22 August, 2023 | Posted by Jenny Smith

What is the Importance of Inclusive Education?

two little girls looking at an electronic tablet inclusive education

In our diverse and interconnected global society, inclusive education stands out as a crucial pillar of modern education. Inclusive education isn't merely a buzzword—it's a comprehensive approach to teaching that acknowledges and values the rich tapestry of individual differences within our learning communities. 

In this article, we seek to shed light on the importance of inclusive education. We'll explore why it is more than just an educational strategy, and instead, a powerful tool that fosters empathy, equality, and a richer understanding of the world around us. 

At its core, inclusive education is an approach that ensures every student—irrespective of their background, abilities, or learning needs—has equal opportunities for academic and social development. 

This commitment to learning equality necessitates a shift from traditional, one-size-fits-all teaching methods towards more flexible, adaptive, and student-centred strategies. 

Inclusive education recognises that all students are unique, each bringing their own strengths, challenges, experiences, and perspectives to the learning environment.

By embracing these differences, inclusive education enriches the learning experience for all students and promotes a more inclusive society. 

Why is Inclusive Education Important? 

  1. Promotes Equality and Non-discrimination

Inclusive education plays a significant role in promoting equality and non-discrimination. By ensuring all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds, have equal access to quality education, inclusive education helps to break down barriers and stereotypes, fostering a more equitable society. 

  1. Enhances Learning for All

The practice of inclusive education benefits all students, not just those with diverse learning needs. By encouraging a variety of teaching methods and learning strategies, inclusive education offers a richer, more engaging, and more effective learning experience. Students learn to appreciate different perspectives, enhancing their understanding and knowledge. 

  1. Fosters Social Cohesion and Mutual Respect

Inclusive classrooms cultivate an environment where students learn to empathise with, respect, and appreciate their peers’ unique abilities and backgrounds. These social skills, including teamwork and respect for diversity, are invaluable in today’s globally interconnected society. 

  1. Empowers Students with Additional Educational Needs

Inclusive education is especially empowering for students with additional educational needs. Instead of being marginalised or segregated, these students receive the necessary support to learn alongside their peers, fostering a sense of belonging and self-worth. 

  1. Prepares Students for a Diverse Society

By reflecting the diversity of our society within the classroom, inclusive education better prepares students for real-world experiences. They develop a more nuanced understanding of the world, fostering the skills to thrive in diverse environments and navigate social complexities. 

Inclusive education is an essential component of 21st-century teaching. Its importance goes beyond academics, influencing students’ social development, promoting equity, and preparing them for success in an increasingly diverse society.  

As educators, it's our responsibility to champion and implement inclusive practices, ensuring every student feels valued, included, and empowered to learn. 

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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