Schools New educators: Building an inclusive classroom

  • By Josh Sankey
  • This article was published more than 1 year ago.
  • 7 Jul 2022

As teachers, it often seems that as our collective understanding of diverse learning needs increases, so does the pressure we feel to solve the world’s problems and be a different teacher for every student.

For early career teachers, this is daunting. For pre-service teachers it can be impossible. Although our practice continually evolves, so do the needs of students. 

In most instances, it’s you and a room full of young people, each with their own learning styles, and unique needs. Some are easier to identify, while others are all but invisible. 

We can’t be a different person for each of them – but, with the right approach to inclusive education, we can build a supportive, adaptive community that enables everyone to thrive, empowering learners and teachers alike.

On 1 July, we held the 2022 Student-Teacher Conference, co-hosted with IEU: Diversify your Teaching Practice. See some pics from the day on our Facebook page.

The goal of this conference was to help members develop the practical and theoretical tools to become an inclusive educator. This means learning to identify and respond to the structural and individual challenges for all students, especially those relating to mental health needs, out-of-home care, cultural and linguistic diversity, disability, and the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, or students who are part of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Guest speakers included special education teacher, university lecturer and owner of The Resource Kit Belinda Webb, who shared her expertise on inclusive practices with a focus on students with ASD and ADHD.

She was joined by Dr Aleryk Fricker, a proud Dja Dja Wurrung man and former school teacher, who provided practical approaches to decolonising the classroom, examining policy, curriculum, pedagogy and community to assist teachers in creating more inclusive spaces and to do their bit to address the widening gap of academic achievement between First Nations and non-Indigenous students in a way that goes beyond mere attendance or retention data.

The tenets of unionism and inclusive education are similar. It’s about recognising inherent inequities in the system, working with our communities, appreciating the differences between people, and building meaningful connections, so that collectively we can all find the support we need and grow together. 

It’s all about listening and learning.

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