Inclusive Classrooms

Student as Learner

PED 3142 Inclusive Classrooms was a course that examined how learning takes place in an inclusive classroom setting, and how programming should be developed to best support exceptional learners. By addressing the learning objectives below, we identified potential shortfalls of certain educational activities and explored exemplary teaching strategies and classroom practices (Sheldrick, “Course Overview”).

My approach to teacher education is to “dive into deep learning,” where new learning is based on action and problem solving, and enabled by leveraging digital technology.

Learning objectives:

  • Develop an understanding of the complexity of learning both as an individual and group process;

  • Begin to identify and articulate your own assumptions about learning and the implicit/explicit theories which guide your understanding;

  • Be able to discuss theories of learning and development from a critical perspective- this means that you will question the “why” underlying any educational activity;

  • Ultimately appreciate the necessary relation between educational theory and classroom practice;

  • Be able to apply your understanding of learning theory to program for students with exceptionalities;

  • Feel confident about presenting your instructional preferences publicly as this is a valued indicator of professionalism.

In order to describe my own personal understanding of the inclusive classroom, I have used a dedicated section of my teaching blog as a platform to document my teaching experiences throughout my CSL and Practicum Placement in a grade 6 classroom. I have also created specific posts that discuss the importance of creating a healthy, safe and supportive learning community and embracing conflict in the classroom.

In an effort to integrate the various classroom practices and strategies that I observed and employed throughout my teaching experiences thus far, I have developed a video that summarizes course concepts and presents photos and recollections of how I drew on these concepts to create an inclusive classroom community (Sheldrick, “Course Notes”).

I created this video using Book Creator, which is an iPad app that was commonly used by exceptional learners in my practicum placement. I decided to add the auditory component to the book pages (and then save as a video) to simulate what my exceptional learners often did to complete and submit their assessments. It is one example of the differentiation that I observed and practiced during practicum to foster an inclusive classroom for all learners. It was very rewarding to be able to apply course concepts to my teaching during practicum, and I was able to identify many of the classroom strategies and potentially helpful approaches that I could implement in the future to support exceptional students in an inclusive setting.

References

Autism Speaks Canada. “What is autism.” Autism Speaks Canada. Global Cloud, 2016. Web. 21 April 2016.

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2013)Learning for All: A Guide to Effective Assessment and Instruction for All Students, Kindergarten to Grade 12 . 

Sheldrick W. “Course Notes.” University of Ottawa. PED3142E, Ottawa, ON. Winter. 2016. Lectures.

Sheldrick W. “Course Overview.” University of Ottawa. PED3142E, Ottawa, ON. 12 Jan. 2016. Handout.

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