Good morning to one and all of you present, my task for today is to enlighten you about what Inclusive Education is and what intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to learning and development are. One of the many challenges facing education in post-apartheid South Africa is that of realising the constitutional values of equality, freedom from discrimination and the right to a basic education for all learners, including those who experience barriers to learning. Under apartheid, learners were not only educated separately according to race, but a separate special education system served those learners with disabilities or impairments.
To address this and bring educational practice in South Africa into line with the international trend of including learners, who experience barriers to learning, in general or mainstream classes, South Africa has enacted legislation and formulated policy which establishes an inclusive education system. Inclusion is broadly understood as the process by which learners who previously might have been taught in a separate special education system, because of the barriers to learning they experience, would now be taught in regular schools that have taken the responsibility of changing and improving to provide the support necessary to facilitate access and participation.
What is Inclusive Education?
Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. Inclusive education is about how we develop and design our schools, classrooms, programs and activities so that all students learn and participate together. Neighborhood schools are the heart of our communities, and Inclusion BC believes they are essential for a quality inclusive education system. Therefore we believe it is important to support a public education system in B.C. Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. The Department of Basic Education is committed towards the building of an Inclusive Education system at all levels as outlined in Education White Paper 6:
Building an Inclusive Education System, 2001.
Such an inclusive system will facilitate the inclusion of vulnerable learners and reduce the barriers to learning, through targeted support structures and mechanisms that will improve the retention of learners in the education system, particularly learners who are prone to dropping out.
Benefits of Inclusive Education
All children benefit from inclusive education. It allows them to: Develop individual strengths and gifts, with high and appropriate expectations for each child. Work on individual goals while participating in the life of the classroom with other students their own age. Involve their parents in their education and in the activities of their local schools. Foster a school culture of respect and belonging. Inclusive education provides opportunities to learn about and accept individual differences, lessening the impact of harassment and bullying. Develop friendships with a wide variety of other children, each with their own individual needs and abilities. Positively affect both their school and community to appreciate diversity and inclusion on a broader level.
Why is Inclusive Education Important?
It’s important because as South Africans, we value our diverse communities. These communities start at school, where all students learn to live alongside peers. They learn together; they play together; they grow and are nurtured together. Is inclusive education for everybody?
The simple answer is YES. However, individual needs may mean that some students need to spend time out of regular class for a particular purpose. There are always exceptions, but they are in fact EXCEPTIONS: if needed, they are individualized in the student’s community school. What should I expect?
You can expect the school to provide a plan to support teachers and students through good inclusive practices —like collaboration, team work, innovative instructional practices, peer-strategies, and more. ************************************************************************************* We now move on to the Second part of the discussion what intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to learning and development are? Barriers to learning acknowledges that educational difficulties may arise from a number of sources, and may be intrinsic or extrinsic to learners.
What is Intrinsic Barriers?
Intrinsic barriers include physical, sensory, and neurological and developmental impairments, chronic illness, psycho-social disturbances and differing intellectual ability.
What is Extrinsic Barriers?
Extrinsic barriers are those factors that arise outside the learner, but impact on his or her learning. They may arise from the family and its cultural, social and economic context and include lack of parental involvement in education and family problems like divorce, death, and violence. Schools themselves may constitute barriers to learning when learners’ mother tongue is not used for teaching and learning and when schools are not safe. Therefore learners will experience barriers differently depending on the family of which they are a part, the extent to which their schools facilitate access and participation and the resources in the communities and societies in which they live.
Support for learners who experience barriers to learning can be understood as all those actions that increase schools’ capacity for responding to diversity Inclusive practice is an important component of support and refers to strategies adopted, technical support provided, structures and procedures applied and actions carried out in the pursuit of including learners who experience barriers to learning. A focus on inclusive practice, while not denying the importance of inclusive culture and policy, ensures that attention is given to what is actually happening in schools, rather than wishful thinking or rhetoric about inclusion. Intrinsic factors – born with problem
-physical/physiological impairments that may become disabilities if society and the system of education do not make provision for these learners (impairments, genetic factors, brain damage) -personality factors, especially types of temperament and unsatisfied emotional needs
Extrinsic factors – problem not in learners self but in circumstances they grow up in
-Environment – unfavourable socioeconomic circumstances, urban areas (apartments, little supervision), rural environments (poor school attendance), prosperous areas (bored, drugs, pressure) -Education – poor teaching (lack of qualifications, unmotivated or lazy), incomplete participation on the part of learners, inappropriate study material, inefficient school organisation, crowded classrooms -Language – many learners taught in English (not home language), often the teachers can’t speak proper English either. They perform poorly due to a lack of understanding -Culture – need to accommodate diff cultures, we learn, think and do things differently – keep that in mind (religion, language, food, sense of humour) -Job prospects – many learners leave schools but there is no jobs available so they get depressed and discouraged = underachieve at school
Schools of a variety of classroom practices that acknowledge the diversity among learners and differentiate according to individual learning suggests that these practices should be encouraged in inclusive classrooms. In these ways, schools can learn from one another and can increase their repertoire of strategies that enable support, address barriers to learning and provide quality education for their learners. Thank you.