Inclusive Education: beneficial for all

Updated November 13th 2023

Tools and practices that may be necessary to support students with specific learning needs can also have wider benefits for all students. By taking a whole-school approach to inclusive education, we can maximise learning opportunities for all.

Inclusive tools and teaching practices are essential for students with specific learning needs. They remove access barriers, support independent learning and increase our ability to focus on a task. But are we missing a trick by not integrating inclusive tools and practices into all our teaching?

When we take an inclusive approach to teaching and learning, all students benefit. In other words, what’s necessary for some is useful for all.

Necessary for some, useful for all

Assistive technology may be necessary for some learners, but it’s useful for all of us. That’s because we all think, learn and process information in different ways. We all struggle with staying focused and on-task. All of us have areas where we excel and others we find challenging.

Let’s look at the most common learning difference in our classrooms – dyslexia. It affects how students read, write and process information. We can support students with dyslexia by providing text-to-speech tools to assist them in reading and understanding long passages of text. Screen-masking tools can also help with removing distractions and maintaining focus on each sentence as the student reads. How might these tools help the wider student population?

From assistive technology to inclusive tools

Many students use text-to-speech as a proofreading tool. It’s an easy way to check the flow of your writing and spot mistakes. Similarly, the same screen-mask tool that supports focus in students with dyslexia or ADHD can also help any student who wants to prevent eye strain and maintain reading focus.

Technology can facilitate learning in all kinds of circumstances. That’s why we’re missing a trick when we only provide tools and support to a certain subset of students.

More and more schools are adopting a whole-school approach to inclusive education. This means building accessibility into our everyday practices. How easy to read are the fonts and colours we’re using? Are we providing alt text on images?

Part of this is a shift from assistive technology to inclusive tools. When we make tools available for all students, we remove their stigma and make their benefits available to all.

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