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This month, the Weekend Chat on Inclusive Education is on its ninth month. It is a personal initiative to provide a platform for teachers, families, and advocates to discuss and to learn about inclusive education strategies for children with disabilities. For more information on how the initiative works, click here.
I write this piece to highlight some of the questions raised by the participants of the Chat (who are mostly teachers and community organizers), and to initiate a conversation on the possible answers or responses to the questions.
1. In contexts like informal settlements where there is the absence of formal or structured learning environments, how does inclusive education for children with disabilities look like? Informal settlements may be defined as areas where groups of housing units have been constructed on land that the occupants have no legal claim to.
2. I started doing peer support in my classroom to support one of my students with disability. I would ask his classmates to work with him to do classroom tasks. The exercise was effective. However, the parents of the peer support disliked the idea and complained that it overworked their children instead of learning for their own. How should I work with these parents? What justifications should I present to convince them of the importance and benefits of peer support to children with and without disabilities?
3. In teacher education institutions where I train ‘soon-to-be-teachers’, I am in a dilemma how to introduce the lessons on disability and education. Should I present them in a way that looks at specific teaching strategies for specific disabilities? Or should I introduce the lessons more on inclusive education strategies such as differentiation and highlight the fact that each child in the classroom is an individual?
4. How do we convince families from poor backgrounds to bring their children with disabilities to school? We always get this response, ‘We cannot do that while our stomachs are empty’.
5. As a non-government organization, we have done a lot in terms of providing education to children with disabilities. However, we are aware that this work alone is not sustainable. We want to work with the government to advocate for the development of policies for these children. But how should we start and do that? What strategies should we employ to bring our work to the bigger Ministry of Education?
Do you have any response or answer to any of the questions? It is good to initiate a conversation through the questions. I would like to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com.
Featured image © Jeanne Sauvé Foundation.