Essay Advancing Inclusive Education And 21st Centruy Learning Skills Through The Arts

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ADVANCING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AND 21

CENTURY LEARNING SKILLS THROUGH THE ARTS

GÉRALDINE D. SIMONNET

JAMES E. MODRICK

KEYWORDS

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Inclusive education – Arts education – Inclusive educational practices – 21 Century skills

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the concept of inclusive education and suggests that the arts have both a valuable role to st play in this context and also provide the skills that are in high demand for the 21 century workplace. The paper starts by reflecting on the meaning of inclusive education in the context of the Salamanca Statement, a human rights’ approach. It then discusses some of the teaching and learning methodologies that have been shown to be highly pertinent for achieving inclusive quality education for all and shows the interrelation between quality inclusive practices and the arts. Following, the paper explores how arts education, beyond the rights-based st approach, favours the acquisition of the skills demanded in the 21 Century. The arts, the paper concludes, are influential not only in supporting inclusive teaching and learning practices, but also in the bringing to all children st the skills needed in the 21 Century.

UNESCO OBSERVATORY, FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND PLANNING, THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE REFEREED E-JOURNAL,
VOL 1. ISSUE 5. APRIL 2010

ADVANCING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION AND 21

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CENTURY SKILLS THROUGH THE ARTS

This paper explores opportunities from the fields of the arts and human rights to advance inclusive education st while providing all students with the high-demand skills of the 21 Century. It does not address issues related to physical access to education or the financing of education, though these are obviously critical if high quality education is to be provided for all.

The paper is structured as follows: Section I discusses the concept of inclusive education, including the human rights-based approach that supports it. Section II elaborates on the notion of inclusive curriculum and presents various inclusive teaching and learning strategies. Section III suggests that arts education facilitate inclusive st practices while bringing the skills and competencies needed to all children in the 21 Century. The last section concludes. I.

THE INTERNATIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION

The definition of inclusive education used in this paper is that adopted by 92 governments and 25 international organisations at the World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality, held in Salamanca,
Spain, in 1994:

Inclusive education is based on the right of all learners to a quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives. Focusing particularly on vulnerable and marginalized groups, it seeks to develop the full potential of every individual. The ultimate goal of inclusive education is to end all forms of discrimination and foster social cohesion. (UNESCO)

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular, adopted by the General Assembly of the
United Nations on December 10, 1948, recognises that everyone has the right to education and that education shall be directed towards the full development of the human personality and towards the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. A significant landmark toward advancing inclusive education is the legally binding Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which was adopted by the United
Nations in December 2006 and currently has 139 signatories. Article 24 not only asserts that ‘… States Parties shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to the full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity,’ but also ensures that ‘effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the…