Educators are philosophically required to commit and appreciate the importance of diversity in the classroom. It is the role of educators to appreciate the learning differences by acknowledging that they are natural and positive. As a result, educators and education stakeholders should identify and capitalize on the strengths and interests of individual students (Driver & Powell, 2013). In other words, teachers, educators and all stakeholders in the education sector should create an inclusive learning environment where diverse students learn together side by side in the same classroom set up. Since children are excluded from class across the world due to disability, poverty, language, race, religion, and gender among other factors, they should not be denied the right to education due to their differences (Williams, 2013). Educators should, therefore, appreciate and advocate the need for inclusion and exceptional learning in the classroom. For example, children with disability or such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual or physical disability should free part and puzzle of the classroom. As exceptional learners, they should be included in all classroom activities like their peers. As an educator, my philosophy of inclusion and exceptional learning is very important to me because I value diversity in the classroom. My goal is to unleash the potential of each and every student irrespective of their capabilities, disabilities or talents. I take inclusion education very seriously as I strive to build the necessary skills as a future educator in early childhood education.
Intended Career Path
I am passionate about early childhood education. I hope to pursue higher education in early childhood such as a master's degree in early childhood education. However, before I advance my education, I hope to work in a preschool institution and use the knowledge gained so far in promoting the cognitive growth and development of preschool children. Young children fascinate my interests because I believe a strong foundation prepares them for future life experiences both in and out of school. Most importantly, my objective would be to foster inclusivity and exceptional learning in early child care and preschool environment. According to research, inclusivity in school provides better quality education for all children. Furthermore, schools create a context for a child's first interaction or relationship with the world beyond their families, nurturing the development of social interactions and relationships. As a future, early childhood educator, working in a local preschool education center will equip me with the skills necessary for running my own childcare and preschool institution later in life.
Being an educator is more than having the knowledge about systematic planning, educational content and instructing students. Teachers should demonstrate their professional conduct, beliefs, ethics, actions, and attitudes that facilitate learning in the education environment. My professional dispositions include integrity, self-control, honesty, trustworthy and a good collaborator. As an early childhood professional, I value integrity in the sense that I should commit to students' learning process and promote autonomous functioning and self-determination. Apart from that, I must demonstrate cultural competencies to ensure an inclusive learning environment. Similarly, self-control is a virtue I uphold especially while dealing with young children. Early childhood educators should demonstrate perseverance and patience especially while dealing with exceptional students whose learning pace might be slower than the rest of the class. By upholding self-control, I should manage to hold my anger and frustrations whenever students misbehave or reflect poor academic performance. Likewise, honesty and trustworthiness are important to me as well. As an educator, parents and guardians entrust their children to me and I should take care of them as my own. Lastly, being a team player is my key competence. Early childhood requires collaboration and teamwork to nurture the academic, cognitive and social growth and development in children. I am easy to work with and respect both my colleagues and students to achieve the desired educational outcomes.
Definition of Inclusion
My understanding of inclusivity in education is that every child has the right to academic and life-skill success. The school and classroom environment should equally accommodate all students regardless of the challenges they face (Williams, 2013). Therefore, I believe that exceptional children with disabilities are as competent as nondisabled children. As such, there is a need for educators to accept, attend and understand the diverse needs of students that include social, emotional, academic, cognitive and physical differences to foster inclusion in education. I believe that every person has the right to proper education without any form of discrimination and should be equipped with proper knowledge and life skills to conquer life's challenges. Furthermore, my view on inclusion includes equal access to education to minority children irrespective of their ethnicity, race or religion.
Current State of Inclusion
The landscape of education in the United States has tremendously evolved in the last five decades. In the 1960s, the civil rights movement affected every school in the US to include students from minority groups. Segregation was a big challenge in US society by then. Consequently, disabled children were taught differently and some were homeschooled compared to normal children. However, the congressional passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) created an opportunity for inclusive education in the least restrictive environment (LRE) (Kurth & Foley, 2014). Currently, inclusion in the US operates on the foundation that students who require special needs in education access mainstream schools just like ordinary students. As a result, students benefit from partial or full inclusion in the US within multiple school systems. In schools that offer partial inclusion, disabled students participate and interact with nondisabled students in classrooms. However, if a child with special needs disrupts lessons, he/she is taken to another classroom to complete the day's lessons. Full inclusion entails total participation with nondisabled peers in all lessons of the day.
On the other hand, inclusion in the US education system still faces a variety of challenges. Individual states report to experience a shortage of special education educators leading to the added cost in short term training needs for teachers to acquire conditional licensure as an alternative to a four-year degree program. Nevertheless, the adoption of technology has helped educators to develop effective instructional materials to equally cater to the diverse needs of students. However, more efforts are required to promote inclusion in school in the American education system.
Importance of Collaboration
A collaborative education environment is a fundamental attribute that all educators and school administrators should strive to attain. Enabling a collaborative learning environment creates a community of caring people working hand in hand to achieve a common goal. According to recent studies, educators and school administrators are highly interested in collaboration among teachers than previous generations (Kurth & Foley, 2014). When teachers collaborate effortlessly, they have a positive impact on school performance. Collaboration ensures positive student outcomes because it teaches them to work together as a team and develop social skills while acknowledging diversity. In the same light, collaboration among students nurtures peer learning since students have different skills, talents, knowledge, and passions.
Educator collaboration helps to delegate tasks on core competencies according to personality and expertise. Teachers learn to trust each other accountable and even implement differentiated learning instructions for best learner outcomes. Essentially, it is also important to promote collaboration between parents and teachers. Parents are as important and teachers in helping their children achieve academic success. There should be effective communication between teachers and parents. Teachers should report to parents about their performance of the children to forge a partnership with the objective of improving educational outcomes. Therefore, parents should be actively involved in the academic progress of their children and frequently interact with educators and school administrators.
Using Evidence-Based Strategies
Evidence-based practice is deeply rooted in the education lexicon. It is an important aspect in teaching that helps educators to use evidence to decide the appropriate teaching design and methodology as well as monitor the progress of students to evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching strategies (Forlin, 2010). Evidence-based practice is also important for creating education inclusion in the United States. Therefore, all educational interventions must be supported by evidence-based practice such as the adoption of education technologies to improve learner outcomes. With this note, the diverse nature of students requires the use of universal design for learning (UDL) to promote an inclusive learning environment. Exceptional students require the use of a teaching design that unleashes their potential to match the abilities, passions, and interests just like normal students. As a future educator, I will use UDL to promote inclusivity in the classroom by the use of digital technologies to present verbal and visual information to enhance the comprehension and retention of classroom material. As such, UDL is a great example of the use of the evidence-based practice to foster inclusion in education.
Assessments form the core part of learning instructions because they determine whether students meet their education goals. However, prior to assessment, teachers should design an outcome template where feedback about the learners' performance is communicated. Likewise, teachers should clearly communicate the course objectives and what is expected of every student in the completion of the course. An example of a good template in a course rubric that gives differentiated instructions to each and every student and fosters effective feedbacks. Teachers should appropriately design assessments with a keen interest in maintaining inclusiveness in the classroom. Teachers should know the individual skills, talents, strengths, and weaknesses of every student in order to provide fair and valid assessments that promote inclusion education. Assessments should follow the concept of scaffolding for the individualized success of every student (Driver & Powell, 2013). Therefore, I will seek to ensure fair and equity in assessments by first evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of every student, and set achievable expectations that do not limit their potential. I would make assessments engaging and fun to capture the interests and skills of every student in an inclusive learning environment.
In the education environment, the needs of students differ from one another and they need individualized teacher support. In particular, students with special needs need a...
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