“Inclusive teaching builds upon a teacher's basic instinct to ensure all voices are heard and that all learners have a chance to participate fully in the learning process, by digging a little deeper into why participation imbalances exist. To develop this complex climate, teachers and other educational professionals must practice a mixture of intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness, regular curriculum review, and knowledge of inclusive practices ”.
Teachers in inclusive schools have the ability related to support all learners. They need to implement in practice the aim of transforming the learning capacity of their learners. Supporting all learners has to be guided by a vision that each student is able to learn, to develop talents and abilities that are relevant for adult life. It is about transforming learning itself to be prepared for a future where the ability to learn and adapt to changing conditions will be most important. In order to ensure that all children and youth are able to learn at the highest level possible, the objective here is to create an inclusive and flexible curriculum. The prior knowledge and experience of all children and youth need to be taken into account when enacting the curriculum. The curriculum needs to be matched to the interests of the learners in order to engage them. To achieve this, teachers have to develop and apply strategies that aim at enhancing the learning experience. They have to be able:
For these purposes, teachers have to use tools, methods, and strategies that help understand, respect and support each child as a person and as a holder of rights.
Inclusive teachers bring with them the attitudes, values, skills and knowledge, competencies, and agency to create enabling social and physical environment together with others. Teachers in schools wanting to become inclusive practitioners have the ability to engage in personal professional development, but more is needed to be involved in practices that aim at developing teachers’ professionalism. In order to become competent, inclusive professionals, the staff of a school need to create a community, where experiences are shared and used for peer learning, where people feel well and become more motivated, and where the collective agency can be developed to bring the school forward.
For this purpose it is necessary:
To achieve this, it is necessary to create a positive and accepting climate, supporting each other in resolving conflicts and reducing tensions.
The realization of a community of teachers requires a school environment where everyone feels valued and accepted. Teachers are also seen as learners at every stage of their professional development If practitioners are to become inclusive practitioners in a team of professionals, they will need an environment that supports their efforts toward becoming more professional. An atmosphere of inclusion needs to be developed where mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn rather than a lack of professionalism. At the same time, achievements are celebrated as a success of individuals and the group. The school needs to become a place of trust and respect, where students and teachers actively collaborate to promote learning and participation. True learning is not possible without mutual engagement, social interaction, and communication. To promote mutual engagement, inclusive practitioners have to invest in building trust and respect for each other.
References and additional information:
Before starting a professional development programme (PDP), it is necessary to explore what it could mean for you and your school. To this end, you usually plan a consultation or intake meeting with your management and other relevant stakeholders, e.g. one or more interested teachers, colleagues from your care team, possibly a coordinator, mentor, policy supporter, etc.
The following guiding questions can start the conversation about this.
Based on these reflections, you decide on the approach of your professional development programme. These guiding questions help you weigh up the extent to which these choices match your own professional learning needs.
After the (management) team decides to start a professional development programme, it is necessary to inform and involve all teachers in the school. This is best done about
Above all, transparent communication is needed about the trajectory's coherence with the school's policy. For example, you can answer the following guiding questions in this regard.
Once there is clarity on this, you can think together about the needs your colleagues experience in this respect. In this way, all colleagues can take ownership of this professional development pathway and you will arrive at a shared responsibility to realise the goals.