A course assignment this week had me tasked with creating a representation of what inclusion means to me. Based on my experiences and course readings, the sketchnote below is what I came up with.
The assignment itself is a great example of an inclusive approach to education. The prof. allowed for creative freedom (keeping in mind everyone’s different intelligences and learning styles). This made the assignment not only so doable, but also lots of fun!
When starting my sketchnote, the obvious buzzwords surrounding inclusion came to mind. I came up with the following:
- Race, religion, gender, class, ability, sexual orientation, nationality, age, etc.
- Equity and removing barriers.
- Multiple intelligences, learning styles, and flexibility.
- Accommodations, adaptations, modifications, tools, and supports.
- Universal design learning – Necessary for some, good for all.
- A welcoming, loving, accepting, and encouraging environment.
- Opportunity for growth and success for all.
- A respectful environment.
- A sense of safety, acceptance, belonging and community for all.
- There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
I also took the time to read and reflect on Manitoba’s philosophy of inclusion which I admittedly had never really looked at. I included some of it in my sketchnote as a reminder.
Manitoba’s philosophy of inclusion is a way of thinking and acting that allows every individual to feel accepted, valued and safe.
After completing the course readings, I was able to extend my knowledge and ideas on inclusion to include the following:
- The existence of social and academic inclusion.
- Valued diversity.
- Meaningful participation for everyone (versus simply working alongside peers).
- The importance of a strengths based approach (less focus on catching up to peers or modifying the content, and more importance on finding everyone’s strengths, gifts and purpose).
- Thinking outside the box in order to create meaningful and purposeful learning for all individuals.
- A sense of worth and purpose for everyone in the group.
- Inclusive education as a gateway to inclusive societies. It may seem obvious, but I had never really thought beyond the school setting and the importance of creating inclusive societies. Inclusive education should (one would hope) ultimately encourage and create inclusive societies.
- The five cornerstones or dimensions of inclusion:
- Valued recognition (recognizing and respecting individuals and groups, valuing differences).
- Human development (human centered approach, considering talents, interests, abilities of individuals).
- Involvement and engagement (involvement in decisions, engagement in community).
- Proximity (integrated schools and classrooms, allowing opportunity for interaction).
- material well-being (having necessary material resources to participate in community life).
A final and exciting realization that I made while completing this assignment is how well today’s meaning of inclusion aligns with the idea of innovative and student-led learning (also being talked about a lot in the world of education). I love that in both innovative education and inclusive education, we are moving away from a one size fits all approach to learning (this idea that a class of 25 kids needs to learn the same thing) and more towards one of purposeful learning for all – one where every class member can learn and contribute in his or her own way.