Inclusive Practice is a term which means the practical things that we do, when we are working with people who use our services, which demonstrate our professional values, standards, and principles in action. In particular Inclusive Practice is about participation, collaboration, and including people: where individuals are fully involved in choices and decisions that affect their lives and in the matters that are important to them.
People who use mental health services say that being listened to, having their individual needs taken account of, and staff attitudes and values is a very important part of keeping well (Dunglas Research Project, 2005). The experience of participation is often as important as the end result. Participation itself may be an outcome. Inclusive Practice can benefit staff through sharing knowledge and learning new and effective ways of working with people. People who use services bring new ideas, and we are able to respond from a more informed position.
Inclusive Practice is good practice, and is also about a human rights and anti-discriminatory approach to mental health. Inclusive practice underpins anti-discriminatory practice and is the practical way in which we put our equality policies/agenda into action. * The learners. All learners are citizens and have rights and entitlements. They should be treated fairly regardless of race, religion or abilities. This applies no matter: – what they think or say – what type of family they come from – what language(s) they speak – what their parents do – whether they are girls or boys whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor. All learners have an equal right to be listened to and valued in the setting. * Equality and diversity My understanding of diversity is broad – it encompasses gender, race, age, disability, linguistic differences, learning abilities, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and cultural background and so much more. Inclusive practice is understood to be attitudes, approaches and strategies taken to ensure that students are not excluded or isolated from the learning environment because of any of these characteristics.
As a tutor, my role is to ensure that all students feel welcome, accepted, safe, listened to, valued and confident that they can participate in all activities. I need to be sensitive to the needs of all students. I am the protagonist in setting the culture of my tutorial and thus able to set parameters for creating a learning culture which recognises and honours student diversity. I have very diverse groups of students in my lessons. My approach to this as a tutor is influenced by my own experiences and assumptions and, in some instances, those of other students.
It is useful to reflect on this, as perhaps I may carry some negative or fixed ideas into the classroom. I need to be aware (beware) of my own generalisations and stereotypes and those perpetuated by others. I consider these suggestions for inclusive teaching: – When I ask a question, I make eye contact with all students – When listening to a response, I listen attentively – I treat each student as an individual – I call on all students by name where possible – I make an effort to learn names – I intervene when students show disrespect for another student – I use small groups to foster collaborative learning I encourage students to share their varied perspectives and experiences & create a supportive environment in which this can occur – I encourage students to know and listen to each other. – I avoid stories, jokes and comments that denigrate others * Lesson planning The group of learners I teach is a group of individuals who have own needs and abilities as far as learning is concerned. While planning a lesson I take into consideration learners’ needs and their ability to perform during the lesson.
To maximize learning opportunity for individuals I differentiate the lesson so that each of learners is not left behind and has a chance to learn something from a lesson. Considering learners’ previous educational experience and various teaching and learning strategies I create a lesson plan to facilitate a learning opportunity. * Teacher as a motivator As mentioned above, being prepared for a lesson through carefully designing lesson plan, a teacher motivates learners to participate in the lesson. Teacher’s attitude is also crucial.
Being enthusiastic and positive to what he/she is teaching places learners in a position to class a teacher as an expert of the subject he/she is teaching. Constructive feedback and being a good listener ensures learners that they were listened to. To become a successful teacher, a candidate needs to take interests in learners, needs to find a connection with them by being approachable and accessible at any time they need him. Getting learners involved in the lesson and encouraging them to help each other reinforces their learning and helps to check if they know what they are doing.
A teacher is responsible for providing a challenging but supportive learning environment so learners can see how much they know and what skills they need to develop. Using a range of teaching strategies and audio visual aids provides variation to a lesson and helps to deliver it to learners in a meaningful way. References: Dunglas Research Project, 2005 Reece I & Walker S (2003) Teaching, Training and Learning Roffey-Barentsen J & Malthouse R (2009) Reflective Practice in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Learning Matters.