Education is a very important aspect of human development. An education system aims at providing people with knowledge and skills which would help them deal with daily challenges. The skills and knowledge acquired through the system should be reflected in the social-economical aspects of the people. Education should not be a reserve for a few but it should accommodate all individuals in the society by incorporating their diverse educational needs. The concept of inclusive education was developed after the effects of excluding some groups in society from proper education were realized (Hardman, Drew & Egan, 2008). Inclusive learning is one of the popular concepts in education in recent years. The concept tries to create a learning opportunity for all students despite their unique educational needs or disabilities. Inclusive education calls for great change concerning classroom management. The paper provides a class management plan which creates a good learning environment for a diverse classroom.
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The class was comprised of 25 students. 16 of the students do not have any form of disability while nine of them are physically challenged and hence they require special learning needs. Two of the nine students have learning disabilities, one has a deficit in writing and reading skills, another has EBD, while another has a deficit in math. Also, two of the students have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). On the other hand, one has cerebral palsy while and the other is blind. The class presents a challenging scenario. The students have unique learning needs and hence require special attention to be able to achieve their learning objectives.
Inclusive classes are becoming more common with time. The number of students with educational, learning, and behavioral disabilities being accepted in general classes has increased over the recent past. By 1997-1998, more than three-quarters of about 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States were taught with other disabled students. Acceptance of inclusive education has been supported by legislation. Research findings indicate that there are benefits associated with including students with disabilities in general classes. Legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA) of 1997 has played a significant role in the popularity of inclusive education (Idol, 2002).
Importance of inclusive education settings
An inclusive education setting is beneficial not only to the students with disabilities but also to society. This has created opportunities for teachers to consider diversity and community in the development of inclusive policies. (Hardman, Drew & Egan, 2008). Also, inclusive education practices are oriented towards creating community-building management strategies that support the students in their educational needs. Classroom management strategies provide for the incorporation of parents when addressing the challenges of the disabled concertedly. To ensure a truly inclusive community in schools, management policies and practices that are not consistent with inclusive education need to be addressed.
Creating an Inclusive Community
Inclusive education is based on the realistic and rational consideration of all stakeholders. The inclusive school movement developed from parent initiated efforts aimed at promoting the rights of disabled students. There was a feeling that the separation of students with disabilities from other students without disabilities was discriminatory and disadvantageous to students with disabilities (Idol, 2002). Segregation of the students based on race or their disabilities has lead parents to believe it is the cause of unequal provision of education. Educators supported this notion leading to inclusive programs. Other approaches to address the issue such as part-time involvement did not have a favorable outcome. This led to a full-time commitment to inclusive education.
Philosophy of the Class Management Plan
I consider inclusive education as a revolution in education. It recognizes the dignity of every child despite disabilities or another characteristic that makes them unique from the general student. Apart from recognizing the right of children with disabilities to participate in similar classroom settings as other students without disabilities, it shows the confidence that children with disabilities can achieve intellectual development (Idol, 2002). Although having students with disabilities in a general classroom setting is a good thing, it calls for readjustment to accommodate the special needs of these students. Changing the classroom management plan that creates a friendly learning environment is the foundation of my philosophy. In developing a classroom management plan, the main question is “what are the educational needs of the students and how these can be achieved? Recognizing the diverse needs of the students and trying to create an appropriate environment to help the students achieve these needs is the initial step. All students are considered to have unique capabilities despite their disabilities. As a teacher, I consider my greatest responsibility to be that of helping every student recognize his or her potential and use it to the fullest. Acknowledging students with unique capabilities require lessons to kindle their curiosity and provoke their critical thinking skills. To attain this, pedagogy values the students will be adopted in addition to recognizing their unique capability and motivating them to realize their capabilities (Hardman, Drew & Egan, 2008).
Recognizing that students with disabilities may be suffering from low self-esteem or fail to recognize their abilities is important in my teaching career. As a result, I must help special students recognize their capability and win back their self-esteem. To achieve this, I will take time to study each student to understand him or her and provide him or her with the best learning environment. Also, I will always show confidence in every student in my class. This will serve in motivating every student in the class. A similar attitude among the students will be motivated. This will aid in creating an enabling environment for all students to learn.
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I consider the fundamental role of inclusive education and creating a community of learners despite disabilities important. Thus, the primary role of my classroom management plan will be to facilitate a community environment. The plan will ensure that each student develops a sense of well being. As a result, he or she will feel loved and accepted. The friendly environment created will enable the students to be motivated towards learning and be able to use their intellectual capabilities to the fullest. As a community, every student in my class will take it as his or her responsibility to assist other students. Students with disabilities will benefit highly from the setting. This is because students without disabilities will be of great help to special students.
A learner-centered classroom will be adopted. The classroom setting will enable the development of critical thinking and at the same time enable the students to be focussed on the subject at hand. The classroom setting will enable the process of learning to be as enjoyable as possible. The classroom will not just be a place to acquire new knowledge but also a place of fun that students will look forward to.
Strategies for Classroom Management Plan
Differentiation will be a very important factor in my classroom management plan. This arises from the realization of the fact t that students in a particular class are different. Therefore, they should be provided with a unique environment to attain their educational objectives (Tomlinson, 1999). The sixteen students that do not have disabilities are substantially different from the students with disabilities. Likewise, there is a great difference between students with disabilities. The students having ADHD are different from students suffering from learning disabilities or the student having cerebral palsy. Likewise, the student with difficulty in math or the blind student is uniquely different. As a teacher, I will vary the content and learning process to match the uniqueness of individual students.
For instance, students without disabilities will be given tasks that are more challenging and required to complete the tasks in a relatively shorter time than the other students. More attention will be given to students with a learning disability to enable them to catch up with another student. Students with ADHD will demonstrate distraction during a lesson. While conducting my lessons, I will make effort to enable the students to regain their concentration. For example, calling the students names or asking them questions related to the subject at hand will ensure that they concentrate during lessons. For students with cerebral palsy, patience, and confidence with the student to facilitate learning will be demonstrated. More time will be allocated to these students to ensure successful completion of tasks. Besides, oral rather than written assessment will be used. The blind will require special attention and materials depending on their conditions.
As aforementioned, the main objective of the classroom management plan is to create a learning community where individual student attains their learning objectives with help of another student. Cooperative learning will therefore be central to the plan as it facilitates the development of active learning, academic skills, and social skills (Idol, 2002). Cooperative activities will be part of the plan to facilitate cooperation in learning. In group-activities, it will be ensured that the groups are heterogeneous to ensure cooperation between the diverse students in the class. For instance, a group may consist of several students without disabilities, a student with ADHD, a student with learning difficulties, and a blind student. Such settings will enable all members in the cooperation groups to benefit academically, behaviourally, and socially. Group members will be responsible not only for their learning but also for the other members in their groups. This will enable the groups to progress together. Despite group responsibility, there will be individual accountability to ensure each student become committed to their groups.
One of the major challenges in an inclusive education environment is to ensure that all students have a sense of belonging in the class (Tomlinson, 1999). Both the students with disabilities and those without may have difficulties accepting their place in the class. Sense of belonging has a high influence on how students approach and maintain effort in learning. In the classroom management plan, I will engage all my students and ensure that they are comfortable with the classroom settings. To ensure students’ connectedness, I will adopt an assessment that supports the same, help each student to see their potential, including all students, and question and answers, and focus more on learning goals rather than performance goals.
Communication in the classroom setting is very useful in an inclusive education setting. The teacher must be able to communicate effectively with the students for the system to be successful (Idol, 2002). To ensure effective communication in the classroom, questions and answers will be adopted. Appropriate questions with be asked students with diversity. Question and answer will ensure student participation and a sense of belonging as well and provide an effective way to give an immediate response. The time allowed for response will depend on students. Special students with a learning disability, cerebral palsy, and Emotional Behavioural Disability will be allowed a longer duration to respond. During question and answer, the teacher should remain focussed on the student where a question is directed by maintaining eye contact. This will be very important to students with ADHD by helping them maintain concentration. Adequate response time will be allowed to all students to allow them to learn through the process.
Classroom arrangement will be given added attention in the classroom management plan. Physical arrangement in the classroom will aim at ensuring cooperation as well and consider the unique needs of a student (Tomlinson, 1999). The student s suffering from ADHD will take their seats near the front to reduce their tendency for distraction. Students without disabilities will be distributed equally in the classroom and will be intermingled with those with disabilities. A student with learning disabilities and those with math deficits will benefit from potential students. This will enable them to improve progressively on their performance.
Inclusive education has resulted in great changes in the classroom environment. Most classes today comprise diverse students some of whom have disabilities. By incorporating, special students in an ordinary class setting, significant changes in classroom management should be undertaken. Class management plans for such classes should address the unique needs of the special students as well as not compromise on learning in students without disabilities.
Hardman, M., Drew, C., & Egan, M. (2008). Human exceptionality school, community, and family; (9th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Idol, L. (2002). Creating collaborative and inclusive schools. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Tomlinson, C. A. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.