A critical evaluation of an aspect of the inclusive practices, evidenced in the case study with reference to your own practice during school placements and wider reading.

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A critical evaluation of an aspect of the inclusive practices, evidenced in the case study with reference to your own practice during school placements and wider reading.

Inclusive practice in the classroom involves many different aspects which all teaching practitioners need to be aware of, plan for, deliver and be able to reflect and evaluate upon in order to improve themselves and for the benefit of their pupils and school environment.  Inclusive practice is vital as it ensures equality: all pupils are provided with the correct amount of support suitable for their needs to be able to gain the maximum benefits from their school experience, which will influence their entire lives.  Should a pupil not feel included in the most desirable manner, there can be many negative consequences resulting from their feeling of being excluded from their main peer group.

University of Bristol Graduate School of Education (2008 p48) considers the following principles essential to developing an inclusive curriculum:

  • “Setting suitable learning challenges;
  • Responding to pupils’ diverse learning needs; and
  • Overcoming potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils.”

Inclusive practice includes ensuring that pupils from ethnic minorities, different races and cultures, English as an additional language, gifted and talented, different social backgrounds, special education needs, pupils of various ability levels are all included in the class and received the required support in the classroom.  This could be in the form of additional support staff, classroom grouping, differentiation sheets, plus many more strategies depending upon the nature of the inclusion.  Ainscow (1999, p218) comments,

‘The agenda of inclusive education has to be concerned with overcoming barriers to participation that may be experienced by any pupils.’  

This is an excellent summary of the fact that any pupil may have some form of barrier to a fully inclusive education which needs to be overcome.

The case study shows that the student teacher attempted to plan for inclusion in more than one aspect.  Plans have been made for SEN pupils, possible gifted and talented pupils (higher ability), pupils from ethnic minorities and also differentiated tasks for the differing ability levels within the class.   The focus of this critical evaluation is to focus upon the aspect of English as a Foreign Language (EAL).  

The student teacher evaluated her lesson considering the lesson to have ‘went well and was very inclusive.’  As with all lessons and evaluations, there is room for improvement identified by reflecting upon your own practice and those around you.  

When planning for EAL pupils, the student teacher had assigned a teaching assistant (TA) to a group which contained both EAL and SEN pupils.  This could be argued that this grouping was not fully inclusive alongside the rest of the class.  Having placed the two needs together, it may have put too much stain onto the TA who had to support both needs within the group.  SEN and EAL pupils have differing needs so grouping could perhaps have been planned better.  However, the teacher may have planned within the restraints of the classroom, such as a lack of additional support staff.  During my own practice, I have been extremely fortunate to have three support staff available to support pupils if needed in my lessons (twenty four pupils, mixed year group).  This has enabled grouping to be arranged so that pupils requiring additional support work on a smaller ratio of pupils to support staff.  An example of this is having a TA to support a SEN pupil, and one to support an EAL pupil.  Both pupils were placed in a group of five pupils of mixed ability.  This allows for peer support and the TA can focus in on supporting the individuals who will gain the most from the support.  

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Ainscow (1999, p218) comments that inclusion is very frequently thought of as simply involving the movement of pupils from special context to mainstream, with the implied result of the movement being that the pupil is now included once in the new context.  I agree that this is very often the case, and that many professionals and certainly student teachers may consider inclusion in such as way.  For example, in the case study and in my own practice, very often, grouping of the ability levels is considered to be the inclusion required for certain pupils.  However, it could be argued ...

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