The world with all its natural, geographical, and physical diversities is a wonderland for children. What adds more to their curiosity is how its human inhabitants lead dramatically different lives from each other. These dramatic differences exist in a classroom as well. This is where the need arises to teach young children about the diverse lives of not only their classmates but also the people who are not in their immediate family. Children should know about the lives of people who might not find enough representation in popular culture. Similarly, children with disabilities or who belong to underserved groups should also feel represented, heard, and accepted in the classroom.
As teachers are essentially the only adult group apart from parents with whom children spend the most time, it becomes important to initiate conversations around inclusion and create a space like the Big Umbrella. Presented below are the various strategies that have come up in our research about how teachers can make learning spaces more inclusive.
Model inclusive communication
Easier learning in smaller fractions
In peer tutoring, students (often belonging to the same age group but with varied abilities) work together in pairs. They share a symbiotic relationship based on mutualism where both the participants benefit from the learning experience. Children without disabilities develop a deep sense of responsibility towards their peers with disabilities. Children with disabilities also develop a respectful attitude towards their classmates who are supporting them.
Taking help from assistive technology
SOURCE : https://gettecla.com/blogs/news/using-assistive-technology-in-the-classroom
Students with complex support needs communicate differently, using assistive technology supports. Assistive technology comprises any assistive hardware, software, or technical tool which provides support to an individual and facilitates the individual’s functioning. These special types of equipment help make education accessible and engaging to students with diverse learning needs. Assistive technology ranges from high tech wheelchairs to something as low tech as a pencil grip.
In tandem with making these tools available to children who need them, it is essential to make other students understand the works of these communication technologies. This figure from Tecla explains the numerous functions of assistive technology in a classroom.