excluding them for any reason either directly of indirectly” Gravells defines equality as “ the rights of learners to attend and participate, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation and age.
And finally Gravells definition of diversity is “valuing the differences in people, whether that relates to gender, race, age, disability or any other individual characteristics they may have”. ( Gravells, A. , 2008, pg. 18). The Government defined inclusion in 2001 as “… a process by which schools, local education authorities and others develop their cultures, policies and practices to include pupils”(http://www. csie. org. uk/).
The essence of the definitions of all three terms is acceptance it implies that the objective of teaching is to impart the knowledge and to assist the entire group in achieving their educational goals regardless of their background. As a teacher I must ensure that I do not allow anyone to feel marginalised or show favouritism and know that everyone is an individual with various abilities, needs, background and experiences and that all learners have the right to be treated with respect and dignity.
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Any barriers or boundaries to learning must be identified at the outset thereafter continuously monitored throughout the course for students to successfully and effectively participate in learning. The individuality and characteristics of each learner should also be identified and respected and if there is a cultural diversity in the group then the teacher should be culturally sensitive when delivering sessions. Adoption of such method can promote a sense of inclusion, equality and diversity at an individual level, which can translate to a more beneficial collective learning practice throughout the course.
Cultural and language differences; disabilities/age/medical issues, family commitments; lack of support, peer pressure, previous learning experience, travel issues, lack of confidence, emotional or psychological problems and learning difficulties, all these issues can potentially act as barriers to learning. (Gravells, 2008, pg. 16) As my subject will be Third World Development I could expect ‘some’ learners with extreme passion to issues of developing countries which can at times affect students’ morale and potentially result in dropping out or being very pessimistic – this could be a potential barrier.
As a teacher I will have to deal with such cases by motivating those students and include them in all activities and discussion by telling them that they need to learn about causes and solutions to developing world’s problem so that they can become part of the solutions. Promotion of inclusion, equality and diversity can be achieved by the teacher first having the knowledge of the existence of potential barriers then identifying these barriers within the learning group thereafter finding ways towards overcoming them.
Francis and Gould assert “It is important to recognise the differences in the learners we teach as these may influence how we interact with them. To act professionally as teachers we will want to ensure that we behave in ways acceptable to all our learners, taking into account factors such as race, gender, age, previous experience or background. ” (Francis M and Gould J. , 2009, pg. 70) During the course enrolment forms, discussions, assessments and individual learning plans can ensure that no learner is disadvantaged or subjected to unfair discrimination on any grounds in relation to accessing appropriate learning methods and resources.
Collecting this data also helps identify areas that may require referral to counselling, creche facilities, health advice or a basic skills tutor in order to overcome obstacles. Promoting inclusion by identifying variation in needs ensures that learners have equality throughout their learning experience. Data collection through assessment is valuable when analysed, acted upon and continuously monitored to ensure consistency in inclusion through equality. Advocating equality through more effective provision of resources according to individual need is essential to the learning experience.
Planning and implementing various strategies throughout the course to support learners with various learning requirements such as VAK style or learners with dyslexia may benefit from having different colour and bigger fonts on the teacher’s projector screen can help tackle exclusion and inequality. If there is wheelchair users on the course the appropriate venue for teaching should be considered. For students that have a disability (such as being blind or deaf, etc. ) it may be useful for the student to have learning support whilst attending the classes.
Carefully prepared resources can also help with inclusive learning e. g. handouts should be in a font size which is big enough for partially impaired vision learners. Any resources need to be in simple English (i. e. avoid unnecessary jargon). A good layout combining colours and pictures for easy reading. Using non-discriminating language, resources that echo the diversity of the group and that are adaptable to meet the needs of the learners can be a conscious, active and constant way of tackling exclusion.
Use constant assessment methods to give equal opportunity to all the learners and at the end of the course give the learners the option to evaluate the course. In conclusion, processes of inclusion are wide-ranging, dynamic and varied. They consist of: ? forging relationships ? building community ? increasing participation Inclusion in education is concerned with breaking down barriers to learning and increasing participation for all students, treating all learners on the basis of equality and non-discrimination. In educational and social settings of all kinds, working towards inclusion entails celebrating differences of: ? ulture ? ethnicity ? gender ? needs and abilities (http://www. csie. org. uk).
Bibliography Gravells A. , Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, 3rd Edition, 2008, Learning Matters Ltd. Francis M and Gould J. , Achieving Your PTTLS Award,: A Practical Guide to Learning in the Lifelong Learning Sector, 2009, Sage Publications Ltd. Reece R. Walker S. , Teaching Training and Learning: A Practical Guide, 3rd edition, 1997, Tyne and Wear Business Education Publisher Ltd. http://www. csie. org. uk/ Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education
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