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As future educators, we need to come to a realization that not all of our classrooms will be the same because each and every student has their own unique personalities. Some students are more quiet and to themselves while others are more energetic and outgoing. In addition, there might even be classrooms where they include students that are more physically/academically challenged or have some disabilities than your so called “average” student. Therefore, inclusion refers to opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms.
“Inclusion is important because through our diversity we certainly add to our creativity. If you don’t have a diverse classroom or a diverse world, you don’t have the same creative levels and I think our strength lies in our diversity.”
Studies show that it is very much important for teachers to include all students in their lesson in any way, shape, or form. This enables them to get creative when creating their lesson plans because not every student learns the same way.
The three main ways that students learn are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Usually, kids that are in elementary tend to learn best when given visual examples and actually participating in class rather than a regular lesson. For example, in a math lesson some students prefer to actually hold items rather than just seeing them on the board. Things such as cubes or colored ships can go a long way when when teaching students who are visual learners.
Because these classrooms are filled with diverse learners, the students can discuss with one another on ways they learn best. This enables the students to get along with one another as well helping them find things in common with their peers. Now because the students are getting along with each other, they start to create a positive learning environment for themselves and their teacher. In addition, “Many studies over the past three decades have found that students with disabilities have higher achievement and improved skills through inclusive education, and their peers without challenges benefit, too.”
Another factor that correlates with inclusion is the teacher’s attitude while giving instruction. When teachers do not have a positive attitude and are not excited to teach his/her students, then everything will be chaotic. Studies show that teachers who posses a positive attitude while giving instruction will have better control of their class as well as better performances from kids who are challenged. Overall, teachers have a positive outlook on inclusion when teaching students with and without disabilities. Also, parents are a major factor when it comes to inclusion in their child’s classroom. Statistics show that parents who are more educated tend to allow their children to be included in diverse classrooms because of the benefits that will occur on their child. “A comprehensive review of the literature (de Boer, Pijl, & Minnaert, 2010) found that on average parents are somewhat uncertain if inclusion is a good option for their SWD. On the upside, the more experience with inclusive education they had, the more positive parents of SWD were about it.”
It is important for teachers, and for us as future educators, to promote an inclusive and collaborative learning environment that celebrates the diversity of the students. Students benefit greatly from inclusion, both with and without disabilities, whether they learn visually, auditory, or kinesthetically. As general education students are exposed to those with disabilities, the students learn how to behave appropriately, develop an understanding of others, and develop a more positive attitude towards the classroom, which results in a more positive experience with those who might be different than them. Our job as educators is to ensure the engagement of all students and have everyone included in all activities. We must adapt to their needs and provide the necessary modifications to establish a successful and positive classroom environment, and physical education is a great way to do this. We learn from these students just as much as they learn from us.
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