Concretely, how are the classes organized? Main principles
Behind all of this one can envision the ideal, which is sought after. However, can this ideal work? What are the means required?
The fist step is to learn to identify the educational needs, specific to a student. The article “Students with specific educational needs” presents an overview of learning difficulties or behavioral issues, which may occur in classrooms.
Once this is identified, each child showing specific needs must be provided with a personal schooling plan (The name of the program varies depending on the country). The plan must be established based on evaluations that are specific to the disability of the person in question and globally recognized. Such a program defines attainable and measurable objectives for the student to achieve within a reasonable timeframe as well as the specific resources required (support groups...). The plan must be regularly re-evaluated by the educational team in charge.
Once the plan is established each class teacher must receive the help of experts according to the students’ specific needs. Specialized educators as well as healthcare professionals such as psycho-monitor therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, etc...must be allowed to intervene at the school. Such interventions do not require additional costs to those that currently exist in France or in Switzerland, the only difference being the location in which they take place.
This provides the opportunity to review the traditional organization of the class in which every child is subjected to the same teaching methods. An inclusive school bases its operations on students’ needs. A more malleable operating model can be considered, which allows moments during the day for group requirements to be established, whether specialized or not. This is not a new concept, and, to a certain degree, corresponds to what takes place in so-called active schools. Each individual receives teaching methods tailored to their needs, therefore enabling them to learn whilst committing to a path of academic success. The following video demonstrates in which context and scholarly environment an inclusive-education can be deployed. One can easily imagine how each individual can focus on their needs without being subjected to stigmatization.
Video about innovative learning environments by New Zealand’s Minister of Education
Putting this new school in place requires efforts in terms of research (because "best practices" need to be identified and developed" to be extended to all students) and in terms of means to train the teachers and professionals who are working with different children1.
The map below is providing a global overview, non exhaustive, of the various aspects to take into account to succeed in welcoming a student with special needs in a classroom. These are the main aspects which should be taken into account no matter which model of inclusion is used by the country or the institution.
Establishing the ideal scenario can be perceived as a lengthy process. However, some schools are already doing so and the efforts are appreciated by all (children, teachers, parents). Even if not all the elements are already in place, what is important is that everybody works towards the common goal of creating such an environment.
1 THOMAZET Serge (2008), « L’intégration a des limites, pas l’école inclusive ! ». Revue des sciences de l’éducation, volume 34, numéro 1, p. 123-139. http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/018993ar
For further reading:
The following provides multiple perspectives regarding the construction of an inclusive school in France: http://www.versunecoleinclusive.fr