Sexual orientation, ethnicity, and learning disabilities can make students feel unwelcomed. Here's how to create an inclusive learning environment,
How to create a more inclusive learning environment
Students of all types should feel welcomed in the classroom. The school environment shouldn’t be a place where anyone feels shamed or shunned. This is especially true for those students with special needs or learning disabilities. A welcoming environment where students feel a sense of belonging will help them to learn and thrive.
Unfortunately, the learning experience isn’t the same for all students. Sexual orientation, ethnicity, and learning disabilities all too often make students the victims of microaggression. In this article, we’ll explain how to create a more inclusive learning environment.
Understanding learning disabilities
To create a learning environment that is more inclusive of all students’ needs, including those with disabilities, it’s important to have a good understanding of them. There are many different learning disabilities, each requiring different teaching strategies. Many go unrecognized during the school year, so educators must know how to identify them to create an inclusive classroom environment.
Students with dyslexia have difficulty reading and understanding words. They can also have problems with recognizing words they already know. This learning disability has nothing to do with intelligence or laziness.
Those with dysgraphia experience problems with handwriting. They could also have some difficulty forming letters and writing within a defined space, like writing between the lines.
Dyscalculia is having difficulty understanding mathematic concepts. Those with this learning disability will have problems with addition, multiplication, measuring, and anything else relating to numbers.
Students with verbal apraxia will have issues with the spoken word and typically have problems with the ability to say what they are thinking. Those with verbal apraxia know what they want to say but experience difficulty expressing themselves.
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) sufferers have difficulty focusing, paying attention, controlling behavior, and are hyperactive.
Creating an inclusive classroom
Creating an inclusive classroom means including all students’ needs. It can be a challenge, but for the learning experience to be equal, the entire school community must abide by the same ground rules. Inclusive teaching will benefit everyone. An inclusive education, along with new teaching strategies, will help to ensure that every student gets the education that they deserve.
Use inclusive language
Some students will identify by different pronouns and it’s crucial to respect how they see themselves, especially for those in high school. Sexual orientation during the teenage years can be confusing for some students. An effective strategy to include all students without offending anyone is to use non-gendered words like “scholars” or “students” instead of “boys” and “girls.”
Ensure that you never divide students into small groups by ethnicity or gender. The classroom should contain books and other teaching tools that help to boost self-esteem and a sense of belonging. When discussing role models, make sure that all ethnicities are included. Set ground rules and stick to them. Explain that every student will be treated equally and that bullying or microaggression will not be tolerated.
Have high expectations for all students
Inclusive education helps to boost each student’s self-esteem regardless of disabilities, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Encourage all students to stand up for social justice and to address the inequities of life. An inclusive classroom environment will create a more productive and respectful world.
Help students with special needs
Ensure that lesson plans can be accomplished by everyone, including learners with disabilities. Some students who have special needs, such as those diagnosed with dyslexia, may require the use of assistive technologies. Encourage them to use devices like text to speech tools such as a reading pen. Some students with learning disabilities could benefit from the use of a text to speech program like Speechify. Speechify can help them to become more proficient and confident readers by reading along while listening to a narration of the written words.
Set ground rules
For all students to feel safe, respected, and comfortable, it’s of utmost importance to set ground rules and stick to them. Create simple rules for all classmates to follow. Rules can include:
Aggression or violence is not tolerated
No hateful language is allowed
Everyone has a right to be who they are and to express themselves freely without judgment
The inclusive classroom is free from bias or prejudice of any type. Setting ground rules early allows all students to know what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior. Each student’s learning experience should be the best possible without fear of repercussions for being different.
Focus on the world
Being inclusive in the classroom and showing respect and tolerance for classmates goes much further than pronouns and standing up for social justice. Encourage students to learn more about the world and cultures and ethnicities other than their own. Teach them about the differences among people while enforcing how we are all the same.
Speechify can help even out the playing field
Speechify can help to create equal opportunities for students with disabilities. This text to speech tool can assist students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities in improving their reading skills. Following along while listening to a narration has been proven to increase reading comprehension.
A fun way to encourage students with reading disabilities is the ability to change the narrator’s voice to a celebrity. By making reading fun, they’re more likely to want to read rather than being forced to do so. Speechify is compatible with iOS, Android, and Chrome. Give Speechify a try for free today.
What are the four key elements of inclusion?
In any environment, be it a school community or a workplace, the four key elements of inclusion are policies, procedures, culture, and norms.
What are the key principles of inclusion?
The four key principles of inclusive education are to promote access, equity, opportunity, and the rights of all children in the classroom.
What are the benefits of an inclusive environment?
There are many benefits of an inclusive environment. More respect for those different from others and growing as an individual are two of the many benefits.