I always attempt my best to maintain an environment where all learners are engaged in the process of learning. As a precaution, I always obtain details of the learners as much as possible before I start to teach them. This helps to obtain a very good idea about the nature of learners and their needs. Key elements of inclusive learning are identified as “including all learners in learning together, multi-level, authentic instruction for learners of diverse abilities, building community and meet the needs of children with behavioural challenges, providing support for teachers, maintaining a good relationship with parents/carers and be careful and thoughtful in decision-making and leadership and empowerment”. As a teacher I always try to provide a maximum opportunity for all my learners by considering their individual needs. For example, visually impaired students get a seat closer to the whiteboard and I am willing to wear an electronic device to help students who have any impairment in hearing. Direct and indirect discrimination are always challenged immediately and learners of all levels of abilities and all ethnic backgrounds are treated equally according to the best of my ability. Some learners might need extra support in assessment processes and it should be provided.
For example some learners are eligible to use a reader or a scribe in examinations. These needs must be addressed as a teacher as learners may not always demand for these rights. However, I have some limitations as a teacher in maintaining an inclusive classroom environment. For instance, I do not know the sign language and I need to improve my knowledge on certain special and learning needs although I have some knowledge on the most common needs and how to support them in a learning environment. However, I am always willing to obtain support from other professionals in situations where I feel that help can be of help for a learner to progress. Therefore, I conclude my inclusive teaching practice as an effective approach and I am constantly trying to improve it to help the learners better.
Analyse ways to improve own practice in using learning and teaching approaches to meet the needs of all learners.
As I am always looking for opportunities for improve myself as a professional, I have set some goals for myself to be achieved in the time to come. Some of them are related to my personal development and others are to improve my professional development and teaching abilities. Moreover, some targets are for improving my qualifications. As inclusive practice involves many different types of learners I need to make myself prepared for a range of learners to accommodate the needs of all students. I could learn the sign language and make myself familiar with the needs and behaviour of learners with special and learning needs although I have some knowledge and experience at the moment. I believe this is a very important task as 5.4% of all undergraduate students in the United Kingdom have self-assessed them as having some sort of an impairment in a survey conducted in 2005 (Adams and Brown, 2006:2). Personally, I did not have much exposure to work with learners with special needs or learning needs during the first 6 years of my teaching career in Sri Lanka as the process of recognizing learners with needs is not specific enough in Sri Lanka when compared to the United Kingdom.
When I think back about my school time (1989-2001), I can clearly think of some fellow students who were with us without any special support but I now realise that they probably had some special learning needs. Unfortunately, there were a set of students who were unable to read or write properly even when they were close to the GCE(Ordinary Level) examination and they were not given any support and they failed almost in all subjects and dropped out from the school. Because of my lack of experience in the childhood, I was unable to identify students with learning needs in the first few years of my teaching career. I gained that ability after exposing myself to teaching in the United Kingdom during the past 4 years and I am still working on improving that knowledge. Teaching resources and different approaches of teaching have always been an interest for me and it is a hobby of mine to collect teaching resources and I have a considerably good collection of books and soft copies.
However, I am still working on collecting more resources and improving them to make them more inclusive and helpful for all learners. My professional connections and the relationship with the fellow practitioners are quite good. Moreover, I read books and other materials to understand the mind-set of different learners and I expect this to be an advantage for me to understand and liaise better with the learners who obtain my service. I believe that these improvements can be of enormous help for me to be a better teaching professional and I believe this as an on-going process.