Response to: Oh, Canada: bridges and barriers to inclusion in Canadian schools

The topic of inclusion is one that has always interested me, I think this is due to the multitude of ways it can be handled. There are so many ways that as a teacher you can get it right or you could get it horribly wrong. The biggest thing I took away from the readings was how important being in a larger class, for the most part school is the first place that young people get to be in a larger social setting, where they can form and develop relationships outside of their family. These social skills are essential moving forward as students eventually head into the workplace. Looking back, I took for granted how lucky I was to always be able to participate in a classroom with all of my friends. I could not imagine what high school would be like if I was constantly removed and isolated away from my peers. For many students that are in need of special needs this is their reality, constantly being removed from class and made to feel different. The reading truly stressed the importance of this inclusion “Likewise, they defined social inclusion as each child being a full and respected member of the classroom community, including feelings of belonging, of being cared for and of being a part of something larger than themselves.” (Sokal, p.43). Now obviously some students do need adjustments to assignments and tests, but I believe it is up to each teacher to adjust his/her lesson plans to find ways for each student to have these adjustments while still keeping them in the classroom. A lot of the time it is the student who knows how best they learn, so it is up to the teacher to form the relationship to the point where these adjustments are made in the best way possible. The biggest barrier between full inclusive schools is understanding on the teacher’s part, teachers can be the biggest supporters of inclusive classrooms if they want to be. Moving forward I am excited to learn more strategies to promote inclusive classrooms.

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