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10 Easy Changes Teachers Can Make to Facilitate Inclusion

10 Easy Changes Teachers Can Make to Facilitate Inclusion

From changing the classroom space to adjusting groupings and lesson delivery, find ten practical ways to make changes in your classroom so that students with different abilities can learn and succeed.

“Over, under, around or through find a way, or make a way” is a quote by teacher and inclusion advocate Paula Kluth that recently reminded me of how I found ways to include all my students in a classroom activity, regardless of their ability level. I want to share one of the most successful ways that I used as a classroom teacher to facilitate inclusion. 

In order to have students aquire the same learning experiences, teachers have to be prepared for the differences in their student’s abilities and learning styles. This technique is known as “differentiation.” Differentiation can be created by making changes. Changes can take place in many ways in the classroom, depending on the student’s needs, teacher’s level of knowledge and support of school personnel. Big or little, however, change can make a difference in how students with special needs are included in the classroom.

Here are 10 easy changes teachers can make to facilitate inclusion:

1. Time

Change the time of day the activity is planned for, the duration of activity, the time of week or even the month.

2. Space

Change the physical seating arrangement in the class, change the environment (turn off the lights, shut the door or open the windows), change the workspace or even the room (go to the library or sit outside).

3. Method

Change how the lesson is delivered. Use charts, music, books, props, video or posters. Stand at the front of the class, the back of the class. Have the students remain sitting at their desks, on their desks or sit at a carpeted area.

4. Materials

Have students produce their work using crayons, markers, paint, modeling clay, computer software, cameras, popsicle sticks, or cheerios.

5. Product

Change the assignment from writing to drawing, art, music, or drama. Have students create a poster, diorama or power point presentation.

6. Quantity

Change the number of questions, length of assignment, amount of homework, or ask for odd-numbered answers only.

7. Groupings

Change how the students are grouped for the lesson. Will they work in pairs, small groups or be independent?  Will the student work with a teacher, a paraprofessional, or other support personnel?

8. Grade

Change the grade-level expectations of the activity. Go down a grade or up a grade depending on the student’s ability.

9. Teacher

Yes, change the teacher! Ask the Special Ed teacher to deliver the lesson, a co-teacher, the principal, a parent, or another student.

10. Resources

Change the resources you use for class activities. Look for new textbooks, websites, on-line teaching communities, and experts. One small, new idea can lead to something big!

Nicole Eredics is an educator who specializes in the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom. She draws upon her years of experience as a full inclusion teacher to write, speak, and consult on the topic of inclusive education to various national and international organizations. She specializes in giving practical and easy-to-use solutions for inclusion. Nicole is creator of The Inclusive Class blog (opens in a new window) and author of a new guidebook for teachers and parents called, Inclusion in Action: Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum (opens in a new window). For more information about Nicole and all her work, visit her website (opens in a new window)

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