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4 Ways to Promote Inclusivity in Learning Environments

Undoubtedly, when it comes down to the core purpose of education – to inspire, upskill and develop – inclusivity plays a crucial role in a child’s social and educational advancement, encouraging them to play an active part in their own personal journey.

Not only does promoting an inclusive school culture allow children to feel safe, secure and happy in an environment they spend most of their time within, but this type of learning inspires a sense of community – not only within the classroom, but in society, in both teachers and students alike.

So, in this article, we’re discussing 4 fundamental ways teachers can help to integrate a more inclusive ideology into their classrooms, creating a supportive structure that can both engage and challenge gifted and talented learners.

1. Adapt learning environments for different cultures

With the Guardian reporting that diversity is, in fact, Britain’s greatest strength, it’s acceptance and continued encouragement to be taught within schools is of the utmost importance. As a society that continues to make leaps in advocating inclusivity as opposed to segregation, incorporating curriculums and activities within the classroom where this remains at the forefront of the mindset is crucial to the continued development of our society.

As such, teachers should use multiple and diverse examples when explaining tasks – be that in maths, literacy or geography, ensuring that at least one example increases the likelihood of students relating to them. While, more often than not, much religious rhetoric is put aside and left to Religious Studies teachings, teachers should make an effort to openly discuss (and educate themselves through their students as a result) different religions, ethnicities and cultural beliefs.

Whether that’s through discussing various types of modest dresses, talking about the dietary requirements of those who follow different religions or celebrating and speaking about different cultural holidays and festivities – normalising this type of openness in the classroom will allow your students to feel confident in their own skin, while encouraging other students to be well-informed outside of the playground.

2. Plan learning activities that requires everyone to get involved

While some students thrive from being asked a question and sharing their understanding of the answer, others notably deem this a stressful encounter – whether they feel assured in the answer or not. Creating an inclusive classroom environment should allow all students to feel comfortable in their replies, ensuring they’re not afraid of responding with an answer that they may deem to be considered ‘wrong’ by either their peers or the teacher.

Therefore, we recommend trying to incorporate team activities into your curriculum where possible, ensuring each team member speaks up after having time to discuss their answers with their group. This type of activity will negate any feelings of seclusion and allow students to feel equal, with no one person taking on the sole responsibility of spokesperson.

3. Have high expectations of your students

In life, confidence will become a person’s greatest weapon – from allowing them to believe in their abilities when it comes to applying for further education or in a job interview later on in life. As a teacher, therefore, instilling this assurance and courage into each and every one of your students will become your most vital asset to encourage an inclusive environment.

As a result, it’s crucial that you hold high expectations for every individual student – taking time to praise areas where they strive, no matter how big or small, and working with them on an individual basis to help them in areas where they feel they struggle. This will undoubtedly instill a sense of confidence into your pupils, knowing that their teacher has faith in their abilities – as opposed to simply focusing on their inabilities.

4. Examine your assumptions

A key way to promote inclusivity and, for some, one of the hardest habits to rid themselves of, is making assumptions based on the little information they have available to them. As adults, it’s not uncommon for us to assume that students share a similar background to us based on their ethnicity, where they live, their learning ability or from the feeling you get when speaking to their guardians during parents evenings.

As such, it’s vital you don’t make assumptions and remain neutral and open minded when entering any discussion with students. If they see that you are willing to learn yourself from other cultures and habits, they will be more likely to understand and actively participate in a more inclusive culture.

Inclusivity starts in the classroom but is a principle that is increasingly crucial in our society on both a local and international scale. As a guide for students’ future, it is naturally your duty to help educate those who look up to you in the classroom, helping steer them into a more confident and happy version of themselves within the community. Following the above four tips, we hope you’ll be able to integrate this ideology into the classroom and beyond.

Abi Proud, Content Creator for AbayaButh – retailers of abayas, hijabs and a range of modest Islamic clothing for women.

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