Barriers to achieving effective inclusive education Inclusive education is a term which describes how children with any additional educational need should be supported and in turn be allowed the same access to education as any other child. Many factors enter into creating an inclusive classrooms in which children with disabilities learn alongside typical peers. Any one of these factors, or the lack of any, can affect inclusion and the quality of a student’s education. An inclusive education for students with disabilities typically does not just happen.
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For students to successfully learn in general education classrooms, adequate funding has to be in place to allow for more support from specialists and secure resources for teachers and students. Inclusive attitudes have to be held by school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents. Learning environments also must be physically accessible to students using wheelchairs, walkers, and assistive technology devices. The curriculum needs to be modified and adapted to meet the needs, and limitations, of a diverse group of children.
Finally, open and ongoing communication must exist among all involved in educating students with disabilities. Accessibility Obviously, a student with a disability cannot learn in an inclusive classroom if he cannot enter the room, let alone the school building. Some schools are still inaccessible to students in wheelchairs or to those other mobility aides and need elevators, ramps, paved pathways and lifts to get in and around buildings. Accessibility can go beyond passageways, stairs, and ramps to recreational areas, paved pathways, and door handles.
Classrooms must be able to accommodate a student’s assistive technology devices, as well as other furniture to meet individual needs. Educational Modifications Just as the environment must be accessible to students with disabilities, the curriculum must facilitate inclusive education, too. Educators must be willing to work with inclusion specialists to make modifications and accommodations in both teaching methods and classroom and homework assignments. Teachers should be flexible in how students learn and emonstrate knowledge and understanding. Barriers created by Communication Another of the barriers associated with inclusion education is a lack of communication among administrators, teachers, specialists, staff, parents, and students. According to Clarke et al (1995) there is no common language of terminology among professionals to discuss curricular adaptations, which has resulted in miscommunication and misunderstanding of expected responsibilities and outcomes.
Good communication and coordinated planning between teachers and special education staff are essential for inclusion to work. Time is needed for teachers and specialists to meet and create well-constructed plans to identify and implement modifications the, accommodations, and specific goals for individual students. Collaboration must also exist among teachers, staff, and parents to meet a student’s needs and facilitate learning at home.
The barriers created by Government, policy and local authorities The government is a key component in the creation of barriers to inclusion in educational, it is however the local authority that translates the politic rhetoric, legislation and initiatives into more practicable forms. In respect to the development of inclusion local authorities perform a number of functions including the creation of local policy and the levels of funding. These two functions are crucial to the implementation of inclusive education within schools (Hodkinson and Vickerman, 2009).
The issue of funding is a significant one which is vital to the successful implementation of inclusive practices. Local authorities can not solely be blamed for the barriers created by the issues of funding, it is also the government as a whole which places increasing pressure on local authorities to reduce their spending (DfES, 2004a). However as the government is placing this increasing pressure on to local authorities, they are in turn creating barriers to inclusion simply because it can no longer provide the funding to create an all inclusive education (Hodkinson and Vickerman, 2009).
The barriers created by education There are many barriers to inclusion created by schools because the education system is not fit to include children with additional education needs, these include: lack of knowledge, lack of will, lack of vision, lack of resources and lack of morality (Clough and Garner, 2003). The success of inclusion is where all involved should consider how their own practices can create or remove barriers to inclusion (Allan, 2003), however this is difficult because it requires all professionals to challenge their own practices (Hodkinson and Vickerman, 2009).
Any approach to inclusion begins with a teachers attitude and professional competencies. Some of the greatest barriers associated with inclusion in education are negative attitudes. As with society in general, these attitudes and stereotypes are often caused by a lack of knowledge and understanding. The attitudes and abilities of general education teachers can be major limitations in inclusive education. The training of teachers to understand and work with children with disabilities is often inadequate, or it may be fragmented and uncoordinated.
The Warnock Report (DES, 1978) identifies the distinct lack of specialist training which has influenced the provision of inclusion, this was further supported by the Programme of Action (DfEE, 1998) which again indicated the need for teacher to undertake specific training in relation to special educational needs. If educators have negative attitudes toward students with special needs or have low expectations of them, children will unlikely receive a satisfactory, inclusive education. Conclusion
In conclusion there are many barriers to inclusion, all of which can create disastrous consequences for children with special educational needs. The main barriers were government implemented or professionally based. These barriers however are in place because of substantial difference in attitudes and changes in policy, many of these place emphasis on inclusion but in effect actually exclude the child and create a stigmatism around their disability, which may not have been created if the policy and ingrained assumptions were removed.
The process of inclusion can be a process of exclusion simply because of the lack of knowledge, time and adequate funding, this is a significant problem and must be changed however many of the authors quoted above suggested that policy change would be the answer other suggest that the continued interference of government policy is not allowing for students with special educational needs the true experience of education which is every child’s right.