22 August, 2023 | Posted by Jenny Smith

The Role of Inclusive Education in Society

a group of people talking, laughing and smiling inclusive education

In the quest for social equality and cohesion, education serves as a powerful tool. Specifically, inclusive education stands at the forefront as an influential force capable of transforming societal norms and reducing disparities.  

By fostering an environment that celebrates diversity and encourages all learners to thrive, inclusive education plays an essential role in creating a more equitable society. 

Inclusive education is an approach that accommodates and respects the learning needs of all students, irrespective of their abilities, socioeconomic status, language, or cultural background. It insists on equal access to education, ensuring every learner receives tailored support to fulfil their potential.

How does inclusive education build a strong foundation for social cohesion? 

  1. Fosters Mutual Respect and Understanding

In inclusive classrooms, students interact with peers from diverse backgrounds and with varied abilities. This experience instils a sense of respect and understanding, teaching students to value diversity and foster empathy - essential qualities for a cohesive society. 

  1. Encourages Participation and Belonging

Inclusive education emphasises the active participation of all students in the learning process. It cultivates a sense of belonging, ensuring every student feels valued and included, thus promoting a culture of acceptance and inclusion in the broader society. 

  1. Develops Collaborative Skills

Through cooperative learning and team activities, inclusive education fosters collaborative skills among students. These skills are crucial for creating harmonious societies, encouraging individuals to work together towards common goals. 

Inclusive education is also a key tool for reducing disparities as it: 

  1. Levels the Playing Field

Inclusive education ensures that all students, regardless of their backgrounds or abilities, have equal access to quality education. This approach helps to level the playing field, reducing educational disparities and increasing opportunities for all learners. 

  1. Empowers Marginalised Groups

By providing necessary support and accommodations, inclusive education empowers students from marginalised groups. It encourages their active participation and helps them achieve their full potential, contributing to reduced societal disparities. 

  1. Advocates for Equal Opportunities

Inclusive education serves as a vehicle for advocating equal opportunities in society. It emphasises the idea that every individual, regardless of their circumstances, has the right to quality education and the chance to succeed. 

Inclusive education plays an integral role in shaping our society. It not only impacts the academic success of students but also influences societal attitudes, fostering social cohesion and reducing disparities.  

Embracing and implementing inclusive practices is, therefore, a crucial step towards creating a more equitable, inclusive, and harmonious society. 

Portobello Institute Inclusive Education Students

Anna Dunlevy White worked as a financial underwriter before changing her career to become a Montessori teacher and an SNA.

She has been working as a teaching assistant in a mainstream school for almost seven years now and is currently studying for her BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice at Portobello Institute. 

“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. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to Enda Bracken’s studies to become an Emergency Medical Technician he turned to special needs assisting and is now enrolled on Portobello Institute’s BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice.

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. 

To find out more, read our longer deep-dive Discover Inclusive Education as a Fulfilling and Diverse Career Path.

If you are inspired to make a meaningful impact, transform the educational landscape, and champion a more inclusive future, a career in inclusive education awaits.

Portobello Institute offers a clear pathway to a successful career in inclusive education starting with a level 5 and level 6 Special Needs Assisting qualification you can progress to a BA (Ord) in Inclusive Education Practice, BA (Hons) in Inclusive Education Practice and an MA in Inclusive Education and SEN

This path is unquestionably fulfilling, continually reminding you of the difference you're making in creating a more inclusive world, one student at a time. 

If you are interested in any of our special needs assisting or inclusive education degrees you can book a consultation call with our expert advisor, Sarah Coyne, email sarah.coyne@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0028.

If you are interested in the MA in Inclusive Education and SEN specifically, you can speak with our expert advisor, Jennifer Matteazzi, email jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0031. 

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