Every young person and adult has the right to education and training – this has been well established and recognized in UNESCO’s Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) and in other political frameworks. Due to its direct link to the labour market, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) can play an important role as an enabler for social mobility by helping young people and adults transition to employment and decent work. But globally, marginalized groups continue to face difficulties in accessing or completing TVET programmes.
UNESCO is putting the spotlight on this issue. In the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 4 on Quality Education which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, and continuing its work on the Education for All movement, UNESCO has made equity and inclusion one of the three priority areas of its Strategy for TVET (2016-2021). Furthermore, the Global Education Monitoring Report is also focusing on ‘Inclusion and Education’ in its 2020 issue.
Inclusion in education is one aspect of inclusion in society as respect and understanding grow when students of diverse abilities and backgrounds play, socialize, and learn together. Education is inclusive when all students, especially those who, for different reasons, are excluded or at risk of being marginalized, are welcomed by their neighbourhood schools in age appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. Schools, classrooms, programs and activities must be developed and designed by effectively meeting their diverse needs so that all students learn and participate together in a common learning environment with support to diminish and remove barriers and obstacles that may lead to exclusion.
Who is the SEN student?
SEN students are all those who are not able to benefit from the school education made generally available for children of the same age without additional support or individualised and personalised teaching strategies.
According to Italian legislation SEN students are those in need of special attention, for example, socially, economically, and culturally disadvantaged children, children with disabilities or with learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, dysphasia, auditory or visual processing disorder), those with attention deficit or hyperactivity issues.
Reaching excluded and marginalized groups and providing them with quality education requires the development and implementation of inclusive policies and programmes.
What are the general strategies a teacher may adopt for SEN students?
- Building positive self-esteem and self-image is essential to motivate students in a non repressive learning environment by giving them opportunities for success;
- Collaboration and cooperation with their peers, pair work, group work, homework groups may encourage SEN students to work without being judged by adults;
- Objectives and materials must be carefully adapted according to the students’ needs because in a single class there are different learning styles, multiple intelligences, various strengths and weaknesses;
- Concept maps and mind maps, summaries, significant images, charts, diagrams and timelines have to be used also during written and oral tests;
- Students should be helped learn how to learn and should be encouraged not only to acquire study skills but also to develop their individual learning style;
- Creativity can help bring fun and success into the classroom, improving outcomes for all students.
- Written and oral tests should be personalised in order to compensate for special needs.
All students, with special educational needs or not, can make important contributions to the class.
https://inclusiveeducation.ca/about/what-is-ie/ (accessed June 20,2019)
https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/explainers/value-inclusive-education(accessed June 20,2019)
http://archivi.istruzioneer.it/emr/istruzioneer.it/bes/ (accessed June 20, 2019)
https://en.unesco.org/themes/inclusion-in-education (accessed June 27,2019)
https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues (accessed June 27,2019)