The field of inclusive education is constantly evolving, propelled by advancements in technology, pedagogical research, and societal changes.
Rooted in a profound belief that every student deserves equal opportunities for learning and personal development, Inclusive Education embodies the fundamental principles of empathy, respect, and fairness.
Inclusive education is an educational approach that aims to ensure all students, regardless of any perceived differences or abilities, have an equal opportunity for academic and social achievement.
This approach involves adjusting and enhancing educational systems, methodologies, and policies to eliminate barriers and create an environment where all students can fully participate and thrive in the learning process.
Inclusive education embraces the diversity of the student population and sees it as a strength that can enhance and enrich learning for everyone. It emphasises the need for educators to provide tailored instruction and necessary support for each student, considering their individual learning styles, abilities, and needs.
Here are a few trends expected to shape the future of inclusive education:
Technology-Driven Personalised Learning
As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more personalised and adaptive learning experiences. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help create customised learning plans that adapt to individual student's needs. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can offer immersive learning experiences that cater to diverse learning styles.
Increased Emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning
While academic skills are important, there's a growing recognition of the value of social-emotional learning in inclusive classrooms. Teaching empathy, emotional regulation, social skills, and resilience can help create a more supportive and inclusive learning environment.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
UDL is a framework that suggests designing educational experiences to be accessible for all from the start, rather than retrofitting existing structures to accommodate diverse learners. Expect to see more curriculum design and instructional strategies following UDL principles.
The future of inclusive education will likely see an increased focus on collaborative learning. Group activities and cooperative learning strategies can foster a sense of community, promote social skills, and enhance learning for all students.
Enhanced Teacher Training
There will be a growing emphasis on preparing teachers for inclusive classrooms. This includes not only learning about specific disabilities but also understanding how to differentiate instruction, manage diverse classrooms, and implement inclusive practices.
Inclusive Assessment Practices
Traditional forms of assessment can often disadvantage students with diverse learning needs. The future will likely see the development and implementation of more inclusive assessment practices, such as portfolio-based assessments, that allow all students to demonstrate their understanding in varied ways.
Stronger Family-School Partnerships
The role of families in supporting inclusive education is being increasingly recognised. Expect to see schools making greater efforts to involve families and form strong partnerships to better support students' learning and development.
Policy and Legislation
As societies globally recognise the importance of inclusivity, expect to see more robust policies and legislation that support and mandate inclusive education practices.
These trends indicate a promising future for inclusive education—one that holds the potential to create more equitable and effective learning environments for all students.
Portobello Institute Inclusive Education Students
Anna Dunlevy Whiteworked as a financial underwriter before changing her career to become a Montessori teacher and an SNA.
“My role is constantly evolving so in order to best support the individual needs of the children I work with I decided to challenge myself, for my own personal development, to become a better practitioner and pursue my goal of becoming a special education teacher.
“I have seen how the traditional academic approach to education in Ireland has not evolved quickly enough to fully and inclusively support SEN students, so I want to develop and broaden my skillset in order to become a better educator and advocate more effectively for the children in my care,” she said.
“I completed my leaving certificate in June 2019. During the pandemic, I started an SNA course and I started subbing in a primary school ASD unit straight away as I could not return to work with the pandemic.
“This experience changed my mind completely, and I decided I would follow the career path to become a Special Educational Needs (SEN) teacher.
“As I did not have the qualifications to be an SEN teacher, I began my search for the right course for me. Having looked at many different courses, I found that the Inclusive Education Practice course with Portobello was the course for me.
“I spent months looking at different courses to find one that suits my already busy schedule. Studying in a blended learning course, I believe was the best choice, as it allows me to continue to work helping pay for my expenses and fees.
“I currently work as an SNA which means while studying to become an SEN teacher, I will be gaining invaluable experience right up until I qualify,” he said.
Choose the course for the career you want
As we continue to strive for a more equitable society, understanding and implementing the principles of inclusive education is a vital step forward.