The Inclusion of Inclusive Education in Teacher-Training: Issues of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Staffing
UNESCO has defined inclusive education as the opening up of ‘schools, centre of learning and educational systems…to ALL children. For this to happen, teachers, schools and systems may need to change so they can better accommodate the diversity of needs that pupils have and (ensure) that they (the pupils) are included in all aspects of school life. It also means a process of identifying any barriers within and round the school that hinder learning, and reducing or removing these barriers.
Inclusive Education is therefore a process, a product and a philosophy – a growing body of approaches, strategies and methods, a
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For instance, it is not possible to understand the problems faced by girls in schools without considering the impact of some traditional beliefs on the ways they are regarded and treated. As Webster indicates, schools in Papua New Guinea can perpetuate and exacerbate these repressive attitudes (Webster 2004b, pp.11-12), but schools can also be a ‘ladder of opportunity’ for girls as well as boys (Webster 2004a, p.11). These are only two of the many aspects of diversity. Cumulatively they mean that children are complex individuals living in complex worlds, and should be regarded and treated as such. For instance, consider the case of a blind boy – let us call him Simon. His visual impairment will have some effect on the educational provision he needs – e.g. he will probably benefit from learning Braille. However there will be many other aspects to Simon which his teacher will also need to take into account to help him to realise his potential – for instance, he may be particularly gifted in some way or speak a minority language, along with several other members of the class. He will also have his own distinctive personality. And his teacher must not only work with Simon but everyone who has any connection with him – particularly family and community members and other teachers and pupils at the school. Although teachers must appreciate the complexity of diversity, they must also recognize the unity within diversity. For instance, Simon, the boy described above,