Teachers are Custodians of Inclusion

By Catia Malaquias

Our regular classrooms give direct insight into our future society.

The social dynamics of the regular schooling system sets the social dynamics of our future workplaces and communities.

If a minority group is not reflected in and valued as part of our regular classrooms – if they are not welcomed and valued – if they are segregated elsewhere – that group will have great difficulty accessing future employment and the opportunities of our communities.

We set our social barriers early in life – breaking them down through laws, policies and media campaigns is much harder than simply nurturing the natural tolerance and empathy for each other that children are born with.

We begin our lives inclusively – with a sense that we all belong – our first social environments – particularly our first classrooms have the real potential to counter the implied bias and intolerance that our parents have absorbed in their own lives – to counter the bias that is invisibly and unconsciously served to children at the family dining table.

Teachers, particularly those in the early learning years, are in essence the custodians of the pathway to an inclusive life – to learning, working and living in one’s community as a valued member.  The degree of inclusiveness of the culture of their classrooms is critical to life-long outcomes for students with disabilities and other minority groups.

A good custodian understands the importance of what is entrusted to them.

Read our “Creating an Inclusive Class Culture – Practical Tips for Teachers (No.1) about creating and maintaining an inclusive classroom culture in which every student feels welcomed and included, as a learner and a valued peer.

For more see our Tips For Teachers Series:

Supporting Peer Connection in the Inclusive Class – Practical Tips For Teachers (No.2)

Less Is More: The Education Assistant – Practical Tips For Teachers (No.3)

Getting the “Big Idea”: Including All Students in the Same Curriculum – Practical Tips for Teachers (No. 4 Part A)

Making the “Big Idea” Achievable: Including All students in the Same Curriculum – Practical tips for teachers (No. 4 Part B)

Presenting the “Big Idea” for All: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – Practical tips for teachers (No. 4 Part C)

Behaviour Support in the Inclusive Classroom: The Basics – Practical Tips for Teachers  (No. 5 Part A)

[Cover photo © Element 5 Digital]

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