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Inclusive Learning: Theories and Application to the Classroom

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 4314 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Assignment on Inclusive Education


Inclusive education implies that all learners in a college become part of the school group, irrespective of their strengths or weaknesses in any region. Among other learners, educators, and support employees, they are included in the sense of belonging. The social worker applies various theories in their work so that the most appropriate and systematic help can be given to their clients. Inclusive Education is a movement and numerous theories are applicable in inclusive classroom settings. This assignment will debate on inclusive education and then will present what theories can be applied in inclusive classroom environment.

Introduction: Inclusive Education

The term “inclusive education” is the combination of two words; “inclusive” and “education”. Inclusive is derived from include. It means, “Including many things or everything”. Inclusive education means “including people of all kind in education, so that they can learn together.”

Inclusive education implies that all learners in a college become part of the school group, irrespective of their strengths or weaknesses in any region. Among other learners, educators, and support employees, they are included in the sense of belonging.

Inclusion in education is a process of enabling all children to learn and participate effectively within mainstream school systems. It does not segregate children who have different abilities or needs. Inclusive education is a rights-based approach to educating children and includes those who are subject to exclusionary pressures.

In almost every country, some children and adults who cannot compete in school are being excluded from formal education altogether. They are driven out of the college system gradually and intentionally because students are not susceptible to their learning styles and backgrounds. Some kids are sorted into categories in a gesture of sympathy and put away from their colleagues in distinct special schools. This has resulted in two distinct education schemes being developed within nations: periodic and special education-teaching for special needs students. The rationale for having two parallel domestic education schemes has been challenged in latest years, however, and the foundations of ‘ special education ‘ have started to crumble. The thinking that has evolved in the disability sector over the past 50 years has had important influence in periodic education not only on special education but also on exercise. Current thinking and understanding require the periodic teacher to stay responsible for ALL learners.

Why Inclusive Education

The United Nations and other international organizations are encouraging the development of inclusive education systems for several reasons.

The most important reason is the human rights for all children to receive education. Providing education for all children in one educational system has educational, social and economic advantages. The UN Salamanca statement 1994 states that:

“Regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society and achieving education for all; moreover, they provide an effective education to all the majority of children and improve the efficiency and ultimately the cost-effectiveness of the entire education system”.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) sets out the rights of children to liberty from discrimination and to represent their desires and opinions. The 1990 World Declaration on Education for All: Meeting Basic Learning Needs is now familiar to us all. The Declaration says, among other things:

Basic education should be provided to all children… To this end, basic education services of quality should be expanded, and consistent measures must be taken to reduce disparities (Article 3.1). (UNESCO, 1998:3)

This is the philosophy of inclusive education that education is the right of every child and all children should be given education equally in the same classroom.

Special Education

For learners who may need extra assistance to be successful learners, special education relates to education. It also refers to education for students who cannot compete in a regular school environment. Since all kids are widely entitled to receive an education, schooling is provided even to those kids who lack the mental ability to take on more sophisticated education that can assist those master fundamental skills.

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Some special education facilities may therefore require distinct classrooms for learners who are unable or unable to participate in a mainstream course. Other times, special education services can assist kids with a specific problem. Students with speech delays, for instance, may have speech therapy and learners with physical issues may take unique occupational therapy classes. But creating special education created several instructional issues. I’m going to list five here. These are:

  • Children who qualify for special education have something wrong with them that makes it hard for them to take part in the regular college curriculum, so they receive a curriculum that is distinct from their colleagues.
  • The labelling and exclusion of children with disabilities and other circumstances from the mainstream of society. Assessment processes tend to classify learners, and this has harmful impacts on the expectations of teachers and parents and on the self-concept of learners
  • The existence of experts in special education promotes frequent educators in the classroom to pass on accountability for kids they consider to be special to others.
  • Resources that could otherwise be used to provide more flexible and responsive forms of education are channelled into distinct provision.
  • The emphasis on Individualised Education Plans and special education assignment analysis tends to reduce students ‘ teacher expectations. Furthermore, task analysis and related behavioural teaching strategies introduce disjointed understanding and abilities, making learning less important for learners.
  • Integration was a sensible agreement to react to these obvious weaknesses. Integration recognises the existence of a continuum of services with or without support, from the special school, to the regular class.

Integrated Education

Integration requires distinct provisions for outstanding kids in the periodic classroom, primarily those traditionally labeled as disabled, through methods such as withdrawal, remedial schooling and/or mainstreaming.

Inclusion vs. Integration

The fresh idea is that a step towards inclusive schooling / education should replace the notion of inclusion. Integration calls for “extra arrangements to accommodate” disabled students “within a mainly unchanged school scheme ;” inclusive education, on the other hand, seeks to restructure schools to react to all children’s learning requirements. Integration therefore calls for distinct provisions for outstanding kids in the periodic classroom, primarily those traditionally labelled as disabled, through methods such as withdrawal, remedial schooling and/or mainstreaming.

In the first example, however, inclusive education acknowledges that unique learning needs may arise from social, psychological, financial, linguistic, cultural as well as physical (or disabled) variables, hence the use of the word “kids with unique requirements” instead of “kids with disabilities.” It also acknowledges that any kid may experience learning difficulties at any moment during the college life, whether short-lived or long-term, and therefore the college must continuously review itself to satisfy the requirements of all its learners.

Inclusive Education

Inclusive education varies from earlier held concepts of “inclusion” and “mainstreaming,” which tended to focus primarily on disability and “unique instructional needs” and meant that the mainstream would change or become “prepared to accommodate” learners. Inclusion, on the other hand, is about the right of the child to engage and the obligation of the school to accept. It’s all about …

• Rejecting, for whatever purpose – capacity, gender, language, care status, family earnings, disability, sexuality, colour, religion or ethnicity;

• Maximizing the involvement of all learners in their selection of community schools;

• Making learning more meaningful and relevant to all, especially those learners who are most susceptible to the pressure of exclusion;

• Rethinking and restructuring strategies, curricula, cultures and procedures in classrooms and teaching environments in order to meet various teaching requirements, regardless of the origin or nature of those requirements.

Inclusion is about school change to improve the educational system for all students. It involves changes in the curriculum, changes in how educators teach and how learners learn, and changes in how learners communicate and connect to each other with and without special needs. Inclusive educational methods reflect the evolving culture of modern classrooms with emphasis on active learning, genuine evaluation methods, applied curriculum, multi-level educational methods, and enhanced attention to varied requirements and individualization of students. The claim is that schools, centres of learning and educational systems must change so that they become caring, nurturing, and supportive educational communities where the needs of all students and teachers are truly met. Inclusive schools no longer provide

“regular education” and “special education”. Instead, inclusive schools provide an inclusive education-which is the inclusion of all kind of people-and as a result student will be able to learn together. It is accessible to all learners, in other words, and ensures that all learners learn and engage. To accomplish this, educators, schools and systems may need to modify in order to better accommodate the variety of requirements that students have and to include them in all elements of school life. It also implies identifying any obstacles within and around the college that impede learning and involvement and reduce or remove these obstacles. Inclusive education is a method that enables all learners to learn and engage efficiently within mainstream school systems, including earlier excluded organisations. Inclusion is not achieved by placing excluded learners within a mainstream environment.

Need for Inclusive Education, for ALL Children

All children have dreams, interests and needs. They need to explore the world to learn. They need to socialize with their peers to develop their identity. The separation of children with disabilities deprives them from the basic stimulation of daily life. Children with disabilities need protection like all children do but keeping them fully dependent on careers threatens their cognitive and social development and increases the risk of neglect and abuse. Exclusion from education reinforces and deepens illiteracy and it increases dependency and poverty for children with disabilities and for those who care for them in their families. All children have unique capacities, opinions and needs and have their own styles of learning. The capacity to learn does not depend on the impairment of a child but on the potential and the way that the child is enabled and encouraged to develop this potential. If decisions are made with their consent, if their learning potential is challenged to the fullest, if they can play and learn together with their peers, all children will be valued and encouraged to learn on their own merits. Therefore, all children need to learn in inclusive educational settings.

Principles of Inclusive Education

Some of the principles, identified by experts, are following;

• Based on equal opportunities, each student has an intrinsic right to education.

• No student in education is excluded or discriminated against on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, domestic, ethnic or social origin, disability, birth, poverty or other status.

• Every student can learn from education and benefit from it.

• Schools are adapting to students ‘ requirements rather than adapting to the school’s requirements.

• The opinions of the student are heard and taken seriously.

• Student differences are a source of wealth and diversity, not a problem.

• Students ‘ variety of requirements and pace of growth are tackled through a broad spectrum of reactions that are flexible.

Benefits of inclusive education

To briefly describe, the benefits of inclusive education are the following;

• All children can be part of their community and develop a sense of belonging and become better prepared for life in the community as children and adults.

• Inclusive education provides better opportunities for learning as children with varying abilities are often better motivated when they learn in classes in schools and are surrounded by other children. Children are exposed to a wide range of activities and people.

• In an inclusive education environment, the expectations on all children are higher. Successful inclusion attempts to develop an individual’s strengths and gifts. Higher expectations usually lead to more success.

• Inclusive education allows children to work on individual goals while being with other students their own age.

• Inclusive education encourages the involvement of parents in the education of their children and in the activities of their local schools.

• Inclusive education fosters a culture of respect and belonging. It provides the opportunity to learn about and accept individual differences. Typically, issues such as harassment and bullying are not as a serious when a culture of inclusion and belonging is created.

• Inclusion provides all children opportunities to develop friendships with one another. Friendships provide role models and opportunities for growth. They are essential to a successful and fulfilling life in the community.

• Inclusive education usually has a positive effect on our communities. As children learn to accept one another, it is less likely that certain individuals will be rejected by society as they have been in the past.

Social Work Theories and Inclusive Education

In the practice of inclusive education, a blend of various theories are used. The three major theories applied are:

Empowerment Approach to social work

Problem-solving Theory

Behavioural Theory

Empowerment Approach and Inclusive Education

We see historically the persons with disability (PWD) were being stigmatized and this was due to this stigma that a separate educational system had developed for PWD. But contemporary trend is now changing. According to the empowerment approach PWD is not a disable but the stigma imposed on him is making him disable.

The empowerment approach deals with a particular kind of block to problem-solving: that imposed by external society by virtue of stigmatized collective identity. It will be better if we clarify our concept of empowerment a little more.

Empowerment Defined

Empowerment means, “To give power or authority”. Empowerment is a process by which individuals and groups gain power, access to resources and control over their own lives. In doing so, they gain the ability to achieve their highest personal and collective aspirations and goals.

Key Concepts

Empowerment resides in person not the helper or social worker.

Empowerment addresses oppression, stratification, and inequality as social barrier.

This approach does not blame for lack of resources or power.

This approach rejects that problem develops because of personal difficulty.

Empowerment is the process of increasing interpersonal, intrapersonal, and political power so that individuals can take action to improve their own lives.

In the context of empowerment approach inclusive education is the empowerment of all children of a community through inclusive classroom practice where each child learns according to his needs and capacities. The curriculum is not predetermined and imposed on children rather it is developed and modified according to the needs of children overtime.

According to empowerment perspective the workers role in inclusive education is a resource consultant, a sensitizer of the community, a teacher/trainer, and a co-operator.

Problem Solving Theory and Inclusive Education

The major contributor of the problem-solving theory was H.H. Perlman. This theory assumes that “living issues do not represent a client’s weakness and failure, but rather are the result of a natural human development and change process.  If issues are an inevitable component of life, individuals also have access to the ability to fix them. The process may be blocked for clients because they lack knowledge, have inadequate resources, or experience emotional responses that impair their ability to problem solve. The social employee deliberately generates a cooperative connection with the customer that can be used through their difficult position to motivate and help customers to do the difficult job of thinking and feeling.

John Dewy said that “learning is problems solving.” In inclusive classroom practice the teacher use this theory to solve the problems of those pupils who may be feeling/experiencing problem with the current system.

Let us see how this theory works in inclusive classroom practice.

If some students are experiencing problem behaviour in classroom, we have to make a functional assessment of this problem behaviour. It will help us in modification of curriculum according to the students need. Now a team of students, parents, professional social workers and teachers is to be involved who ask questions about the physical environment, social interactions, instructional environment and non-social factors.

For example, questions concerning the physical environment may include;

Are there too many people in the room

What about the physical arrangement of the class?

What about the lighting of the room?

Instructional environment questions may include;

Is the work too hard? Too easy?

Is the pace too fast? Too slow?

Is the teacher too loud?

Social and non-social factor questions may include;

Did the student have enough sleep?

Enough to eat?

Is the student involved in delinquent behaviour?

Based on the assessment answers the team plans a strategy to modify the environment so that the problem behaviour does not occur.

This is how the problem-solving theory is applicable in inclusive education when some students are experiencing problem it is not considered as their weakness as a natural part of life and the capacity to solve the problem is there within the students themselves.

Behavioural Theory and Inclusive Education

The major assumption of behaviour theory is that All behaviour-maladaptive or adaptive-is learned. A maladaptive behaviour is adapted through learning and can be modified through additional learning.

The behavioural model says that there are three major types of learning;

Respondent conditioning/Classical Conditioning

Operant Conditioning


The classical conditioning is the most familiar type of learning to all of us in which a neutral stimulus is conditioned with the help of an unconditioned stimulus. According to Operant learning theory much of human behaviour is determined by positive and negative reinforces. A positive reinforce is any stimulus that when applied following a behaviour, increases or strengthen that behaviour. A negative reinforce is any stimulus that a person will terminate or avoid if given the opportunity. Briefly rewards increase a behaviour and punishment decreases a behaviour.

Modelling is the 3rd type of learning. It refers to a change in behaviour because of the observation of another’s behaviour-that is, learning by vicarious experience or examination. Much of everyday learning takes place through modelling.

Modelling is that technique which is used in inclusive classroom settings to develop new appropriate behaviours in students. The inclusive classroom needs one rule-respect one another.

This is now the teacher who has to show the student how to respect one another and his has to be done through modelling and behavioural rehearsal.

Both the normal and disabled-special-pupils can be taught that there is no difference between them. They are only students and every student has unique learning capacities and learning need and requirements. This must be done through modelling. But the technique of operant learning can also be utilized for making behaviour more appropriate.

These are the three major theories which-according to my opinion-can be applied in inclusive education practice. But remember that inclusive education is not theory bound. A teacher has to time and again observe and assess student’s needs, whether the curriculum is meeting their requirement and are the students satisfied with the current arrangement etc.


Inclusive education is not an educational system, but a movement based on the conviction that people / adults work in inclusive groups, work with individuals of distinct races, cultures, ambitions, disabilities Kids of all ages should learn and develop in the same vein in settings that resemble the environments in which they will eventually operate. On multiple grounds, however, inclusive education was also criticised. Opponents of inclusive schools believe that individual differences will slow the progress of students without special needs. Therefore, this will create problems for teachers. Some claim that when contrasted to cheaper or more efficient measures, such as special education, inclusive schools are not a cost-effective reaction. They claim that by offering individualized and personalized training to satisfy their distinctive requirements, special education helps “solve” students ‘ special requirements. This is to assist learners with special needs to adapt to the university and community’s mainstream as rapidly as possible. Proponents counter that learners with special needs are not completely in the student life mainstream as they are isolated from special education. Some contend that isolating learners with special needs may diminish their self-esteem and decrease their capacity to cope with others. They will not see the struggles and accomplishments they can accomplish together in maintaining these learners in distinct schools. Now this has become a debate that whether inclusive education is better or special education. But the future as we see is more inclusive oriented. Equal attention should be given to both children with and without disability if inclusion is to be achieved.


Online Sources

  • http://www.docstoc.com/docs/4358549/empowerment-theory
  • http://www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies/archiveuk/barton/inclusive%20education.pdf
  • http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-special-education.htm
  • http://www.uni.edu/coe/inclusion/strategies/content_behavior.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusive_classroom
  • http://www.crin.org/docs/World_Vision_DisabilityHRC4.doc


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