Inclusive education means children with disability and without disability learning together under one roof with appropriate net work of support. Inclusive education is an approach on how to transform education systems in order to avoid the barriers that students seeking to remove from full participation in education. It also means that the pupils should smoothly participate in all walks of life and to work to the best of their abilities and needs. The schools should accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or otherwise. Inclusive education is to address the educational needs of all, especially who are vulnerable.
Our schools and culture mostly pay their attention on how linguistic and logical-mathematical education. We admire the logical and/or articulative people of our society. Unfortunately, many children who fail to show high performance within these two did not receive much importance. Many of these students are labeled as "learning disabled", "ADD (attention deficit disorder," or underachievers, where, and how their unique ways of thinking and learning are not addressed by a heavy linguistic and logical-mathematical class. They show skills in a different way of thinking and prove themselves as artists, musicians, dancers, designers, therapists, and others who have enriched the world.
All children (and adults too) - whether `normal' or `special' due to their attitudes and/or due to lacking of physical or mental abilities - have different types of minds so that they learn, remember, perform, and understand differently. All human beings learn through language, logical-mathematical analysis and other ways of thinking and expressing themselves.
These differences question our educational system which believes that everyone can learn the same subjects the same way and that the uniform measurement is sufficient to test student learning. Indeed, in its present composition, our testing system is heavily tilted toward linguistic modes of instruction and assessment, and to a lesser extent, quantitative and logical methods. In fact, a wide range of students would be better served if disciplines could be presented in a number of ways and learning could be assessed through a variety of ways.
It has been proved through research (es) that people possess a set of abilities or intelligences - and not just one type and level. Many schools, teachers and education systems as a whole, persist in the idea that a child is smart or not, and further that the "smart" children are "good" and "unintelligent" children are "bad"; whereas, the fact is that we all are intelligent in different ways.
On the other hand, if we observe our society as a whole, a lot of people who had been very successful and fulfilled in life were also considered as failures in school - many brilliant scientists, leaders, writers, artists, sports people, soldiers, aid workers, healers, religious leaders and politicians too have been judged and labeled otherwise according to a very narrow definition of intelligence.
Research (es) has also proved that all inherent and innate intelligences are not necessarily dependent on each other, these seldom operate in isolation. Every individual - normal or even special - possesses varying degrees of abilities / intelligences, but the ways in which these combine and blend are as varied as the faces and the personalities of individuals.
For this reason, researchers believe it is important to encourage children to explore and exercise all of their abilities / skills / intelligence. Creating a rich, rewarding and challenging full of interesting materials, toys, games, books and lays the groundwork for healthier, happier, brighter kids. Students who have such experiences know many ways to learn almost anything!
Erudition through a variety of unique experience allows children to better understand themselves as lifelong learners, and to see how others acquire knowledge and apply their skills.
Children and adults with disabilities or not, can be labeled as under in accordance with their predominantly exhibited abilities / intelligences:
Word Smart (linguistic intelligence - using words effectively. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and often think in words. They like reading, word games, making up poetry or stories. They can be taught by encouraging them to say and see words, read books together. These tools include computers, games, books, multimedia, recorders, and conferences.)
Number / reasoning smart (logical-mathematical intelligence - reasoning, calculating. These learners think conceptually abstract. they see and explore patterns and relationships. They love to experiment and solve puzzles and cosmic questions. They can easily learn through logic games and through investigative methods. They learn and form concepts before expressing the details.)
Picture Smart (visual-spatial intelligence - such as drawing, doing puzzles, read maps, daydream; learners learn effectively through drawings and physical images such as models, diagrams, photographs, charts, 3-D models, drawings, video and videoconferencing, multimedia, television, texts and pictures / maps / graphics.)
Body Smart (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence - use the body properly, such as a dancer or a surgeon. They have sharp sense of body awareness. They love the movement, touching and making things. They articulate well through body and learn nicely through physical activity, role play and by dealing with equipment and real objects.)
Music Smart (show compassion towards rhythms and sounds. They love the music and are sensitive to sounds. They can best study with music in the background. They can learn better by turning lessons into the lyrics, speaking rhythmically.)
People Smart (interpersonal intelligence - interacting with others. They learn through face to face interaction. They have many friends. They can be taught through activities, seminars, groups and dialogues. Tools include audio, telephone, time and attention from others, video conferencing, computer conferencing, writing, e-mail.)
Self Smart (intrapersonal intelligence - they understand their own interests and goals. These learners are usually shy. They are in tune with their inner feelings. They have intuition, wisdom and motivation, with a strong will, opinions and confidence. They can learn through self study. They love books, diaries, creative materials and privacy. They are more independent learners).
Nature Smart (Naturalist intelligence - natural environment. These learners learn rapidly and perfectly by exposing themselves with nature such as in parks, open spaces, in jungles, along sea side etc)
Afterwards two abilities / intelligences are added:
Spiritually Smart (Spiritual/Existential intelligence dealing with religion and 'ultimate issues')
Moralistically Smart (Moral intelligence dealing with ethics, humanity, value of life)
(Note: The first eight intelligences are assessable, however, the additional potential of human capacities, perceptions and initiations, are highly subjective and complex, and probably contain many overlapping aspects. In addition, the fact that these intelligences could be further considered as a measure of good or bad installation.)
Strategy (how to apply this approach in a classroom having `normal' and `special' students altogether)
If a teacher feels difficulty in teaching a student through traditional linguistic or logical method, he/she can try many other ways. For instance, a topic in one of social studies classes about the seasons in Pakistan and seasonal fruits can be taught through a poem on fruits (word smart); sing this poem with rhythm (music smart); some design and produce colourful fruit masks (picture smart), each child choose her/his favourite fruit, put on a mask (number/reason smart), and play a fruit role (body smart). The children work in groups (people smart) on the topic and do reading and writing (self smart) as well. Make a visit of some fruit garden (nature smart).
A similar approach may be applied for the topic 'Occupations in our community'. Children may be asked to name the different occupations, role-play what they like to be, imagine and discuss them in groups, read stories about them, and play a game matching pictures with tools.
Another example, if you are a teacher or learning the law of supply and demand in the economy, you can study mathematical formulas that express it (logical- mathematical), read about it (linguistic), observe the law in the natural world (naturalist), examine a graphic chart that illustrates the principle (spatial), or in the human world of commerce (interpersonal) examine the law according to your own body [by example, when you provide your body with food, at the request of hunger down, and when there is very little supply, your stomach food demand is going well and you're hungry (bodily-kinesthetic and intrapersonal), and /or write a song (or find an existing song) that expresses the law.
You do not need explain or learn in all eight ways. Just see the possibilities and then decide accordingly. This way of teaching and learning is so fascinating, because it expands our horizon of available education / learning tools beyond the traditional linguistic and logical methods used in most schools (eg, courses, manuals , written exercises, formulas, etc..) First, put the subject of what you are interested in teaching or learning in the center of a sheet of white paper, and draw eight lines or "spokes" radiating from this theme. Label each row with a different intelligence. Then start thinking about ideas for teaching or learning of this subject and note down ideas next to each intelligence (this is a spatial-linguistic approach of brainstorming, you can do in other ways, by using recordeing it on tape, through a group brainstorming, etc..) education can change something is being done by teachers in a collaborative endeavor in which the college faculty working full and grows together. This philosophy allows teachers to change too much dialogue with parents.
This approach is also known as "child-centered", teachers begin by looking at how children learn and then develop a curriculum, instruction and assessment based on this information rather than a curriculum centered approach where educators bend students to integrate into the curriculum.
Overcoming the barriers
Signs in the halls, explaining the students' work is displayed, the weekly letters from teachers and principal, evening parent education, student portfolios, exhibitions and performances and the framing of parent- teachers throughout the intelligence all contribute to the understanding of parents.
Teachers, often rightly, fear that communications over the parent will lead to more parents' criticism. And too often, when teachers try to involve and educate parents of their pupils, parents do not respond. For these hesitations, the above approach that facilitates communication between parents and teachers. Parents who criticize school because they are often wary. In other words, they are not confident that their child is learning and when parents see their children's progress through an ability to "multi / lens minds, however, the gains are obvious. In examining the contents of the portfolio of a child, for example, or by attending student presentations and performances, the gains are clear and striking.
There is also a dire need to introduce various types of assessments for evaluating how students learn, what kinds of experiences will support their further growth, what they know and are able to do should be assessed in the domains of academic excellence along with analytical & decision making skills incorporated with indigenous moral value system.
We can achieve all this by changing school based present examination system / pattern. Students should not be merely checked against their rote-learning but they should be assessed separately for their reading capabilities, listening & writing skills, concept clarity of what they have been taught and for the comprehension of knowledge which has been imparted during the academic session. By separating these skills it is expected that the vision of the student would be broadened as they will feel free to read, write, memorize and comprehend the information imparted. For this, MCQs, Right-Wrong, True-False & Yes-No options, word matching, short & long essay writing, creative writing, story writing with the help of pictures & words along with many more alternatives may be tried to assess the children during and at the end of academic session.