How to approach inclusion in the classroom?

 

What comes to mind when you think of “inclusion”?

Respect? Diversity? Maybe: empathy, tolerance, or open-mindedness? All these are fair guesses. But the question remains, are inclusive behaviours naturally programmed in our brains or do we learn them? Or perhaps we lose them as we become older?

Recently, I was wondering about this myself, and I want to share my thoughts with you.

Addressing bias

According to Edutopia, “bias starts as early as preschool”. The good news is that it can be unlearned. But how can we unlearn something that is deeply rooted in the brain?

First and foremost, it is crucial for us, educators, to spot signs of social bias among children from early years. We must do our best to create an environment of trust and respect by enabling children of all abilities to participate and collaborate.

However, eliminating bias is a long way to go. As teachers, we know that being able to see the progression of learners takes time. It will be a long process for the children to start thinking differently.

Nurturing inclusive behaviours

Being inclusive means being tolerant and open-minded, but it also means being able to respect rules, share, being compassionate and able to accept different hobbies and perspectives.

“Infinite diversity in infinite combinations… symbolising the elements that create truth and beauty.”

Spock

In order to truly know how to model and encourage inclusive behaviours, let’s take a moment to reflect on our own attitude and answer the following questions:

  • Do we use inclusive language?
  • Do we celebrate differences?
  • Do we focus on strengths?
  • Do we break down language barriers?
  • Do we enable ways of alternative communication?
  • Do we give learners opportunities to thrive and shine?
  • Do we enable all learners to participate and collaborate?

If you answered some of these questions negatively, first of all, do not worry – being fully inclusive is hard. The purpose of this mental exercise was to give you a clearer vision of what inclusion means and ideas on how to incorporate it into the daily life of your learners.

After you set the background with the answers to these questions, it is time to take action. Stay tuned for our next posts with some practical tips on how to promote inclusion in your classroom.

How do you teach your learners to be inclusive? Do you have tips you would like to share? Or maybe you are looking for inspiration?

Share your thoughts in the comments or get in touch with us here to connect with fellow educators.