An inclusive classroom is designed to maximize the potential of all students in the class no matter what their abilities. In practical terms, it means a typical classroom includes students with and without special needs. Some of the benefits of an inclusive classroom are:
- Students become aware of people’s differences and accept them.
- Students learn to work together and support each other.
- Students with special needs are less likely to feel isolated or socially excluded.
- Teachers use different teaching methods to facilitate the students’ different learning styles and this helps all students.
Here are ten ways to make a classroom more inclusive:
- Arrange students’ desks in groups so they learn about and from
- Make a set of classroom rules with input from the students at the start of the school term.
- Avoid sensory overload when decorating the classroom and setting up learning centres. Decorations should foster a calm and welcoming environment.
- Make sure learning centres or stations are physically accessible to all students.
- Use variety in learning centres to address different learning styles and levels of skill development.
- Have equipment in the classroom to help different teaching styles including a white board, visual aids, audio player/recorder, large pads of paper, paper and pens in different colours, etc.
- Give students choices when assigning homework. For example, if a worksheet has 20 problems, tell the students to each pick ten to do. If a book report is assigned, let students choose how to present the information. It could be the traditional written report, an oral report, a slide show, or a combination of these.
- If a project requires students to work in pairs or groups, the teacher chooses the students who will work together. The students do not pick who they want to work with and this avoids a student feeling bad if they are the last student picked.
- Teachers support struggling students, whether they have special needs. For example, teachers give students a “preview” of the topics they plan to cover the next day or week. The preview can be anything that helps the student. For example, if students are struggling with math, the teacher gives them notes with examples they can review at home. If students have trouble taking notes in class, teachers give them outlines of the topic. The students take notes on the outline when the subject is taught. Teachers encourage students to preview the topics on websites like Khan Academy.
- Teachers explain the concept of inclusion and how it works to parents. Encourage parents to express comments and concerns to the teacher throughout the year and not just at parent teacher meetings. In addition, ask parents to help in the classroom. Teachers ask parents to read to groups of students, help with science projects, help with arts and crafts or help develop learning centres.
For more information on inclusive classrooms and learning centers see: