Should Training In Inclusive Educational Practices Be Compulsory To Teachers?
Should Training In Inclusive Educational Practices Be Compulsory To Teachers?
Worldwide, there is a need for many well-trained and motivated teachers who can help ensure that every child learns to their full potential from an early age and enters adult life well-equipped to be active citizens and support the development of their community and country (Patton, 2011). Many countries do not have enough teachers, let alone teachers who have received sufficiently high quality pre- and in-service training and access to continuing professional development (Bowe, 2005). The lack of motivated teachers impacts on the enrolment, participation and achievement of all children – but can be particularly detrimental to the education of children from marginalized groups, who may need some extra encouragement or assistance to reach their educational potential. This essay will look into inclusion in education and discuss how inclusion matters in classroom settings within the mainstream schools. It will consider disabled children and how they are been treated. This essay will discuss current and proposed changes and developments in policy and practice for children and young people perceived as having special and additional educational needs. Furthermore, it will discuss and evaluate the concept of inclusion. In addition, this essay will illustrate the barriers to pupil’s participation and learning at school level. This essay will discuss the psychology and sociological model of disability.
The process of inclusion is the assumption that the classroom teacher has certain knowledge and understanding about the needs of different learners, teaching techniques and curriculum strategies. Whichever the position, teachers are essential and play a vital part in inclusive education (van den Bos, et al., 2007). Although the concept of inclusive education has been promoted internationally, multiple barriers remain to the full participation of children with disabilities in education. Lack of information, combined with discriminatory attitudes towards persons with disabilities at all levels of society, contributes to the continued neglect of their right to education. This partly explains the minimal rate of progress that has been made towards the enrolment and participation in the education process of children with disabilities (Carroll, 2006). The factors are diverse and extend beyond the boundaries of the school and classroom. It is conservatively estimated that less than 10 per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region are in school.
This is a subject that has elicited widespread agreement and disagreement at the same time. There are both sides of the spectrum and thus this essay will look at them both in order to get a better understanding and an answer to the above subject. Firstly, the essay would like to deal with the notion that inclusive educational practices should not be compulsory. The thinking on this divide is that it should not be so due to a myriad of reasons. On the teachers’ side, the fear of professional wilderness is more vivid with such situations (Cortiella, 2009). For Some teachers, it is a belief to them that they will lose their core profession were they to focus on special needs of some children. While they might be trying to help and achieve a common ground on all children, the extra attention would or might put their career progression and suitability at stake. Moreover, there is the impending conflict with specialists who are more equipped in this field. For example, a profession speech learner might feel that his or her job is at stake if teachers start entering in to their field of practice (UNESCO, 2009).
Training of teachers on this subject matter can also be considered as cumbersome. This is because less focus would be given to the core curriculum and the education system as a whole. In such a case, the effects would be eventful. It is also important to note that the current educational system is ever changing and there are different approaches on how to develop a child’s skill (Allan, 2007). With such an environment, training should not be made compulsory as the education system changes, so does the increase in work load and knowledge that is needed to be transferred to the young minds so eager to learn. Further to this point, school administrations vary from one to another, from one local government to another thus no clear harmonization of this subject matter. This will essentially mean that different methods yet to be proven would be tested all around (Trainer, 1991). In addition to these, the children will vary from one class to another and thus displaying different needs which will need to be dealt with differently.
Resource is also another reason why training should not be made compulsory. We live in a different would were by resources are not evenly distributed (Thomas & Loxley, 2007). For example, across Europe and the United States of America, one can say that the resources for doing such training would be relatively accessible. However, take a look at Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Here, such resources are not easily available. This now leads to the question? Should training in inclusive education be compulsory? From this point of view, the answer is definitely no. Modification of the curriculum is important to ensure inclusion education excels. Depending on where the teacher is, in most cases such a process is impossible. The country or government of the day might not have the good will to change the educational system to accommodate the special ones (Centre for the Study of Inclusion (CSIE) , 2000). Such a process would also require a lot of investment from all the interested parties.
Culture is a barrier to the inclusion training being made compulsory (Ainscow & Booth, 2003). Societies vary all over the world. For instance, in some cultures, children who require special attention from teachers would be considered as outcasts. In other cultures, education itself is considered a privilege and not a right. With this in mind, inclusive education should not be made compulsory. Implementation of the inclusive education is all a challenge to the whole process. Teachers, not being specialists do not know how to implement such training (Nind, 2005). Without proper implementation, the process and cannot be successful at all.
Once such training in inclusive education is made compulsory, a child school attendance will have to be near perfect (Thomas, 2012). However, this is not a guarantee and thus leading to the risk of irrelevance. As mentioned earlier, there are different societies; different families and all are not affected on the same level. For example, a child can miss to attend school due to lack of fees or the lack of belief that education is essential. In most European countries such as Scotland, education is compulsory thus it would make sense for such this training to be compulsory (Baglieri & Shapiro, Disability studies and the inclusive classroom ). However, in developing countries, the situation is not the same. External factors such as war and culture come into play. Consequently, compulsory training might just be a wrong move. The UK trains training in inclusive education practices made compulsory, therefore the most of the current schools would up graded so that it would be able to cater for the special children (Marston, 1996). At this juncture, it is worth mentioning that the United Nations is leading the world in ensuring that all children get availability to basic knowledge. This initiative is known as Education for all (EFA).
The current education system in the West is based on competition and success. It is believed that competition and choice, raise standards and accountability. As an end result, children who are considered difficult to teach and who find learning to be hard are at an increased risk on exclusion when such educational facilities operate in a competitive manner. On the other side of the spectrum, the answer to the above question would be yes. Training in inclusive educational practices should be made compulsory. The concept of inclusion means ensuring that all the needs of the children are taken care of appropriately, especially the ones with experiencing challenges (March, 2008). When teachers are trained with this set skill, it all allows all to be catered for. This should not be a problem to specialists in the various child disability fields because the training are just basic knowledge (Allen & Schwartz, 2000). Children will therefore benefit from such and the cause effect will be felt far and wide. The direct impact would be on the economic state of the country. This effectively means that if any child is left unattended to, it may be due to other external factors that come into play.
Education is a basic right to all children. This is why the United Nations is spearheading this cause in order to achieve the millennium goals (Armstrong, et al., 2009). By denying children education, we are depriving them of their basic right, even the ones with special needs. As such, training in inclusive education should be made compulsory. In addition to this, there is no way of determining the number of special children on average, therefore it would make sense to ensure that each and every teacher is well equipped with the knowledge and set skills (Power-deFur & Orelove, 1977). These training will need to be done on a frequent basis so that any changes in matter or strategy are implemented as soon as possible. This will ensure continuity in the long run.
Job creation is another aspect to this. By making the trainings compulsory, this ensures that there will always be a job opportunity for teachers (Rix, 2005). This will lead to more hiring even if the national finances or local coffers are not deep enough. In addition to this, it will promote equality among all. An inclusive educational practice gives the same chance to all children thus ensuring a basic educational standard is set. It is also important to note that the overall educational standard is set to improve. To fully cater for everyone, local governments will have to ensure that all requirements needed for this are readily available (Conrad & Whitaker, 1997). Inclusive educational practices are not readily available to every child. Hence if teachers are trained, they will be offering the service at a cheaper rate thus making it affordable to everyone in need.
Inclusive education also covers children with disabilities hence the importance of training to be made compulsory. The numbers of children with disabilities is grossly underestimated, particularly in developing countries (Kauffman & Hallahan, 2014). Children with moderate disabilities may be acknowledged, but children with mild disabilities are put aside. So too is the enormous population of children with learning disabilities. These children account for a large proportion of children who drop out and do not complete primary education (Banerji & Dailey, 1995). They have no obvious disability but may experience extreme difficulty with learning in one or more areas. Children with “hidden” disabilities may include those with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems, but may also include children with unidentified disabilities such as hearing loss. Children with disabilities form the largest group of readily identifiable children who continue to be persistently excluded from education (The Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People, 1978). The World Bank estimates that of the 115 million children worldwide who are not in school of which close to 50% are children with disabilities (Boer, 2009).
Children with disabilities form a huge percentage of children living in the world. Discrimination against people with disabilities has been long-term and widespread with a number of significant effects (Barnard, et al., 2000). Persons with disabilities have been prevented from accessing rights that are freely available to other members of society in such areas as health, education, employment, community participation and other basic social and political rights (Grainger, 2013). They have also been denied access to the disability-specific services that they need in areas such as early intervention and rehabilitation. Failure to access these services has resulted in economic and social exclusion for children and adults with disabilities and their families (Hick, et al., 2009). This marginalization has meant that their needs have not been considered in the development of basic mainstream services such as education and health. Where services have been provided, it has usually been in the context of welfare or charity, often initiated by non-governmental organizations, with responsibility less likely to be taken by the government. Education has most commonly been provided in segregated special schools, to a minority of children in urban areas who are able to afford (Sale & Carey, 1995).
For inclusive education to succeed, it is important that teachers, principals and other education stakeholders maintain a positive attitude towards inclusion. They must firmly support the benefits that inclusive practices bring to all children. Inclusive education will not succeed even if training is made mandatory if there is not sufficient support (Stainback & Stainback, 1995). Obtaining such support involves behaviour and attitudinal change which is not easy. Such changes can be achieved through the following ways: organizing training workshops for teachers and on general inclusive education techniques, especially those which highlight how such techniques can benefit all children by improving overall quality of teaching; Creating awareness about inclusive education into schools’ curriculum (Goepel & Sharpe, 2014); Creating awareness of the many benefits of inclusive education through the interaction of teachers with people with disabilities; development of mass media activities and materials that emphasize the value of inclusive education; introduction of knowledge about the benefits of inclusive education into initial training programs for student teachers in universities and technical colleges (Wilson, 2000).
Globally, there is a clear move towards inclusive practice and wide agreement on the key principles first encompassed in the Salamanca Statement (UNESCO, 1994). Policy guidelines on inclusion in education from UNESCO set out the following justifications for working towards inclusive practices: Social justification - inclusive schools are able to change attitudes towards diversity and form the basis for a non-discriminatory society that is beneficial to all; Economic justification - it costs way cheaper to establish and maintain schools that educate all children together than set up a set of different schools specializing in the different groups of children; Educational justification - Inclusive schools have to develop ways of teaching that respond to the individual personalities and differences of children (Stainback & Stainback, 1995).