It would be a valid assumption that most teachers have the desire to create an equal learning environment for all their students. The value on this desire is exponential, however many teachers are unable to sufficiently achieve this goal for all their students, and it’s not necessarily their fault...
“Encompassing the delivery of a high quality education for all students”. This has become the broad and informal definition of Inclusive Education (IE) in Australia. No longer is IE exclusively about students with disabilities, but every student’s needs.
Despite IE having been a hot topic discussed over the past two decades in educational discourse, Australian State and Federal government are yet to implement standards and guidelines to measure the success of IE within educational sectors. This creates a furthermore challenging job for teachers to use IE in the classroom.
Measuring the success of IE is complex, however this should not be the cause for teachers or schools to neglect it completely.
Dr. Tim Loreman, President and Vice-Chancellor at Concordia University of Edmonton as well as being a Professor in the Faculty of Education has done extensive research in regards to Inclusive Education. Loreman suggests viewing the success of IE by the results of its outcomes: student participation, student achievement and post-school outcomes.
Schools and classrooms that have successfully implemented Inclusive Education primarily have a focus on values of acceptance, understanding, and attendance to student diversity, which can include physical, cognitive, academic, social, and emotional differences. Schools using IE share the belief that all students can be full participants in their classrooms and in the local school community.
Accepting the idea that every student in your class can have an equal opportunity to learn is the first step for implementation of IE. Below are a few ideas of ways you can practice and encourage Inclusive Education within the classroom.
Small group work
Start with whole group instruction and transition to flexible groupings which could be small groups, stations/centres, and paired learning. You may have student-led groups with teacher monitoring. Peer-supported learning can be very engaging; take the form of pair-work, cooperative grouping, peer tutoring, and student-led demonstrations to encourage healthy social skills.
Music + Visual Supports = Increased Comprehension
While music is an effective memory cue and learning modality, many students still perform best when visual cues are paired with auditory stimuli. Verbal instructions and dialog can be overwhelming for students who have difficulty filtering the important information they should attend to. While incorporating visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic learning activities, every student will have the opportunity to learn through a medium that suits them best.
Using favourite songs as a teaching tool
For students who have limited interests or are difficult to engage, creating a lesson plan around one of their favourite songs can be a game changer. An example could be changing the lyrics to a popular song, which recounts the educational content of a topic, and l then learning to sing the song with the updated lyrics.
Every group of students has a wide range of abilities, and each person presents a unique challenge in terms of the best way to reach their maximum learning potential. Some students may be gifted or already familiar with the material, and others may struggle to understand the task at hand. Some students require more extensive modifications to the curriculum in order to succeed. Regardless of where you work, you are likely to be in a position where you will encounter students that require additional help. Music can greatly assist these individuals in a variety of ways, helping and nurturing them in learning and development.
MusicEDU has strategically been designed so that every student has an equal opportunity to learn music in the classroom. To discuss Inclusive Education or how MusicEDU can assist you and your students, we would love to chat so please get in touch.