Discuss about the Various Readings and Teaching for Diversity.
I have researched about theories regarding the inclusion of students in the mainstream education which abound in the academic world. My investigations brought forth that various strategies and methods have been formulated to make sure that the all inclusive environment is maintained in the institute. According to my understanding, the role of the educators and school management in the maintenance of this tolerant setting is undeniable. Nevertheless, the schools have to walk the talk, that is, implement the policies and regulations in compliance with the national and the school’s very own laws and convention. For instance, the Disability Standards for Education 2005 made under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it “unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability in a number of areas of public life, including education, employment, the provision of goods and services, and access to public buildings” (Docs.education.gov.au, 2016).
In the course of my previous readings, I came across the fact that the movement of people across the continents has increased in leaps and bounds since the last century. The major causes behind the migration of people are terrorism, social injustice, and disharmony and so on. Another burning issue of this era is the growing disproportion between the rich and the poor. According to my analysis of the article “Supporting refugee students in schools: what constitutes inclusive education?” by Taylor and Sidhu (2012), the growing influx of refugees has led to the “implications for the institutions of human rights and citizenship.” In this scenario, my belief is that the schools play a vital role regarding the refugee students and their inclusion in the mainstream education. However, Taylor and Sidhu (2012) highlighted the problem areas in the “provision of schooling for refugee youth”.
“Supporting refugee students in school education in Greater Western Sydney” by Ferfolja and Vickers (2010) deals with the challenges that are faced by the refugee students in their transition from Intensive English Centre (IEC’s) to mainstream education since the schools mainly represent the “mono-cultural nature” of the population at large in Australia. I have discovered in the course of my evaluation that the linguistically, culturally students or even those coming from a socially disadvantageous position constitute the “minority” students (Ferfolja and Vickers 2010). Nonetheless, my readings indicate that the schools have to follow the rules and regulations as set down by the state and federal government.
Application of Theories in the School
Different approaches have been discussed in the article “Educating for Diversity and Social Justice” by Amanda Keddie which, as per my opinion, are practical and constructive solutions to the problems of the immigrant students. She had highlighted the responsibility of the school in highlighting and addressing the inequities of the society by making sure that the participation of the so called “minority” students increases (Keddie 2012). Restriction of the school curriculum to “management and basic skills” rather than on “pedagogies and learning”, I believe, has been insufficient to address equity issues (Keddie 2012).
One of the approaches that I find to be quite functional is the upgrading of the teaching staff to accommodate the concept of inclusive education in their mindset. Keddie (2012) has rightly suggested that the teachers have to ensure that the foreign students have settled in the classroom and they are participating in the class side by side with their English speaking counterparts. The teaching staff should also consist of representatives of the marginalized group that would enable the “minority” students to communicate and express themselves freely (Keddie 2012).
The Wellington Secondary College is dedicated to creating an inclusive environment within the school. My personal analysis has shown that the school provides a supportive environment which stimulates the students positively by employing vigorous “educational theory and practice” (Wellington Secondary College, 2016). I have observed that the school emphasizes on the affirmative relationship among individuals through mutual respect and tolerance policy. In the school the students are empowered to take accountability for their own learning to ensure that in the long run they turn out to be good citizens of the country.
I have discovered that the college motto reflects the philosophy of the school which is “Caring, Striving, Learning” (Wellington Secondary College, 2016). Caring refers to tolerance for others; Striving indicates the efforts of the students for determining their goals and working hard to accomplish them; Learning illustrates that education is the process that takes place from birth to grave. After a detailed observation of the school, I came to the conclusion that the school follows the qualities expressed in the College motto (Wellington Secondary College, 2016).
Figure 1: The Wellington Crest
As I have discussed in my previous assignment, the concept of inclusive education is very important in the current scenario due to more than one reason. I feel that every child has a right to learn to become capable and responsible citizens of the world (Hinchey, 2004). In the course of my journey as a teacher, I have faced various circumstances where I have seen that the children have suffered owing to a fault in his or her education. Hence it is the responsibility of every teacher like me to ensure that the children receive the correct education from us (Gay, 2013). I have been fortunate enough to come into contact with an institution like the Wellington College which is a fine example of how to equip the students with the appropriate philosophy of life instead of just making them memorize bare facts and data (Wellington Secondary College, 2016).
The institution is notable for creating an inclusive environment and enabling diverse students to mix with each other without letting anyone feel left out. Keddie (2012) has shown a noble path for professionals like us as to how we should understand the diverse background of our students before acclimatizing them with the general school environment. The school honors the cultural and social difference among the students without giving due importance (or unimportance) to any student or group of students. My analysis has shown that the school also takes in to account the opinion and interests of its chief stakeholders.
I have been quite satisfied with the amount of effort the school puts in its participation in the Program for Students with Disabilities (Education.vic.gov.au, 2016). Under this program the school gets resources for providing adequate and standard education to students with different abilities (Wellington Secondary College, 2016). Apart from the resources received, the institution also allots resources of its own to meet its ends. Apart from that, the school also boasts of an Inclusion Support Officers (ISO) (www.wellingtonsc.vic.edu.au, 2016). The ISO works with the class teacher who will assist the former in identifying the problems that the students are facing in the school.
Another area of concern for me has been regarding the inclusion of the Aboriginals into mainstream education system of the nation (Wellington Secondary College, 2016). The school has lived up to its expectations by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. Indigenous plans have been formulated which, according to me, has been successful in assimilating them in the classroom. The program has not been absolutely perfect and we had to face situations where the students had not been able to mix freely with the staff and other students and hence they have felt isolated (Benjamin and Emejulu, 2012). Nonetheless, we have been able to overcome the obstacles through patience and perseverance and in the end; we were successful in our efforts.
The profession of teaching is noble indeed; at the same time, the path is beset with difficulties. The responsibility of a teacher is to facilitate the students in their process of learning and adapting themselves to the 21st century. It is our duty to include every child in the education system to make this world a better place for the future generation. I am of the opinion that children from diverse background help us to understand that the world is made up of different people. This difference has made our society unique; it is absolutely necessary to keep this difference of culture alive. Having said that, I want to clarify that the difference such that the uniqueness of our civilization exists, otherwise we are all human beings first, and citizens of different background second. The children are said to be the future of any nation and therefore a school plays an important role in shaping their prospects.
Benjamin, S & Emejulu, A 2012, ‘Learning about concepts, terminology and theories: from ambiguity to clarity’ in R Arshad, T Wrigley & L Pratt (eds) Social justice re-examined: dilemmas and solutions for the classroom teacher, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, pp. 33-47.
Docs.education.gov.au. (2016). Final Report on the 2015 Review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 | Department of Education and Training - Document library, Australian Government. [online] Available at: https://docs.education.gov.au/node/38936.
Education.vic.gov.au. 2016. Program for Students with Disabilities. [online] Available at: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/needs/Pages/disabilityprogram.aspx.
Ferfolja, T & Vickers, M 2010, ‘Supporting refugee students in school education in Greater Western Sydney’, Critical Studies in Education, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 149-162, doi:10.1080/17508481003731034
Gay, G 2013, ‘Cultural Diversity and Multicultural Education’, Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 43, no.1, pp. 48-70.
Hinchey, PH 2004, Becoming a Critical Educator: Defining a Classroom Identity, Designing a Critical Pedagogy, Peter Lang Publishing New York, US.
Keddie, A 2012, Educating for Diversity and Social Justice, Routledge, London.
Taylor, S. & Sidhu, RK 2012, ‘Supporting refugee students in schools: what constitutes inclusive education?’, International Journal of Inclusive Education, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 39-56.
Wellington Secondary College. 2016. Home. [online] Available at: https://www.wellingtonsc.vic.edu.au.
www.wellingtonsc.vic.edu.au. 2016. www.wellingtonsc.vic.edu.au. [online] Available at: https://www.wellingtonsc.vic.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/CS-WSC-Inclusion-Policy-September-6-2016.pdf.
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