We cannot assume that just because a teacher teaches, a learner learns. The process is far more complex than one of received input and intended outcome. This is because teachers, when engaging with learners, are not involved in programming machines; the learning process involves humans who are diverse in their needs, development, attitudes, values and beliefs.
(O’Brien & Guiney, 2001, p. 2)
Whilst studying inclusion for this assignment, I have learned much about the ways in which children learn. Yandell (2011) argues a similar point to O’Brien and Guiney (2001), which is that for pupils to learn, the learning needs to be more than a teacher giving mountains of information. Both in researching and in teaching a scheme of inclusive lessons, I have learned that teaching needs to be differentiated for the variety of children in each class. In my own experience, having taught a class consisting of thirty pupils, two of whom are hearing impaired children and seventeen pupils for whom English is an addition language, “reasonable adjustments” (Rieser, 2002, p. 259) made to make the curriculum accessible for one pupil can be greatly beneficial for others in the class also. Anything the teacher does in the classroom whilst focussing on one group will impact on the others. It is these reasonable adjustments which form the basis of inclusive learning, as the needs of each pupil will vary depending on anything from preferred learning styles to whether the child has a profound barrier to learning. Reddy (2004) writes about the needs of pupils with hearing impairments, and relates these to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He also provides some teaching strategies to ensure these needs are met in order to allow a hearing impaired pupil to inclusively take part in the lesson. The lowest sections on the hierarchy are the physiological needs and the safety needs (Maslow, 1970, p. 22). In terms of planning inclusively for hearing impaired pupils, the reasonable adjustments should be to ensure the safety and physiological needs of all pupils are met. This influenced the lessons I have taught, as I have been sure to include a variety of visual, auditory, kinaesthetic and tactile learning episodes. When straining hearing and lip reading for a long period of time in discussion, the eyes and ears can become sore and in need of rest. It is important therefore, that I provide pupils with a list of key objectives and a plan prior to the lesson so that they are able to know exactly when it is necessary to listen hard and to ensure they are lip reading. The variety of tasks also allows for rest breaks for the senses which have been used earlier in the lesson, so that pupils do not experience pain and become frustrated and irritable. To help support this physiological need for comfort, I also ensure that background noise is at a minimum during learning segments when concentration is necessary, as without this it can be painful for a student wearing a hearing aid (Reddy, 2004, p. 178). Butt too, agrees that learning is a more social experience than a teacher transmitting knowledge to students. He states that “simply listening to the teacher will rarely constitute effective learning for most students. The teacher has to plan and prepare for all the students in the class – an act of differentiation” (Butt, 2006, p. 39). He continues, [as a teacher,] “your aim should be to keep all students engaged and interested in the learning that you are planning” (Butt, p. 40). He also discusses the reasons why this is difficult; there are an infinite amount of learning styles and educational demands in any one group of children. By changing the task and keeping a quick paced classroom for the hearing impaired pupils, each of their classmates are experiencing a variety of learning styles also. This is beneficial for keeping all my pupils engaged and interested in the learning. Likewise, in order for pupils to concentrate, silence...
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