Inclusive Education for The 21st Century

Inclusive Education is an educational program that supports students with disabilities and their educators by promoting a broad view of what it means to be “normal.” The program takes an inclusive approach to learning as it allows students to engage in tasks/activities that are at or near their potential level of achievement via appropriate adaptive devices and materials. It also allows educators to work together in partnership with parents, community agencies, and other professionals.

Creating inclusive learning environments for all learners is a social justice issue, and one that cuts across all disciplines and professions. A survey of college professors found that 59% either strongly agreed or agreed that they are not “very” or “completely” comfortable with the idea of teaching an undergraduate Course in Race, Gender, and Power.

But this is not just a social justice issue; it’s also an academic and pragmatic challenge. The 2015 National Assessment of Adult Literacy indicates that one in three adults in the U.S. is unable to read a basic text on their own and is unable to do so within six months of starting at school. In other words, this is a major national problem that requires a holistic solution.

This is where my book comes in: I’ve created an in-depth manual for educational leaders who want to deliver inclusive education for the 21st century—in multiple parts ranging from introductory concepts to advanced materials—and I’m delighted to announce the publication of these materials on Routledge’s website today.

The students there, had several needs that the school couldn’t meet. The school, like many other public schools, was looking for a way to create an inclusive environment with their students who had various special needs. In order to meet their needs, they needed to have the resources to accommodate them.

There was a rather large number of students who had special needs in one area or another: Some of them had autism or some other disability, others had ADD or ADHD, and still others had physical or mental health issues. They also all needed different accommodations that would help them succeed in school.

The school wanted to take advantage of the use of technology in order to make things easier for their students, but they didn’t know what they could do without causing any disruption within the classroom. They were not sure how they could make progress without disrupting the classroom.

They did not want to spend a lot of money on expensive equipment or software just to find out that it wouldn’t work with some of their students. They knew they needed something very simple that could be integrated into the classroom in a way that would work well with all of their students.

The 21st century has seen a huge change in the way people perceive children with disabilities and their place in the education system. In an earlier era, these students were often isolated from the rest of society and relegated to special schools or special classrooms. Fortunately, this trend has changed dramatically over the last 20 years or so. Today most states require schools to provide services to children with disabilities within the home school setting, thus enabling them to be educated alongside their nondisabled peers. This practice is commonly referred to as “inclusion.”

While inclusion benefits students with disabilities by giving them greater access to the general education curriculum and instruction, it also benefits their nondisabled peers by providing all students with a richer, more varied learning environment. As one principal stated, “It’s as though [mainstreamed] kids learn diversity before they even learn algebra.” In addition, inclusion teaches all students that everyone deserves respect and that people have different talents and interests to contribute. In an inclusive classroom, all students are less likely to be discriminated against for being different in any way.

Inclusive education is rapidly becoming the norm in many countries. This article describes the progress of inclusive education in the United Kingdom over the last thirty years or so, and notes some of the significant changes which have occurred. The article goes on to describe the main features of inclusive education, and concludes that it remains a work in progress.

“Inclusive education means all students, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses in any area, become part of the school community. It means that students with disabilities participate in the same activities as other students in their school. They learn to work together and help each other. They learn about similarities and differences among people. Inclusive education is appropriate for all students.”

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