Briefly discuss how you believe policies and legislation related to Inclusive Education could influence attitudes towards the way society accepts difference.
In recent times I believe there has been a heightened awareness regarding the necessity to develop Inclusive Classrooms that celebrate difference and cater for a diverse range of learning styles and needs. My belief is reflected in the increasing amount of policies and legislation being developed at both state and Commonwealth levels. These approaches range from Anti-Discrimination Acts, Child Protection, Disability Services and Privacy Legislation. Examples of a few of the most recent approaches designed to promote and support Inclusive Education include:
• School Improvement and Accountability Framework – Destination 2010 Action Plan, 2006 – 2008
• Disability Standards for Education, 2005
• Framework for Gifted Education, 2009
All policies and legislation have been designed to ensure every child, regardless of difference, is included in the complete education system. Furthermore, all legislative policies developed by the Government must now take the rights of all students with disabilities into account (Ashman & Elkins, 2009). This reinforces the fact that policies and legislation are helping build a positive attitude towards Inclusive Education.
The Inclusive Education Statement (2005) is an ideal example of how catering for difference is being approached in modern day classrooms. This statement has the power to positively influence an entire school community’s values, attitudes and beliefs regarding the incorporation of an Inclusive Education. Specifically, Mintz (2007) found that when teachers have exposure to highly diverse classroom environments, positive attitudes towards disability in general will be enhanced.
I believe strategies which promote and value the inclusion of diversity, such as the Inclusive Education Statement (2005), are helping create a more accommodating society in which people are encouraged to accept and embrace difference. People will view difference as a valuable asset in any modern classroom environment. With the successful implementation of these policies and legislation, society will understand that all students have the capacity to benefit from an Inclusive Education setting.
The facts outlined above are a reflection of our changing times and our associated attitudes. I maintain the view that contemporary approaches to Inclusive Education have the ability to challenge people’s attitudes and possible misconceptions associated with the inclusion of difference in today’s classrooms.
How will your teaching practice be influenced by your understanding of the requirements of Inclusive Education?
Firstly, it is important to understand what is meant by the term Inclusive Education. Ashman & Elkins (2009) define inclusion as “the complete acceptance of a student with a disability or other marginalized students in a regular class, with...