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A safe, inclusive environment will give a teacher greater freedom to actually teach.
Consider Bloom's taxonomy, a favorite of administrators and advisors in my area. At the lower levels of the hierarchy of needs are basic, everyday things like food, sleep, and safety. While the school cannot provide all of these things, it is a controlled environment; what takes place in the school should be directed toward ensuring that these basic needs are met. Students who feel unsafe or excluded will be just as unwilling or unable to learn as would a student who was starving or violently ill.
Having a plan is important, but the way it is enacted is equally important. For example, a syllabus with the list of class rules and expectations is helpful from an academic standpoint, but meaningless if the rules are not consistently enforced, or expectations congratulated when they are met. Make your expectations visible; this includes printing out the rules and posting them prominently, and never letting something go. This isn't to say that you should be vindictive, but students will remember that one time you let them down more than the times you were there for them.
Second, maintain professionalism. Some advisors say that teachers should never raise their voices; I've done so to positive effect. That sort of nuance is really up to you. The key point is that students should not "get" to you; they should understand that you are passionate about the job and have strong moral character, but that they are not personally being "targeted" by you for punishment should they transgress. When students create an uninclusive or unsafe environment it's rarely because of, or directed at, the teacher. Also remember that students will not be quick to speak up for themselves; one of my students was repeatedly told he was stupid, retarded, etc. by another student, but he jumped to that student's defense every time I intervened. Make careful judgments about how much intervention will actually get you the results you want.
Finally, involve parents, and not only on a something-is-wrong basis. Make proactive calls and research a student's academic and disciplinary history. Send materials home with them to be completed with their parents. Make a newsletter to inform parents and students of what's taking place in your classes. Include student work, and post it prominently in the room as well. In the absence of parent involvement, give students visibility within the class; they're much more likely to feel included and be inclusive when they feel accountable for it.
Note that I did not include group work in my recommendations; group work is a tough nut that can cause as many problems for inclusiveness as it does benefits.
- Many teachers, when asking questions, encourage students to raise their hands of their own accord and call on the individual who raised their hand the fastest or maybe a student who has not answered recently. In order to encourage an inclusive environment, perhaps it would be more beneficial for the teacher to call on students instead to make sure that all students get a chance to speak out. This technique can be employed until students are more engaged in the classroom.
- Classroom organization can be a big factor in whether students feel included in the classroom. Setting up the desks in pods or groups rather than rows will help students collaborate and work in a team.
- Bouncing off the last method, changing seating in a classroom can help everyone feel included by forcing students to form closer bonds with a variety of different people. Through group activities and such, each group/pod of students can get very close, but the negative of this could be that students get stuck into certain friend groups. Mixing the seating arrangement every now and again will help students make new friends, thus feeling more included, and mixing personalities will teach students how to work with a variety of individuals.
A safe and inclusive classroom environment will help a teacher impart new skills among the students because students can more easily reach out to other students and learn from them as well. Every individual processes information slightly differently and by collaborating on what they have learned from the teacher, students will come into touch with new knowledge from their classmates. This is only possible when students feel free to work with their peers.
There are many different kinds of children. They may learn differently and require certain attention from their teacher. The best way to create this sort of inclusive learning atmosphere a teacher must be confident in their skills. If a teacher is nervous and putting themselves down, they will end up making more mistakes than if they remained optimistic. The teacher has to be positive and know they will do well including all of their students.
Next would be parent involvement. Parents need to be involved i school activities and meetings, Make them aware of what the students are learning and how they are doing in the school setting. Allow them to be active in their child's learning.
Having an inclusive classroom will allow the teacher to focus on all the students and give them all equal opportunities to learn. Teachers must fix their lessons to fit each child and that will help each and every student go on a path to success.
A safe, inclusive classroom environment is essential for student learning.
When students feel safe, comfortable and accepted by the teacher and their peers they are more open to participate and become an active learner in the classroom.
Create an inclusive classroom by:
1. Ensuring all students understand they are a valuable asset to the classroom learning environment. Each student's input in classroom activities not only helps other students learn, but develops that student's own thinking as well. Student participation in small group activities, paired activities and cooperative projects are a few ways to give students the opportunity to participate and encourage active learning.
2. Including all who have an impact on the child's learning. Parents are a vital part in ensuring student success. Keeping them updated and aware of their child's progress encourages the student and will usually give the teacher extra support in the classroom. Other teachers and educators involved in a student's education should also be informed when necessary. Communication is key.
3. Creating an inclusive environment. An organized, well-planned classroom allows for greater student learning and gives the teacher the freedom to teach. Student materials should be organized, desks arranged for appropriate or planned classroom activities and classroom expectations should be clear and consistent.
When a classroom is safe and inclusive the teacher will have ample opportunities to teach and facilitate the desired student learning.
An inclusive classroom would allow the students to be more social. It is in my opinion, more comfortable and the students would be at ease. They can learn from each other and help out their peers. They would still learn from the teachers and their parents. Three ways to create this would be:
1. Assign group tasks and activities every once in a while. Let the students participate in the discussion. It shouldn't always be just the teacher who does the talking.
2. Be a confident teacher. Don't allow students (or even parents, to an extent) bully you into doing what they want. You are the teacher. Be professional. Set your rules, follow your plans and stick to them. A confident teacher, is a good teacher. How would your students believe you if you don't believe in yourself?
3. Include the parents. Most teachers would only call or meet with the parents if something bad has happened or the student is doing poorly. I think it would be great if the parents can be updated as to how their child is doing whether or not it is very good or not. After all, the parents is also a key to the child's learning.
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