Are all children learning effectively in our schools?

PART III – Inclusive Education and Special Educational Needs


Lanusongla Lemtur (Special Educator)

It is the responsibility of a school to put in place various processes that remove barriers to learning for every member of the school community. Barriers to learning may be found in each school’s culture and policies, the way the school is organised, its approaches to teaching and learning, the physical aspects of buildings and infrastructure, and the ways in which individuals within the school community interact with each other. When such barriers to learning are removed, we move towards an environment of inclusion.

Inclusive education means different and diverse students learning together in the same school, side by side in the same classroom. It is the practice of embracing all types of learners and nurturing them regardless of their differences, because every child has the right to an education. We already understand that ‘diverse students’ means learners who have different styles of learning as well as having different abilities and intelligences, as discussed in the earlier parts of this series. This also includes students who may have Special Educational Needs (SEN).


Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Special educational needs are significant learning needs which arise due to physical, neurological, intellectual, and/or sensory difficulties that hinder a child’s ability to learn in the conventional way or environment in which the majority of their peers do, thus requiring an environment of learning that provides differentiated access to education. Differentiation in teaching methods is even more crucial in classrooms that have children with SEN because, in such cases, the differences in their learning styles and abilities are more visible and demanding.

A student will have special educational needs if he/she has:

  1. A learning disability
  2. Any physical disability (arising from conditions such as congenital deformities, polio, muscular dystrophy,…

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