How to make classroom more inclusive.

Mon, 04 Sep by Anuja

There are generally two types of student behavior while entering the class. One pertains to finding the front seats and trying to pay full attention to the teaching. While the other aims at finding the last seats. The last bench gives these students the liberty to have fun, goof around, finish their lunchboxes and along with their friends. The back benches are filled with drawings, formulas, little excerpts from books to help pass the exam. Many times all these things go unnoticed as when the syllabus is huge the teacher gets more concerned about the coverage rather than what goes on in the minds of the students. 

The problem here is that not all students get enough students and some students lag behind. Once a student starts lagging behind, he/she is not able to understand the concepts taught and thus become unable to build on it. This results in rising backlog and further lagging, making it a vicious cycle. The challenge here is to break out of it. Often a child’s self-esteem and self-worth are also tied to how he/she is perceived in his/her peer's group. 

So the whole point here lies here in making sure that no child is left behind. With this in mind, many teachers try to adopt different teaching pedagogy. They rearrange the classroom to form circles, or divide the class into groups and assigns tasks to them. All these are an effort to reduce the learning gaps and enhance the outcomes. Also, this teaches the students to be more forthcoming and help their classmates do better. 

Modern schools have also tried to experiment with new classroom structure on lines of amphitheater like format. However, while the teacher can see everyone, the front row tends to remain vacant. Also given the strength of the batch is it possible for the teacher to know all students name. 

However when a child feels that someone looks forward to his/her presence in class, what he/she thinks., such sort of things makes them feel more appreciated and hence their interest in the school activities is ignited. This is nothing but inclusion.

What may not be very effective in schools given the teacher-student ratio is the essence of Planet Spark’s initiative, as given the teacher students ratio at a maximum of 1:5. It does make each and every child matter. Their opinions are challenged and developed. Here the students themselves become more involved in their learning process.

This is vet crucial as the kids are not mature and don’t really know about the harsh realities of life. They don’t really how their actions may become a habit and define their future. And hence it becomes the responsibility of the teachers and parents to impart these essential life skills and learning among the students. 

It is true with the society as well that when someone groups don’t feel heard or hidden, it can result in unrest in the society as a whole. Disgruntlement may seek in, making bitter, cynical people. If their opinions were discussed, taken into consideration, perhaps many problems can be solved amicably. This is also what inclusion teaches us. One needs not agree to the other's viewpoint, however, it does not make a case for not talking about it.

Inclusion in class is one of the steps which can be taken earlier in one’s life and now is the best time for it, if not late. This can be done by having group based projects, not rows of seats but more of a circular kind of infrastructure, not having fixed seats for the students in class but rotation based.  

- Anuja




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