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In the past many people were discriminated against and excluded because of their differences. Therefore, inclusion has become an objective in modern societies. Inclusion has formed in many different modules. In this essay I am going to discuss two main inclusion modules, the differences module and the similarity module. The differences module emphasises the differences inside a society or an institution and between the people, while the similarity module does the opposite of this. Indeed, any module of inclusion that is applied to any society would come up against some barriers and difficulties because of people's attitude towards the differences or the others. However, it is not impossible to break down these barriers. There are many different methods which could be used to achieve this goal such as changing people's negative attitudes towards the differences. Although it is not easy to find a solution, I think it could be possible to break down these barriers which will be demonstrated in the final part of the assignment.
Modules of inclusion: the differences module
There are many different perspectives toward the differences between the people in general and disables in particular, throughout the past until the recent time; people seem to stand in deferent positions in looking at disability. The people in this module consider the disabled as a different person. Thit is because they concentrate on their disabilities when looking or thinking about them and consider these disabilities as differences between themselves and the disabled. The disability would think about in this module as a deficit and this attitude towards the disability and the differences is influenced and formed by different factors such as social and culture values. Moreover, it is not only the disabled people in this module who would be considered to be different. Someone who looks different or who has a different belief or background or is a different sex or race would be thought of as different. Although these different people could gain a satisfactory degree of inclusion in society, they would still be regarded as 'the others' in this module. The differences in this module are the core of the context, which the disabled person is located on. In addition, when the differences are highlighted in society, it is not surprising that the gaps between these people are widened.
The people in the differences module for different reasons accept the differences as a fact and this fact is linked strongly to their thoughts and believes. Solder's stance on inclusion is that the planet is socially constructed. It is full of people who share experiences and symbols to relate to each other and to the world itself. He believes that our relationship with the world is based on the way we interact with the people living in it. This interaction helps us to develop an opinion of the people around us and of ourselves. Therefore, the way a disability is defined depends on the way we view disabilities in general. It can be said that disability according to Soder is just disability in the eye of the people who looking at it as disability. We in fact understand the disabilities by interpretations made by the social values and beliefs (Soder, 1989). I believe and as it has mentioned in the previous paragraph these thoughts and believes will expand the gap between the people.
The existence of the difference in this module is not only made by our understanding and believes which formed during a long period of time but sometimes we create them on purpose. The particularism theory supports what has been said about the constructing of differences and it has been discussed in depth by Thompson and Hoggett (1996). This theory states that it is essential to be able to differentiate between people in society. For example, certain forms of employment should require a person to have a specific set of characteristics or features. This is not the only example where the differences have been advocated and supported. The advocators for this theory support the notion of stressing the difference and believe it has advantages and sometimes they invite to apply it in different institutions in the society such as, schools.
Spurgeon (2007) is in agreement with the exclusion for some students in the schools. . He claimed that inclusion should not only be focused on in schools. It is true that as individuals although we spend a vast amount of time in educational institutions, we spend the majority of our time interacting in society. Of course education is valuable, but it can be seen as getting ready to enter the real world.
According to Spurgeon (2007), inclusion is both students interacting with other students who have different backgrounds, cultures, abilities and beliefs as well as students studying with other students who thus share the same experience as them. In other words, students who admit their differences and who look at themselves as being different in inclusion situations should be given the right to be isolated in educational institutions if they so wish. However, it is important to question the impact of this educational division on the wider society. It has been noted that the behaviour and attitude of teachers and students inside schools is an accurate representation of their attitude in the wider community. Thus, in my opinion if there is exclusion in a school this will also be manifested outside school.
Regarding exclusion in schools, the differences module differentiates between the students in the teaching method and the students in the classroom. Lewis and Norwich (2005) classified three kinds of teaching methods to meet the students' differences: common to all learners, specific to groups and specific to individuals. They had several concerns, namely meeting everyone's needs inside schools and changing the teaching methods to tackle the differences in the learning process. Based on this division in the students' needs, two contrasting standpoints to meet the students' needs were formed. The first one is the "general differences" and the second is the "unique differences". In the general differences the teaching method would be based on the needs for all learners. Also, specific teaching methods for groups, such as special education needs students in addition to individual needs inside the group would be created. The following diagram illustrates the teaching process in the general differences method.
A to Z students.
Group the students then use different teaching methods for each group.
P to Z students with special needs: adaptation here is used for individual needs.
A to O non-disabled students.
"H" student has a weakness in mathematics which required focusing on mathematics and doing more exercises.
"P" student is deaf and needs different teaching methods and a different type of support.
It is to be expected that it is the people who do not have a disability that look at people with a disability differently. However, similarly, disabled people also put themselves in a different category. This could be because they have low self-esteem as the following quote shows. "If I did not have a disability I would be a different personâ€¦I am a better personâ€¦I could never be that way if I was a disabled person" (Darling and Herkert, 2004 p. 2). This quote is taken from an interview where a disabled person was talking about how he perceived himself. I used to work in a mainstream school and one of my students asked me why we had separate classes on this floor while they (non-disabled students) studied on the first and second floors. I repeated the question again and asked the rest of the students in the class about why they thought they were being isolated in a different class on this floor. One answered by saying that the school had created a class for them because he and another student couldn't walk up the stairs. Another said he thought it was because the other students were more intelligent than them which really shocked me. The opinion that these students had about themselves lead me to realise that some of them had admitted the differences and had somehow drawn a boundary between themselves and the non-disabled students.
Modules of inclusion: the similarity module
Everyone should be able to live a life that is as close to normal as possible which is as equal as possible to the lives of others. We are all human beings, no matter what we look like or how powerful or rich we are. It doesn't matter what beliefs we have or what ideology we follow and the extent of our ability or disability is irrelevant. We all need each other; nobody would be able to live in our modern world completely independently without the presence of others in his or her life. In my opinion, the target of achieving inclusion should not stop when everyone has been included in the same institution or when everyone has received the same services, as was discussed in the first part of this essay. We have to remove the boundaries between people to ensure the highest possible degree of inclusion can be achieved.
In this section I intend to demonstrate that all human beings are alike and that they only have a small number of differences. To illustrate, it is highly unlikely that it will be possible to find a group of people with precisely the same physical characteristics. In other words, I believe that if we focus on the differences between people rather than the similarities, we would find more than we could have ever expected, because as previously mentioned everybody is different from each other to a certain degree, whether this is their features, attitude or beliefs. Therefore, it can be concluded from what has just been discussed above that all people are the same. There are a large number of people who support the similarity notion as can be seen in this quote: "All people are people and as far as I can see you are all related to me that is why I say that all people are equal" (Disability Equality in Education, 2004 p. 45 this quotation is taken from a conversation with a disabled person). Similarly, one disabled child who was being educated at a comprehensive school said "Here they treat me just like all the other pupils, but also provide the backup that I need too" (Thomas, Vaughan, 2004 p.180). People with a disability made the above-mentioned statements. These quotations illustrate what I meant by saying the highest possible degree of inclusion in an earlier part of this essay.
In term of inclusion in education and as it has been illustrated in the first part that some students have been isolated because of their differences, In this module it is not the case. The students are strongly encouraged to study together in one school and even in one classroom despite their differences. Furthermore, by delving into the issue of inclusion inside schools and considering the teaching methods used we would discover that they are different from the methods in the module of differences. In the previous module the teaching methods are created for all the students' needs in general and they are also adapted for groups of students who have similar experiences such as special education needs, whereas their individuals needs not on the foreground. In this module the teaching methods would be created by considering the needs of all the students in general and by adapting some of them based on the individual's needs. The group's needs are neglected in this teaching method (Lewis et al., 2005).
The two modules differ from each other. The first module outlines the differences between people and group them depend on their conditions where as in the similarity module the differences are taking in the consideration but not for labelling, but for ensuring the success for the inclusion. It is important to remember that when differences between individual people are highlighted this does not mean that they are being excluded but sometimes it is required ensuring a higher degree of inclusion for some people by tackling their unique differences. Hetherington, and Munro (1997) stated that differences are fashionable; they should be accepted and considered as 'diversity'.
A significant fact is that behaving differently towards a person with a disability can have a negative impact on them, but ensuring that they are included can have a great effect on making their disability seem more normal. There are numerous negative outcomes of excluding a person with a disability including dividing the community into many categories, against the humanity and the equality which may seem most of the people in the word advocate and support them.
After considering the two different modules, a question has arisen in my mind: Why do we marginalise some special needs people such as those who are mentally disabled and why do we acknowledge other special needs people as talented and gifted students? It is true that both groups of people may need specialised services. The fact that people are different is not really an issue, however the way people with disabilities are perceived needs to be addressed. Thomas and Loxley (2007) provided an answer to the question above: The differences can either be seen in a positive or negative light, depending on the individual person's point of view. MoreoverMoreoverM, we may consider the differences to be boundaries or we observe them as the nature of society. Therefore, to reiterate, the issue is not the differences, it is the way we perceive them. This discussion will be expanded in the next part of the assignment.
The barriers that prevent inclusion
In this section of the assignment it is pertinent to discuss the barriers which prevent some children from being included at school or even in his society. Similar to what just has been discussed above, the problem is not the disabled people or the people who are considered to be different from the others for some reason. I believe the issue is all about the other people who consider a disabled person to be a different person. Therefore the main barriers to achieving inclusion in society are people's attitudes towards the differences. It can be concluded from what has just been said that the main barriers in school are the teachers' and pupils' beliefs about the differences. In other words, the barriers in schools are a reflection of the barriers in society. It is true that schools form part of society and any attempt to modify the problem with the values or beliefs in schools, if it is not linked to the change in culture, policy and society would be less useful. Simply put, it is very important to consider the barriers that appear in schools in a wider context, i.e. the society as a whole because these barriers also exist in everyday life. According to Thomas et al. (2007) individual's opinions and values cannot be considered in isolation, they are influenced by the surrounding environment, society and many other factors. These beliefs and attitudes exist as part of an organised environment. Therefore, it is evident that inclusion is a multifaceted issue which requires the input of both teachers and individuals.
From my experience as teacher for disabled people parents for disabled children once in a meeting with the school stuff, argued that by changing the policy of the institutions and the society we could achieve a degree in conclusion. From their points of view changing the policies consider the main solution for the problem. If this is the solution, how could we explain the prevalent existence of exclusion in societies such as, in Saudi Arabia? when the policies, the social constructions and the people believes linked strongly to ideologies which emphasis the right for the minority to be included. To illustrate, , the number of girls with learning disabilities who benefits from educational services in Saudi Arabia significantly less than the number of boys (,ØÙ„Ù…ÙˆØ³ÙŠ ØÙ„Ø³Ø±Ø·ØÙˆÙŠ,ØÙ„Ø¨ØªØÙ„, ØÙ„ØØ³ÙŠÙ†, ØÙ„Ø¬Ø¨ØØ±, 2007). I would take a long time to answer this question in full, however I have outlined some of my views below. One explanation of the exclusion in such these societies in my opinion could be that people have a tendency to misunderstand each other and apply the regulation and the roles in a incorrectly. For example the policy in such this context tends to build equal society and provide equal opportunities for all the people. Some of the people in order to achieve this social justice may concentrate on the weakness of individuals to cure them instead of concentrating on the strengths to achieve the highest degree of the individual ability. In educational institutions the sole focus would be on eradicating the disabilities rather than honing the skills that the disabled individuals actually have. This would expand the gap between the disabled and non-disabled students. To illustrate further, in Saudi Arabia disabled females are kept at home to be cared for instead of being allowed to go to school to integrate into normal society. Furthermore, disabled individuals are provided with a sufficient allowance which allows them to stay at home, rather than being offered a job which is suitable to their situation which would enable them to live independently.
The medical module is one of the main barriers which could prevent the disabled people or people with particular kind of diseases from being included on their community as they should be. Until recently it was common for individuals with a disability to be kept at home or made to live in a designated institution for people with disabilities. To deduce whether an individual has a disability a form of assessment was created, however, this focused on a person's inabilities rather than their abilities. This assessment is frequently referred to as the 'medical model'. According to Richard (2004), this model is not very effective as it considers disabled people to be the issue. It infers that they must adjust in order to be accepted in society and if they are incapable of doing this they should be kept at home or housed in a designated institution which is insufficient for their particular needs. This model suggests that disabled individuals are needy and it typecasts these people in a way that incites denigrating opinions in addition to sympathy and apprehension. Furthermore, importance is placed on the disability instead of the individual's particular requirements. Currently, doctors and other medical professionals control the lives of disabled individuals and it is these professionals that decide whether a disabled individual is capable of attending school, where they live, what type of assistance is most suitable and what kind of benefits are applicable (Richard, 2004).
It is true that there are barriers which prevent inclusion in every dimension of society. These barriers can prevent people from being able to achieve their personal targets and can mean they have fewer prospects because they are discriminated against because of their culture, background, religious beliefs, colour or disability. There are several forms of barriers that can be found in schools such as when a disabled student cannot use the same resources as other students and when some students who have the same disability are grouped together in one class and separate from non-disabled students. Booth, Ainscow, Kingston (2006) state that the barriers of inclusion could take place in schools in many different aspects such as, when some students for any reason are not be able to participate in school activities or if they are unable to benefit from the learning resources in the school. These reasons could be the discrimination against some students in the school by the stuff or even by other students.
Although, I believe the main barriers of inclusion are people's attitude and behaviour towards others they could also occur in many different aspects in our lives. Another form of barrier is the manner in which schools and other educational institutions are organised and structured. Some schools do not provide easy access for all students for example, students with wheel chairs. This is also known as institutional discrimination and encompasses things such as disadvantages due to gender, age, culture, background, disability and sexual preferences. According to Booth, et al. (2006) institutional discrimination is ingrained in different cultures and it affects the way society regards people.
Sometimes discrimination can be indirect, for example the way a person speaks or something they say can mean another person is excluded. I have spent many hours watching television but I cannot recall a programme that has attempted to eliminate discrimination or encouraged society to accept people for who they are. However, it is easy to see acts of discrimination in the media, for example inappropriate descriptions of people, imposing personal views onto others and introducing the events in different spots in the world by a negative way which could rise the hate for the people to each other's and crate a further distance between the people from different cultures to accept and respect each other's. For example, identify some people by their religion when describing their bad action. Such this act would have affect not only on those bad people but also to all the people who have the same religion.
.Simply put, the barriers would be just an output for individuals (parents, teachers, children, ext) who live in a societies controlled by obligations and policies which are linked to their beliefs.
Thomas, et al. (2004) both believe that children do not have a narrow-minded opinion of disabled people when they are born, but that they are influenced by their teachers' and parents' stance and by what they see in the media. Consequently, when these children become adults they reinforce and legitimise the misinformation toward the others which they have inherited in the form of policies and practices. Therefore I personally believe changing the children attitude would be one of the most effective methods in achieving inclusion. This opinion will be discussed and expand in the following part of the assignment.
How to overcome the barriers of inclusion
Thomas, et al. (2007) claimed that about the people attitudes which I believe they are the main barriers ''they do not occur in a vacuum. They exist as part of a broad range of local and national debate articulate by the public, by professionals and by politicians''p.94
In the previous part it was discussed how barriers are formed. In the following part of this assignment I intend to offer ways to overcome these barriers. It would be beneficial to start from changing the people attitudes which is in my opinion are the main barriers and I believe especially changing children attitude is one of the most effective methods in tackling the problem because children are the future and any positive change on their attitude would construct promising future .
To change the way people perceive disabilities it would be necessary to alter their personal beliefs about the abilities, physical characteristics, religious beliefs and cultural heritage of a disabled person. As previously explained, society judges people by their disability or what they lack using the 'medical model'. There is also the 'social model' which forms a positive perspective-towered disability and it is the opposite for the medical model. If someone has an impairment, society labels them as being disabled which thus creates organisational, environmental and perception barriers that they have to face. The social model takes an equal rights and fair opportunities stance and it states it is important for educational institutions to provide resources and facilities that are suitable for people with a disability. Furthermore, this model indicates that all people are the same, but some individuals have some kind of limitations. However, these limitations are no excuse for inequality, segregation or neglect (Richard, 2003).
According to the social model, society is the problem because barriers are caused by poor understanding of disabilities, prejudiced attitudes, unobtainable services and resources and discriminatory behaviour (Richard, 2003). Indeed this approach status disabled people disadvantage and exclude as a result for the causes have mentioned before which is our recognition to the disabilities and the differences and not the disabilities or the differences it selves and introduce the solution as the changing in the society (Richard, 2004).
Thomas et al. (2007) argue that it is also vital to reform educational policy to ensure it dictates that all members of society should be treated in the same manner and offered the same opportunities in life. In my opinion modifying educational policy could be effective, however I think it would be more practical to start by changing people's attitudes. That said a new educational policy could make it compulsory for individuals to adopt different behaviour towards people with disabilities. Similarly, this has been demonstrated in the past when white people had to accept black people. It is true that a new educational policy could make the inclusion of disabled people imperative. However, although individuals can be made to accept people with disabilities it does not mean they have to befriend them. The result of this could be that the individual with the disability may feel more cut off than they would do in an educational institution for people with special needs. For instance, the law could give the disabled the right to be included but cannot force B child to play with E child.
To reiterate, by referring to individuals this includes children, adolescents, adults, tutors and society as a whole. In my opinion every individual in society affects the inclusion process, but I would particularly like to emphasise the changing on children, as I think they are the key to altering negative perceptions of disabilities.
There many different ways to change the children attitude Indeed, education has a great influence on the way society views people with disabilities and in the way society could accept the differences. There exists a multitude of ways could be used in schools or even outside schools to alter children's perceptions of disabilities. To illustrate, children are intrigued by storytelling, playing games and the media. Thus, a simple way to change their views of disabilities would be to capture their attention by using games, stories or television programmes to indicate the differences between disabled and non-disabled children. Studies have inferred that even three year olds are biased towards people who have different physical characteristics. Therefore, it can be assumed that they would be more tolerant of people who look different if they had already been exposed to a positive picture of people with disabilities in their childhood
(www.childreninthepicture.org.uk). However, stories and television programmes can sometimes portray people with disabilities in a negative light. Thus, it is important for teachers and parents to take the initiative and recount disabilities in a positive manner (Richard, 2004).
Additionally, it is vital to transform the way in which disabled children are educated and cared for. One way of ensuring inclusion in educational institutions is to offer professional teaching support to those who require extra assistance. Another way is for teachers to plan their lessons ahead, bearing in mind that they have students of different abilities in their class and that it is important to make the lessons accessible and understandable for them all (Ainscow, Booth, 2006).
The most effective way for schools to ensure they include all students is to try to meet all the individuals' needs. As children have their individual abilities and like certain learning styles teachers should try to bear this in mind when planning their lessons. Richard (2003) came up with three ways to ensure every individual is included at school which is known as the circles theory. The first is that teachers have to create learning objectives that can be used for students who don't have a disability as well as those that do. The second element of this theory is alternating teaching methods so all students can benefit. The third part is to ensure that resources are accessible for all. A very important aspect of inclusion is asking students what they think about disabilities and trying to discover why they think this way. When having this conversation with students it is imperative that students feel at ease so they can speak freely. According to Richard (2004) this is a perfect chance for students to discuss their opinion of the students that are different from them. This conversation is very beneficial as teachers can use the opportunity to break down barriers by persuading students to look beyond the differences and to treat everyone equally. Listening to students and accepting their view is a huge step in the right direction to ensuring schools are inclusive establishment. Armstrong and Moore (2004) believe that talking to the students who are affected by these issues will highlight the elements that need to be addressed. Furthermore, it would be advantageous to develop a listening culture.
One simple solution that teachers could implement to change students' opinions of disabilities is to incorporate a variety of exercises in their lessons. To illustrate, teachers could differentiate between short-term and permanent disabilities.
In addition to verbally encouraging disabled and non-disabled students to associate with each other this can be put into practice by ensuring that group work and extra-curricular lessons such as sport or music are comprised of a mixture of students from all backgrounds. When organising a lesson or event for a group of students with different backgrounds a teacher must bear their differing abilities in mind, for example, students with an auditory impairment must have sufficient assistance when listening activities are being conducted or else they will be automatically excluded. In short, encouraging students to see beyond their differences is a positive way to break down barriers and to create a more inclusive society.
The various modules of inclusion are based on how physical differences are perceived, for example, a black person might be considered differently because of his skin colour. Although, the differences module would consider as one module of inclusion, I still believe this module groups people together but does not really include them. For example, when a school decides to admit students with disabilities, according to this module they may will be include with non-disabled students in the same school but they would exclude inside the school because they would be grouped together based on their differences .The similarity module is completely different because it emphasises the need for everyone to be included in spite of his or her differences. It clearly states that everybody is different but at the same time we are all the same. All humans have the right to be included, however sometimes this is not easy to achieve. There are many barriers that prevent inclusion such as people's attitudes towards it and I believe the people attitude toward the differences is the core of the problem. However, there are many solutions to overcome this problem such as adapting the teaching methods to suit all the differences for the students. I personally believe that concentrating on children is one of the most effective solutions because they are the future.