By Karina César
Inclusion is a way of living, acting, relating, interacting and thinking about others. Inclusion comes from a mindset that empathizes with different needs. It is accepting others the way they are by supporting and tolerating their differences. Those great differences that make us special and unique. What valuable and incredible words: SPECIAL and UNIQUE.
An inclusive classroom consists of students of different ability levels who are taught together. In an inclusive environment, we learn that people may look, learn or act differently. For the last 17 months I have been lucky to teach in an amazing inclusive environment where all members of the classroom not only respect differences but also value and learn from them. This is an environment that benefits all kind of learners where we recognize that everyone has different needs.
Inclusion has marked our lives in a very positive way. Each one of us recognizes the value of inclusion as an opportunity to appreciate diversity. It has benefitted Social Interactions, Self-Acceptance and Academics, among other areas.
Inclusive classrooms promote respectful and supportive interactions, providing a foundation for accepting differences and fostering positive relationships. Students face opportunities to learn and practice friendship-making skills. When positive social interactions are fostered and peer acceptance increases, all students show improvements in social skills and self - esteem. Each member of the classroom respects each other creating long-lasting friendships. Respect and understanding grow when all kinds of learners play and learn together
“We are all Different, Special and Unique”; it’s the phrase that answers many questions. It explains that we all have different needs and why students learn at their own pace and style. Academically, a classroom that recognizes different needs differentiates instruction by giving each student what he or she needs. Teachers meet everyone’s needs by presenting lessons in different ways, using additional resources and supportive techniques and grouping students according to their particular learning styles or abilities. So that all children can benefit, teachers can provide accommodations or modifications and co-teach with specialists. This means that students will learn at their level. Some students will have more academic responsibilities than others depending on unique needs.
Inclusion provides abilities to succeed in life. Students in this kind of setting not only have positive academic benefits but develop appreciation and acceptance for people who are different from them, enhanced self-esteem, help others achieve and build a society that accept differences and is able to respect people from diverse backgrounds.