Supporting Quality Instruction on an International Level

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Teachers and educational leaders who strive to provide quality instruction are always searching for ways to enhance student learning. We can learn a great deal about inclusive instruction from our peers across the globe. Having knowledge of international educational practices provides additional resources to support quality instruction for all students.

Reviewing articles and research to develop teacher and leadership tools and training has provided me an opportunity to review information from our colleagues around the world.  This information has given me insight into international practices and served as a catalyst for new ideas to better support instruction.  It has helped me understand that educators in the United States are not very different from their global peers. 

 

“If you feel you are the smartest person in your group, you need to get into a larger group.

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In Lebanon, Maha Knochen and Julie Radford write about the teachers and head-teachers’ attitudes about inclusion. They have included the results of their study conducted at primary schools in a “middle-income” area.  Their findings indicate that, “Teachers have positive attitudes towards the inclusion of students in mainstream schools.”  But, they also “expressed reservations about including all students… challenges in training, the availability of qualified specialists and the cost of inclusive supports.

The statements related to teacher training and qualified specialists available to provide teacher support are issues that exist on a global level. This is one of the primary reasons the Inclusive School Network strives to share instructional information on an international level. This is also why we are soliciting ideas and information from our partners in education around the world to share with others.  Providing quality information is essential in improving student instruction.

The statement related to costs associated with inclusion indicates that there is a need to increase understanding about inclusive practices. Inclusion does not mean more money; it refers to using the money that you have wisely to support instruction.  It means using good teaching strategies for all students. Education that does not result in student learning is a waste of time and resources. This can be very costly.  Learning about inclusion on an international level will assist in understanding the push for inclusive instruction and help to validate its use and improve implementation.

A paper presented at the “74th Annual International Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children” included a survey of general education teachers in New Delhi, India.   The goal of this study was to obtain information from teachers about what they considered essential for successful mainstreaming (inclusion). 

The information that follows includes some of their recommendations for successful implementation of inclusive practices:

  • Creating awareness,
  • Curriculum adaptations,
  • Structural and technological adaptations
  • Considering social-emotional aspects
  • Parental involvement
  • Training and administrative support
  • Modifying teaching styles
  • Being patience with your students and yourself as you go through this process

These recommendations could be used by school districts internationally.  They include key aspects for successful implementation of inclusive practices.  This resource can assist in educating teachers and administrators.  It can help to make them aware that inclusion is happening everywhere. It is a strategy that must become a part of instruction to meet the goal of teaching all children.

In “Fostering Inclusive Education: A Principal’s Perspective in Trinidad and Tobago”, we are provided with information from an urban school district.  This article targets “factors that might enhance and/or limit their faculty’s readiness for inclusion”. 

The findings of this study identify elements that are required to accomplish the goal of inclusion, which include:

  • Continued training and for both teachers and leadership to provide the “philosophical readiness need to embrace inclusive practices”.
  • Teacher education
  •  Leadership and collaborative practice. 

We are not alone in our goals for educating students.  There is a worldwide effort to improve learning for all students. Knowing this can help educators and leaders feel supported and motivated to do more.  It can inspire educators to learn more about strategies and inclusive practices happening across the globe.  There is much that can be learned from international inclusion efforts. We can always improve what we are doing.  It is up to us to seek out the knowledge needed to do so.

Resources:

Eric Education Resources, http://eric.ed.gov

International Inclusive Network, http://www.inclusion-international.org

Inclusive Schools Network, inclusive schools.org

Handicap International, http://www.handicap-international.org.uk

References:

“Attitudes of Teachers and Head-Teachers Towards Inclusion in Lebanon”, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Volume 16, Number 2, 1 February 2012

“Mainstreaming Students with Disabilities: A Teacher’s Perspective in India”, Maha Khochen, Julie Radford, Paper presented at the 74th Annual International Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children

“Fostering Inclusive Education:  Principals’ Perspectives in Trinidad and Tobago”, Dennis Conrad, Launcelot Brown, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Volume 15, Number 9, 1, November 2011

Eric Education Resources, http://eric.ed.gov

International Inclusive Network, http://www.inclusion-international.org

Inclusive Schools Network, http://inclusiveschools.org/

Lynn Guidry, M.ED.

Stetson & Associates, Inc

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