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Inclusive teaching and learning must offer the equality of opportunity

Inclusive teaching and learning must offer the equality of opportunity, in terms of the approach to any teaching undertaken and ensure accessible and differentiated learning takes place for all.
From a teaching perspective, inclusive teaching must create a learning environment where all the learners are involved, and all learners are treated equally and fairly, without indirectly excluding anybody.
Any resource that is produced, e.g. Presentations, Handouts or Reference material and this is used within any training given, must consider the diverse range of learners who can use it within a safe and supportive environment.
This ‘diverse range of learners’ is important to note at this point, as they need to be identified and supported, ensuring that this supports inclusive learning for individuals within a training environment.
No learner should be subject to unfair treatment in any way and a teacher must not pursue non-discriminatory practices that are detailed in the Equality Act (2010), making it unlawful to discriminate based on any of the following:
• Race
• Sex
• Sexual Orientation
• Disability
• Religion
• Gender Reassignment
• Pregnancy
• Marriage and Civil Partnership
• Age
Any diverse range of learners may be identifiable at an initial assessment phase. This gives any learner the appropriate mechanism to declare individual needs that they may have and require during any training, with specific reference to any disability e.g. Visual Impairment and Auditory Impairment. This would allow any resources that are produced, to incorporate those needs, and also promote inclusive learning for all learners.
With regard to visual impairment, it may be necessary to have any material produced made available in audio form so that the individual learner has this to promote inclusion of that learner in equality for all learners.
For audio impairment, it may be necessary to have all information for discussion in a training environment available in written form, including any follow up material where discussions have taken place during training sessions. This ensures the equality for all learners in inclusive teaching and learning.
By having an induction session at the start of any education or training covering the points of the Equality Act (2010), ensures equality in a classroom environment. It also allows any learner to understand, and raise any points within a ‘group’ environment that they wish, e.g. Individual Learner needs or language barriers.
In this way, any resources that have been produced, can be adapted to promote the diversity of learning and equality for all learners to support inclusive learning and teaching.
During any training that is given, it may be pertinent to introduce working within groups of leaners with group activities. This supports the concept of Peer Groups that establish:
• A sense of recognition and belonging
• Opinions that can be more freely given and shared in a group environment.
• The sharing within the group of a same ‘learning experience
By having this in place, there is, within any training being given, support for the diversity of learners to produce equality for all. At times it may be necessary to deal with difficult or challenging situations or learning individuals. However, it is always important that the appropriate action is taken to ensure that you do not undermine the diverse nature of the individual learner. One way is to see challenging situations as learning opportunities.
If the training delivery does not meet the learning styles of individual learners, then it will be counterproductive and inclusive learning will not take place.
The Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic (VAK) learning styles model suggests that the majority of learners can be divided into one of three styles of learning namely:
• Visual
• Auditory
• Kinaesthetic
‘Visual’ learners tend to remember what they have seen or observed through various mediums, e.g. Pictures, diagrams, handouts and flip-charts. They are good at remembering faces and enjoy watching and observing.
‘Auditory’ learners tend to remember listening to the spoken work and usually use the phrases like ‘tell me’ and ‘let us talk it over’. They are very good at taking instructions over the telephone.
‘Kinaesthetic’ learners learn by doing. They like to keep their hands busy and are best at remembering what they have done, rather than what they have seen or heard.
Any initial assessment that is undertaken to support any current learning that is to take place, must take into account previous experience and the needs of the individual learner, to ensure that any potential learning to be undertaken supports any qualification requirements that the learner may have and is inclusive to all.
Within any group of learners in a training environment, it is important to know that there will be individuals with different learning styles. By using different teaching approaches and strategies, the needs of as many learners as possible will be taken into account. These might be:
a) learner lead – where the learner learns at their own pace of learning.
b) Learning by doing – where the learner will demonstrate what they have learned and been taught.
c) Experimentation – more of a ‘hands on’ kinaesthetic style learning approach.
To facilitate effective delivery of any training that takes place, it is important to understand this difference. One way is maybe to invite all learners to take a self-assessment questionnaire e.g. VAK Learning Styles self-assessment questionnaire. This will identify the preferred learning style of individuals and understand the type of learning that best suits.
What must always be remembered, is that is not about what you are teaching. It is about what the individual learner will learn. By using different teaching approaches and methods, the needs of as many learners as possible is taken into account supporting inclusive teaching and learning. It promotes interest for the learner whilst enabling them to acquire new skills.