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What does it mean to provide an Inclusive education? Or Introduction
Following the Salamanca statement (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, 1994) there has been a commitment to developing an inclusive education system all over the world.
Policy has allied Special Education Needs and Disability with Inclusion. Ainscow, states “inclusive education is still largely thought of as an approach to serving children with disabilities within general education settings” (P.4). These views are supported closely in the Government’s recent document, The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (2015). It stipulates the vision of all children with SEND being able to “achieve well in their early years, at school and in college”.
With the introduction of the new curriculum in 2014, education was envisioned to be more accessible. However, numerous educationalists have criticised this claim believing the new curriculum has somewhat failed to recognise the needs of children with differing abilities. (Morris, 2012).
The new curriculum has a strong focus on excellence and core skills. Handwriting, previously not assessed under the old curriculum within the core subject English, is expected to be fluent, legible and speedy (DfE, 2014). Teachers, therefore, must consider and tackle the barriers to learning for all children, support diversity and provide resources to support education.
For the purpose of this assignment I will concentrate on boys writing under the umbrella term inclusion.
Educational policy has highlighted over the past two decades a ‘gender gap’ in achievement placing boys behind girls. This led to changes in educational policy developing strategies and interventions aimed at raising boys’ attitudes and motivation towards achievement in school (DCSF, 2009). Studies have shown that there are significant gender differences in young children’s intellectual and social behaviours during the early years (Estyn, 2008). The DfE report that at the end of the reception year there is a 13 percent gap between boys writing when compared to girls nationally making boys writing a national priority (2016).
Interventions…. importance of having all the pre-writing skills beforehand.
During the transition from Nursery to Primary School, most children make an extensive range of marks and some children will have begun to form recognisable letters. Prior to this, young children from babies work through a specific sequence of physical stages before learning to write. Each specific phase reflects a child’s emergent comprehension of the conventions of literacy. Children make their marks for a variety of purposes. Therefore, every mark is valid and can be linked to the seven areas of learning within the Early years Foundation Stage. As children progress through to the National Curriculum Mark making becomes writing and is a platform to constructing ideas and making thinking visible. First children must become well equipped with the art of making marks. Children as well as adults often use mark making and drawing it to express feelings and demonstrate imagination and cultivate creativity. Therefore, abundant opportunities to mark make through the early years is fundamental to the learning process as marks and symbols can be used to record and test out their hypotheses about the world around them. These skills are then passed onto writing and children can begin to make their marks into a language that can be shared with others.
The significant gap between boy’s and girl’s achievement in writing is renowned from the Early Years Foundation Stage and remains throughout all the key stages. Practitioners have noted that boys appear less motivated to write during play, which then has a considerable impact upon their willingness and ability to write in a classroom environment. It is evident that boys are falling behind girls at the end of reception year. (2009, National Strategies)
The development and organisation of writing begins during the all-important nursery years. If children, in particular boys, are not gaining access to exciting engaging activities that develop muscle control, they are going to find it physically difficult to pick up and pencil and have the control to write. This becomes increasingly difficult as the pressure is applied by schools to produce evidence of children’s learning and understanding in the form of writing.
If children haven’t grasped the early basic skills and can’t do the large kinaesthetic movements before starting school, it will be difficult to fine tune handwriting skills. Reception teachers therefore must take writing back to basics and provide opportunities to develop Pre-writing skills defining the arm and hand muscles needed.
What are the prospects for an all-inclusive school / society? (Conclusion)
Establishing inclusive values in raising boy’s achievement
Schools recognised as being successful in raising boy’s literacy skills showed critical recognition towards building upon boy’s strengths. A broader choice throughout reading and writing tasks were provided and the whole curriculum was used to develop and embed literacy, in particular writing skills (Estyn, 2008). It is imperative that teachers orchestrating learning to provide opportunities for boys to practice and establish good writing techniques.
- Ainscow, M and Miles, S. (2008). Making Education for All inclusive: where next? School of Education. 1 (38), p15-34.
- Department for Education and Department of Health (2015) Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/send-code-of-practice-0-to-25 Last accessed 1st Dec 2018.
The Critical Incident
The incident took place within a Year Two classroom in a mixed ability Theme lesson on a Thursday afternoon. The children were seated in ability groups at tables, taking part in a writing activity. The topic for the half term was Pirates. The class teacher had completed the reading of the class novel, ‘Pirate Pete’ and had introduced inference work around the novel. The introduction to the lesson was ‘how Pete and his Pirates felt about being stranded on a desert island?’. The children’s task was to write a paragraph describing an island they would like to visit. What normally happens with the lower ability group, is that an adult discusses in detail with the children the task, then invites them to make suggestions about what their paragraph should say. Therefore, narrating what the children have said, the adult models writing the paragraph onto a whiteboard. The adult speaks each word as it is written, then reads back each sentence until the group agree the paragraph is complete. The children then copy down the paragraph into their books.
During this particular lesson Child B had begun the lesson as normal. As I asked the children to recall their prior learning and read out the WALT. Child B was active in making suggestions and answering questions. I asked the group to think about different types of islands and what might be on them. Child B began to list in great detail the features of a hot tropical island. As I begun to model a sentence using his and the other children’s input and suggestions Child B turned his body away from the group and began to write independently in his book. He placed one arm around his page to shield it from others. Child B wrote three quarters of an A4 page before handing the book to me to tell me he had finished. As I made to read the writing, I found that I could not read it, I could only decipher 3-4 words in the block of text. I asked Child B to read back his work to me. He struggled to decode his writing and read it back. He looked away from his book and began to tell me from memory. I explained to him that his writing was very difficult to read, but he had just told me some great ideas. I said can you write it again for me but; think about your sentence, say your sentence, write your sentence then read your sentence. Child B used this method for three sentences saying each one out loud, then handed me his book. I was able to read each sentence he had written. Although Child B is in the lower ability group within the Theme lesson his cognitive ability is more advanced of those in the same group. He is placed within this group due to his poor handwriting and the difficulties the class teacher has, in assessing his learning from independent descriptive writing tasks.
Critical Reflective Account
Critical Incident Analysis is defined by Francis (1997) as, “the need to re-conceptualise what counts as knowledge” (p.169). Therefore, teachers must address their prior knowledge and examine a conscious consideration of their personal beliefs and expectations through self-reflection (Larrivee, 2000). The idea of an incident being ‘critical’, stresses the ability and readiness to challenge ones preconceived assumptions sustaining a notion of reflective practice. Furthermore, critical reflection is fundamental to a new understanding of an old situation and a new understanding of self, through a theoretical critical stance. (Grimmett, 1998). Critical Incident Analysis was established to enable teachers to develop their professional judgements and inform their decisions and practices (Mohammed, 2016).
What is it that made the incident critical?
The child could not be assessed against meeting the learning outcomes as his writing was illegible. Although he completed the task in good time and produced more independently written sentences than the rest of his group, when asked he struggle to read back what was written.
The way the task was set out only allowed the children to be assessed on their written ability, to capture ‘descriptive writing, rather then their intellectual ability to use descriptive words in context and successfully. This provoked me to question the school’s accepted system of assessment for children’s learning and the routine of adult guided sessions with lower ability pupils.
What were your immediate thoughts and responses?
As the incident was taking place, I believed that child B was not conforming to the task by turning away, and not undertaking the expected request of the group. Reflecting in action, child B was displaying behaviour demonstrating his want, to be separated from the rest of the group. Initially, Child B had demonstrated a general interest in the task and made several suggestions when describing types of islands. However, when his body language changed, and he appeared disengaged, my immediate response was to engage him by requesting he share an idea. When this request failed, I assumed that Child B was distracted by a possible comment, that I had missed, by another pupil.
What are your thoughts now? What has changed/ developed your thinking?
Reflecting upon action, I can see that the behaviour displayed by Child B, was his non-verbal way of informing me that the method of the task was not meeting his needs. Child B has demonstrated his ability to think creatively and can verbalise by this, using descriptive and imaginative language. My perception of child B has changed upon reflection. He has shown a passion for words and creative writing. It has now become evident to me that the constraints of letter formation are holding him back, therefore, he is developing a negative attitude towards academic written work.
What have you learned about (your) practice from this?
I understand the importance of considering any underlying issues before making a professional judgement. I began the group work with Child B with the intention of completing the task with all children engaged in writing a paragraph. However, what I failed to do was find out more about each child and their personal journey and the reasons they were in the lower ability group. This was mainly due to the position I was in as a trainee teacher and the information that had been shared with me about individual children was on a needs-to know basis. When I am a fully qualified teacher, I will endeavour to critically analyse the needs of each child within the class an ensure I out measures into place to meet their individual needs.
It is imperative to ensure that children’s passion and enthusiasm for learning is not affected by something, such as writing, that hinders their development and progression.
How might your practice change and develop as a result of this analysis and learning?
I will endeavour to critically analyse and contemplate the assessment tools and strategies I use. I may need to change the way in which I assess for children’s learning rather than repeat the same tasks that do not reflect the pupils fill ability and capabilities. I will think deeply about what it is I want to assess then strategically match the activity to an appropriate task. I will attempt to take forward into my own teaching practice a non-judgemental attitude towards labelling children and work towards meeting individual’s specific needs. Research has show that boy’s writing is a national priority and that cannot be ignored within the classroom at any age.
I will not assume that reflection is a natural response to an incident, but rather deep critical introspection must be actively engaged (Benita et al, 2013).
Change is inevitable and must be embraced. Valli, (1992) suggested that “individuals who are unreflective are limited in their ability to make change (p.79).
- Go on moodle, go to PowerPoint
- Can do a general essay around inclusion (frame it around something broad) or put 1 small paragraph together on inclusion (set the scene… open up with a massive statement. “the debate around inclusion has been going on since…..)
- “In this essay I will be focussing on…..” then go on and explain
- Then talk about what the area is
- Opening paragraph
- Three major section
- What’s in the conclusion….a summary (the link between inclusion and boys writing) DON’T ADD ANYTHING NEW. Sum up the essay. Can also be a way forward “there needs to be more work on inclusion…
- You can add headings and the headings can be questions. (3-4 sections…paragraphs)
- Link each paragraph together. “having discussed…. I will then go onto talk about how it links into classrooms”
- “In this essay I will be discussing”
- Introduce something (argument) at the beginning and use that as a golden thread throughout the essay.
- Tell my own story and the use the references to back up my point!!!
- In the first paragraph…. Make a reference
- Critical means getting into it and pulling it apart.
- Talk about the difference between the old inclusion practice and the new code of practice (because if children’s voice…it has changed) …point of views of the parents.
- Anything 2000+ is good, keep it up to date and don’t go back too far.
- The essy is objective. “The case for, RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT”, ect.
- Nat curriculum
- Code of practice
When I’ve finished mark my own work. Look at the marking criteria and make sure I am getting lots of ticks in each paragraph to show that I am making more than one point.
Try and think of a title!!!
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