When entering the teaching profession, there is still a lot to learn on the job. One of the hardest skills to master is creating a fantastic inclusion classroom environment. It must fulfill the needs of every unique learner while maintaining the strict, often high speed pace, of the ever-changing curriculum.
Attitude really is everything.
The first step to take is to embrace a changing attitude that is emerging in special education. For many decades, there existed a belief that special needs students were children that had conditions that were undesirable. Education plans revolved around isolating the student from his or her peers and limiting the quality of education the student received. All this was in an effort to modify and change the student. However, there has been a shift in this thinking in recent years. Now, educators embrace different learning styles as assets.
Build a bigger bag of tricks.
Completing a teacher preparation program is an achievement. Making the most out of student teaching and emerging as a professional licensed teacher is a moment of pride for anyone who has experienced it. However, it is just the beginning. Keep reading new research, keep learning about new innovative ways to manage classrooms, and keep an open mind. There are millions of tricks to the trade, so keep improving. Every year should be a better experience than the one before—for you and your students.
Learn about other schools and programs.
While each state and school district will provide great resources to teachers new to the inclusion classroom experience, it is important to consider other resources too. Teachers who have an online presence are a great resource. Signing up for emails from sites that are useful to you is another way to get new information quickly. Also, consider researching programs outside of the mainstream public school system. There are many great resources out there.
One such program is Ramapo for Children. Through its training workshops and one-on-one coaching, Ramapo for Children gives teachers a toolbox for managing frustrating behaviors and creating inclusive classroom environments conducive to learning. By using effective behavior management skills, any educator can intervene with high-needs students while still ensuring an effective learning environment.
By keeping an open mind, a good attitude, and continuously building a better toolbox of perceptive teaching skills, any teacher can turn an inclusion classroom into a great learning experience for every single student.