Inclusive Education

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Inclusion is commonly defined as a process of reorganization of the educational institution to serve students with a full range of abilities in the mainstream education classroom with suitable in-class support (Horne & Timmons, 2009). Recent studies demonstrate that promoting inclusive practices in mainstream schools result in better overall learning outcomes of the entire school system (Barber & Mourshed, 2007). According to many authors, several important aspects such as training, resources, legislation and teachers play a key role in successful implementation of inclusive education policies and practices (Boer, Pijl & Minnaert, 2011).  The latter are regarded as key persons in the development and implementation of inclusive education (Subban & Sharma 2006; Malinen, Savolainen & Xu, 2012).

Furthermore, inclusive education is one of the major strategies to address the issues of exclusion and discrimination (Peters, 2003). According to the philosophy of inclusive education, schools should be considered as a safe environment educating all children regardless their differences in ability, gender, language, class and ethnicity. Therefore, it is the primary role of school principals and teachers to commit to the transformation of their school environments for the successful implementation of inclusive education (UNESCO, 2009).

There has been a mixed reaction to the implementation of inclusive practices in the classroom among teachers in different contexts (Horne & Timmons, 2009). In general, researchers argue that successful implementation of inclusive education largely depends on qualified teachers’ positive attitudes toward inclusive education (Subban & Sharma 2006; Malinen, Savolainen & Xu, 2012).

In their study Horne & Timmons (2009) studied teachers’ perceptions of the inclusion of children with special needs in the regular classroom. By adopting a mixed-method research design, researchers concluded that teachers from regular elementary classrooms were generally positive about inclusion of children with special needs into regular classrooms; however lack of teacher training, poor leadership, and the shortage of time present numerous challenges to meet educational needs of all students.

Subban & Sharma (2006) further explored teachers’ attitudes and concerns towards the implementation of inclusive education in the light of policy changes in Australia. According to authors’ hypothesis, teachers’ attitudes may influence their practices and behavior in acceptance of children with special needs, which in turn may influence on the implementation of inclusive education practices. Findings of their quantitative study revealed that teachers’ attitudes are less positive, if to include students with emotional/behavioral disorders and who may disturb everyday classroom activities. Furthermore, findings indicated the difference in attitudes and confidence among teachers who had some previous training in teaching students with special needs.

If Kazakhstan follows international trends in regards to inclusive education, then there is an urgent need to develop national model of inclusive education, which should include preparing qualified and competent teacher professionals.

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3 thoughts on “Inclusive Education

  1. Dear Ainur, thanks for raising such an important issue as “teacher training” in inclusive education. Yeah, there is an urgent need to train not only teachers for inclusive education but also for whole general education in Kazakhstan. Recently, I have read an article about the plans of Teacher Training Centre “Orleu” to orginize the work of teachers in education system. According to the centre’s plan (2012), they identified 6 main directions in professional development of teaching staff:
    1.To update the content of vocational training programs and forms of professional development of teachers;
    2.To use student-centered technology, interactive teaching methods, and competence approaches;
    3. To support and assist educators based on the study and analysis of their positive experience, professional difficulties and needs of professional competence of teachers;
    4.To create methodological environment through the introduction and use of modern information,computer technologies, and distance learning during the peroid of professional development courses;
    5. To retrain and to teach educators to work with software and methodology, to develop educational programs and original courses;
    6.To provide with methodological support and assist educational institutions and individual educators in experimental activities which aim at updating the content, forms of training and education of schoolchildren.
    I hope inclusive education is also enclasped/embraced in the framework of their plan.

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  2. This is very interesting idea.
    Recently, I have been thinking a lot about inclusiveness and the attitude of society towards this new trend for Kazakhstan. Although, it should not become a trend or a fashion which will eventually vanish and leave no prints. It should, instead become an unconscious habit just like cleaning your teeth in the morning: we never tend to think why we do it we simply do this and that’s it. The same should happen with inclusiveness and equity. We should not divide people by their physical appearance or mental abilities. The first thought should always be their human nature which should empower and lead our desire to be helpful and attentive to their personality. It should not happen out of pity or guilt it should be easy and natural. When we talk of inclusiveness we should first include these people in our minds and hearts.

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  3. Thanks for your blog. I agree with you in terms of importance of inclusive education. I think it is the very education which protects marginalized children and provides equal opportunity to get quality education. It will be good if you reflect your points to more Kazakhstani context.

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