(a) The key features of inclusive teaching and learning
By definition inclusive learning ensures that employed teaching methods enable all learners to have equal opportunity to be involved and included in the learning process. It is also focused on treating all learners equally and fairly, without excluding anyone.
We are never teaching a group of learners that are all identical, so it makes sense that we should treat them as individuals with different experiences, abilities and needs which should be recognised and respected. To make sure we formalise this approach we ensure each learner has completed an individual learning plans (ILP) and or action plan. It also means that when we are supporting learners we provide access to different support systems we have available, book, dvds, presentations, computer based training. and audio material.
When designing material, exercises and training material I always take into account different learning styles to ensure I create a balanced session to support delegates who are kinaesthetic, visual or auditor communicators. I also balance activities to ensure the course engages with the theorists, pragmatists, activists and gives space and time to the reflector learners.
When preparing learning sessions, it is also important to ensure images and language reflect the cultural, ethnic, demographic and learning abilities of delegates.
Ways to ensure learners are included during learning sessions include asking individual questions, group questions, paired activity, group activities and taking time to provide individual support and help. Using names and engaging individuals in dialogue also provides opportunities for learners to feel included and significant.
(b) Why it is important to provide opportunities for learners to develop their English, Mathematics, ICT and wider skills such as communication, personal and employability
Providing opportunities for learners to practice the skills they need often means hiding them in normal learning activities. Many learners are resistant to Maths, Literacy and information Communication Technology (ICT) classes. The idea of functional skills was developed by Government.
Functional skills are seen as crucial to alleviate employers worries that future employees are not gaining an understanding of the basics. “Functional skills are practical skills in English, Maths and Information Communication Technology (ICT)” (direct gov); functional skills are available in a large number of educational and training establishments and in the work place.
Functional skills in education should be, where possible, engaging especially if past experience is minimal or not a favourable one. Addressing individual needs, technology can help overcome barriers, but is crucial to establish ground rules to ensure learners are using it appropriately (i.e. not accessing social network). Some learner may be concerned using ICT as they may have epilepsy or dyslexia; in those specific cases regular breaks will be needed and different coloured font and backgrounds will help with reading.
The teacher may use ICT to complement their teaching of the other functional skills, such as power point presentations, interactive lessons inviting learners to use the interactive white boards. Many educational institutions have an online learning area where class notes, homework or power points are uploaded and can be accessed by the learners remotely in their own time, providing time for recap or further work.
Wider skills are skills that help learners to improve their personal learning and thinking skills (PLTS). These are meant to help learners become confident individuals, responsible citizens and successful learners/workers.
There are many ways to challenge learners to improve their skills which are valued by employers. Planning and carrying out investigations and taking informed decisions will help them to be independent enquirers; generating ideas, tackling problems…