How do we create an inclusive education environment?

Inclusion is at the core of MA’AN’s philosophy and ambitions.

Our sustainability and diversity community initiatives aim to bring people of all ages, nationalities and religions together in a range of wonderful ways, whilst promoting the benefits and joy of social inclusion is our top priority.

Having a diverse, and inclusive society provides us with more opportunities to learn about other cultures, connect with people from across the globe and discover more about ourselves and the world as a whole. It brings more meaning into our everyday lives and helps us stay happy and healthy, in both body and mind.

Our diversity and inclusion initiatives are driven by our passionate Let’s Connect Community Ambassador Tanya Awad. She has launched various activities that celebrate the incredible multi-cultural population of Abu Dhabi.

For instance, in an effort to celebrate the power of #DiversityThroughFriendships, she asked our community to share photos of their friends who are from different cultural backgrounds and honour the value they bring to their lives by tagging Let’s Connect. Most of us in Abu Dhabi are lucky enough to have friends from lots of exciting, diverse countries, and Tanya helped highlight how this allows us to experience different cultural cues, language and food.

 

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Below, we take a closer look into the powers of inclusion and how teachers, parents, family members and friends can create an inclusive education environment.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion is making an effort to ensure that groups or individuals from different backgrounds are culturally, and socially, accepted and welcomed.

The aspects that cause these differences could be physical and self-evident, such as nationality, age, race and ethnicity or gender, or they could be more subtle contrasts such as educational background and personality traits, such as whether people are introverts or extroverts.

Inclusion also refers to accepting people with different physical and intellectual abilities, including people of determination.

What is an inclusive learning environment?

An inclusive learning environment recognises that every individual is different, and adapts the teaching and instruction methods to fit the needs of every learner, whatever their physical or intellectual abilities.

For instance, a teacher might adapt the activities and lessons to suit those who learn at a slow rate, but also use different tactics for gifted students who pick things up quickly and alternative methods for children of determination. An inclusive learning environment also alters its structure to suit people from a variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds, ensuring that every student has equal opportunities and progresses in their own way.

Why does inclusive education provide a good learning environment?

Inclusion in education is vitally important for many reasons.

We believe that every child and adult has the right to be able to reach their highest potential, and the best way to do this is through an inclusive learning environment.

This is because, rather than being focused on the admin and formalities of the education system, inclusive education is dedicated to exploring what is best for each student and their learning process.

Indeed, research proves that not all of us learn in the same way. Some of us respond better to pictures, graphs and images, while others learn best through auditory or written formats.

Finally, an inclusive learning environment teaches children to tolerate, accept and welcome those who are different to themselves. It also helps them to recognise the areas that they excel at, and where they need extra help.

Ensuring that people of all cultures, backgrounds and abilities feel welcome and at home leads to increased diversity within a classroom. Diversity is hugely beneficial for school children and young adults for a number of reasons. Not only does it teach them to be open minded and emphatic, but it also increases their awareness of different cultures and religions and prepares them for eventually working in a diverse work environment once they have completed education.

What is inclusion in special education?

Inclusion in special education refers to when a classroom includes both children of determination and mainstream students.

In this situation, children of determination are invited to learn alongside their fellow students as long as they are able to stay on track academically. Or, in some cases, if such students aren’t able to take part in all the same lessons as the rest of their class, an inclusive special education environment can still be created if they are given the opportunity to interact with their classmates on a regular basis.

The inclusion of special needs students in regular classrooms has been shown to benefit all students, helping them to form better relationships, achieve higher attendance rates and go on to succeed in life with the same opportunities.

What is inclusion in physical education?

Similarly, inclusion in physical education refers to when children of determination are allowed to join in with regular physical education classes.

After all, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all young people, aged six to 17, should do 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Inclusive physical education helps all students achieve this goal, regardless of their abilities and background.

Creating an inclusive environment in physical education, and one that is adapted to the needs and abilities of all participants, encourages a healthy and active lifestyle amongst all children and helps them live happier and more fulfilling lives.

As you can see, it is exceptionally important that everyone, whether they are an adult or child, feels accepted and welcomed in their community. It’s also particularly vital that we experience inclusion from a young age and throughout our time at school and university. Inclusion in education ensures that a child reaches their full potential, and that they grow into an accepting, tolerant, content and successful individual.

Visit our website for more information about how we are promoting diversity and inclusion through our community initiatives.