What are the Benefits of Inclusive Education? | Portobello Institute
Inclusive education is a concept that transcends classroom dynamics; it is a philosophy that fosters a sense of belonging, acceptance, and equal opportunity for all students, regardless of their abilities or differences.
The Government of Ireland outlines 'We can be measured as a society by how we look after our most vulnerable and by the way we treat and respect each other.'
Most children with special educational needs attend their local primary school in a mainstream class with other children of different ability levels and with additional support, as necessary.
Some children with more complex special educational needs attend a special class in their local mainstream school. These classes have lower pupil-teacher ratios. Students enrolled in these classes may be included in the regular mainstream class for a part of the day or the week, in line with their strengths and abilities.
Special schools are generally for children with very complex special needs who wouldn’t manage in a mainstream school even for part of the week. Special schools have very small class groups.
Inclusive education is paramount in all of these settings, in early years settings as well as in further and higher education environments. Inclusive education benefits everyone.
As the educational landscape continues to evolve in Ireland and globally, the implementation of inclusive education practices brings forth a multitude of benefits for both students and society at large.
Let's take a closer look at the benefits of inclusive education.
1. Fostering Diversity and Tolerance
Inclusive education cultivates an environment where diversity is celebrated and embraced. By bringing together students from various backgrounds, abilities, and cultures, inclusive education instils a sense of tolerance and understanding. In an ever-connected global society, these qualities are crucial for building well-rounded individuals capable of navigating an increasingly diverse world.
2. Empowering Students with Special Needs
One of the primary advantages of inclusive education is its positive impact on students with special needs. Inclusion ensures that these students receive the necessary support and resources within mainstream classrooms, fostering a sense of belonging. This not only enhances their academic outcomes but also equips them with essential life skills, promoting independence and self-confidence.
3. Enhancing Academic Performance for All
Contrary to common misconceptions, inclusive education benefits all students, not just those with special needs. Research indicates that students in inclusive classrooms tend to perform better academically. The diverse learning styles and perspectives present in such environments create a rich tapestry of ideas, promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills among all students.
4. Nurturing Social Skills and Relationships
Inclusive education provides a platform for students to interact with peers from different backgrounds, fostering the development of crucial social skills. Friendships formed in inclusive settings often extend beyond the classroom, contributing to a more inclusive and understanding society in the long run.
5. Preparing for the Real World
Inclusive education mirrors the diversity found in the real world, preparing students for the challenges and opportunities they will encounter in their future careers and personal lives. Exposure to diversity from an early age helps shape open-minded, adaptable individuals who can thrive in a globalised society.
6. Strengthening Community Bonds
Inclusive education extends its positive impact beyond the classroom walls. It strengthens the bonds within communities, promoting a sense of unity and shared responsibility for the education and well-being of all children. As students learn to appreciate differences, communities become more cohesive and supportive.
7. Meeting Legal and Ethical Standards
The commitment to inclusive education aligns with legal and ethical standards that advocate for equal opportunities for all students. By adhering to inclusive practices, educational institutions demonstrate a dedication to providing accessible and quality education for every child, reinforcing a sense of justice and fairness.
The benefits of inclusive education are far-reaching, encompassing academic, social, and societal aspects.
Embracing inclusion not only nurtures the potential of every student but also contributes to the creation of a more compassionate, understanding, and harmonious society.
As we continue to champion the cause of inclusive education, the positive impact on generations to come is poised to be immeasurable.