Personal, Social and Cultural Factors Influencing Learners

9218 words (37 pages) Dissertation

9th Dec 2019 Dissertation Reference this

Tags: EducationLearning

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1.1   Impact of personal, social and cultural factors on learning.

Personal

There are several factors that influence the learning among learners. Personal factors such as age, gender, and development of language influence learning. People of a young age have a good grasping memory necessary for learning but may have low concentration levels that affect their learning (Schmeck, 2013). On the other hand, old people may not have a sharp memory similar to the young people but have high concentration levels when it comes to learning. When it comes to gender, ladies pay attention more as compared to gentlemen. Ladies have strength when it comes to languages and humanities while men have strength in technical fields such as mathematics more than the ladies. Studies also indicate that the brains of girls usually mature faster than that of their boy’s age mates and this can be attributed to the high level of concentration by girls in class as compared to boys. Confidence and development of language influence the learning abilities. Learners with high levels of confidence usually find it easy to learn because they have the courage to keep trying even the complex tasks. Learners with a well-developed language find it easy to learn as compared to those that have no developed language. Since language is used in learning, it is essential for a learner to have a good language development for effective learning. Individuals regularly ask why kids can take in a dialect so effortlessly. The motivation behind why is that at a youthful age the capacity to take in another dialect is at a pinnacle and the procedure of dialect learning happens all the more effectively. As we get more seasoned be that as it may, taking in a moment dialect turns into a moderate procedure, frequently requiring a long time of study and practice. Indeed, even after a drawn out stretch of time of living in the nation where the dialect is talked, people may in any case not perceive any change in their elocution. Conquering this will regularly require particular complement preparing and rehearse. According to these famous authors :N. Granitz, K. Koering and K.Harich, 2009 they are of the opinion that as teaching does not always result in learning so does the building up of rapport but rather promotes and support conductive environment where learning could take its proper place. The key word here is trust as a component for building conductive environment where learning could take place. Possessing responsive personality boils down to having a can-do attitude that as much as teachers may not always have answers to all questions but in such circumstances a meaningful response would be having a principle of engagement by taking note of such a question and making sure one comes up with an answer to it on the next lesson.

Social factor

Social factors such as peer pressure affect learning in many ways. The type of company that a learner keeps influences their behavior including the attitude towards learning (Schmeck et al., 2013). If the learner is influenced to indulge in drugs and skip classes it affects their learning abilities because drugs affect their mental health. If the learners are influenced to indulge in early sexual relationships it is likely to interfere with their concentration during learning. The educational background of the learners affects their learning abilities either positively or negatively. A learner with a good educational background and foundation is likely to have it easy in all learning activities but a learner with a poor educational background will have challenges along their learning journey and will need a lot of help to tackle the challenges. The financial situation of a learner’s family can influence the learning abilities in a number of ways. Learners from financially well off are likely to get a good educational background and support while those from poor backgrounds may lack such support and this affects their learning abilities negatively. Delivering lesson to learners with same ethnic background is not likely to pose challenges compared to delivering lesson with different ethnic background an example is: an English born, nature- and- nurtured teacher to learners with multicultural settings or conversely a bunch of English born learners to Asian-born, nature and nurtured in Asian. In this scenario, teachers have to adapt the teaching approaches to suit the learning styles of the learners –one of the ways of achieving this is keeping abreast with current trends through reading newspapers, local newsletters, linking up through social media and blogging in order to keep well informed which could be used as one of the ice breakers prior to commencement of the lesson. All in all society is about building up relationships and learning responsibility by helping others

Cultural Factor

The cultural orientation of learners can either support or be an impediment to their learning (Hollins, 2015). Cultures that encourage learning help improve the learning abilities of learners because they are brought up knowing that learning is important. On the other hand, cultures that do not support education inhibit the learning abilities of the learners because one is socialized in a setting that does not encourage learning. Learners brought up in the multilingual setting have an easy time in learning because they are able to identify with the language used in different settings. Such learners can also translate materials from other languages to the one they understand better for learning making it easier for them. In any cultural setting not just in teaching and learning environment the three factors that should prevail are: collaboration, cooperation and communication (P.Amanda,2014). Of all these elements collaboration has been proven to be most effective as we learn better by putting our different strengths together and supporting one another to improve our weaknesses. Also different strength promotes diversity Another point of argument to this might be independence is useful but caring attitudes and behaviours shrivel up in culture where each other person is responsible only for himself and adapting the tasks to each learners ability as result of barriers which could physical, language or even cognitive. Other techniques to differentiate the learners in a differentiated classroom could be through observation and quiz as well in order to establish understanding. Refer to EV1and PS as indicated by yellow colour.

1.2 Impact of different cognitive, physical and sensory abilities in learning

Cognitive

Cognitive skills are essential in learning. Some of the cognitive skills that are critical to learning include the reading ability (Bower, 2008). A learner who has the ability to read finds it easy to learn as compared to a learner that has no ability to read. Learners with good analytical skills are good when it comes to learning as compared to those that do not have good analytical skills. Good analytical skills are a boost to learning because a learner is able to analyze and understand complex concepts (Bower et al., 2008). Visual awareness is a good cognitive ability necessary for effective learning. Learners are expected to have the ability to keep information in visual images in some instances. Learners with good visual processing abilities find it easy in learning as compared to those that do not have good visual processing abilities.

Physical abilities

Good physical abilities are a boost to learning because learners find it easy to complete all tasks related to learning such as reading and writing. Learners with physical challenges may experience problems in learning especially when they do not have the necessary supportive equipment (Bower et al., 2008). Physically challenged learners may find it difficult writing and the visually impaired will need support equipment to learn. Being physically fit is essential in learning because the learner is able to attend classes, engage in class and physical activities necessary for good learning. However, a document refer to as student profile should be handy to teachers wherein contain the details on the learners background including their physical fitness assessment sheet this vividly states whether the learner is fit for purpose and more importantly the date for review. This document is quite different from individual learning plan (ILP) where the initial and diagnostic assessments should and ought to reflect the condition of the learner and date for annual review. A case in point could be that of blind learners as they need more resources and the read with their fingers

Sensory abilities

Sensory abilities are essential in learning. Sensory developments are critical in brain development (McGann, 2015). The brain development is essential in promoting easy learning. A well-developed brain makes it easy for people to learn any skill and behavior. Low brain development makes is linked to poor learning abilities. Sensory development supports the cognitive development of the learners which results in improved learning abilities. Sensory skills such as body in space help learners to know the place they are in when putting between objects and people. The body in space sensory skill is essential in the development of the visual motor skills that are used in social interactions during learning and also necessary for writing skills. The laterality sensory skill is necessary for eye movements and establishing sides as left or right which is critical reading and writing skills necessary for learning. The balance and centering sensory skills are useful in the developing the communication system and body coordination that are necessary for effective learning. Hearing impairment affects learners since they have to rely on special support equipment to learn. Good hearing ability is necessary for effective learning. Learners who can hear what is being taught are able to learn better than those that have hearing impairments. Sensory memory as one of basic model of information processing uses boosts (i.e. sights, sounds, smells, and so on.) from the earth around us and changes it into data to enable us to understand them.(Woolfolk 2007) The length of tangible memory is short typically just enduring a couple of moments, yet the limit amid that time is extensive and more data is taken in than can be prepared. Sensory memory utilizes observation to decipher jolts. Scholars trust that individuals take their observations and arrange them into examples or connections. Refer to EV2 in the portfolio

 

2.1 Policy and regulatory frameworks relating to the inclusive practice

There are a number of policies and regulatory frameworks that are put in place to ensure that there is inclusive practice in teaching and learning. One of the regulatory frameworks that are in place includes the Equality Act, 2010 (Armstrong, Armstrong & Barton, 2016). At the national level it is called the regulation whilst at the school, college or university level or institution, this is  called  the policy, both of which must synchronise  and complement with each other. Also both of which must reflect not just European but more importantly the British value. The equality was meant to ensure that cases of discrimination are eliminated in the wider society. The Equality Act 2010 advocates for non-discrimination based on age, gender and disability. All people are supposed to be treated equally regardless of the status in the society. Both the young and old should be treated equally. People living with disabilities should be given equal rights like all the other people in society. The pregnant mothers and people of different races deserve equal rights and treatment according to the Disability Act 2010. People should not be discriminated based on their religious believes or sex.  The sexual orientation of an individual should not determine how such an individual is treated in the society (Armstrong et al. 2016).  With most institutions undergoing financial squeeze relative to government spending and cuts on Disability Allowance things like paying for note takers for the blind people are gradually being phased out, simply means institutions have to be more innovative and creative in their teaching approaches and styles and use of resources to make their learners more inclusive. The Equality Act 2010 supports fairness and equality in all aspects of life. The Equality Act 2010 is also applicable in teaching and learning where the institutions of learning are expected to follow equality guidelines as provided for in the Act. People of all races, gender, religion and those living with disabilities should be provided with equal opportunities for education as outlined in the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 also protects all people from any form of harassment or indirect discrimination. The Equality Act prohibits victimization of all people in the general society and the learning institutions setting.

The 14-19 curriculum and qualifications reform is another policy framework meant for inclusivity. The curriculum is designed to meet the educational needs of different learners to ensure inclusivity. The curriculum offers a chance to those at the entry level, those at the foundation, intermediate category, and the advanced program levels. Most curricula are designed to ensure inclusivity and meeting the learning needs of all people regardless of their gender, age, religion and physical status. The curriculum also focuses on reducing disengagement and increasing participation of people from all genders, race and those living with disabilities in educational programs. The curriculum focuses on increasing the quality of teaching and learning extending to special needs learners by ensuring that they get a quality education like learners without special needs.

Education policies are tailored to include increased flexibility programs to accommodate all people who want to gain knowledge through education. The several flexible programs include online learning, part-time courses, and the program pace. The courses are designed are designed to meet special needs, have learners chose the pace with which to complete them and the time of the study. The flexibility allows people with special needs, pregnant mothers and those working and want to continue with their studies to do it conveniently.

Discussing the Ofsted as one the regulatory body as it impacts inclusive practice brings to the mind first and foremost how does this body view learners with special needs (SEN): Ofsted does not make a different judgment about schools’ extraordinary instructive needs (SEN) arrangement. Rather, SEN arrangement is investigated as a feature of the entire school review.

Section 142 of Ofsted’s School Inspection Handbook says that before making their last judgment on a school’s general adequacy, reviewers must assess “the degree to which the training gave by the school addresses the issues of the scope of understudies at the school”, incorporating students with handicaps and understudies with SEN.

Also Pearson is another regulatory body for further education (FE) whose policy not only complement but also supplement the national regulation – A copy of their policy is evidenced in EV3 in my portfolio. The Health and Safety Policy particular the ones that affect the less able learners which make them inclusive.

2.2 How policy and regulatory frameworks influence organizational policies relating to the inclusive practice

National policies and regulatory frameworks are the main aspects that influence organizational policies. For organizations to observe the inclusivity principles and guidelines, they must have set standards and threshold for inclusivity that serve as the minimum targets (Armstrong et al. 2016). The laws in place to ensure that organizations comply with the inclusivity guidelines criminalize all forms of discrimination based on gender, race, age, and disability.

The criminal record bureau procedures provide for guidelines within which those that commit discrimination crimes can be traced. The records are kept to ensure that those who have records of discrimination are identified and any repeat of the same after the first record attracts criminal charges. As a result, those in practice are careful not to have their names in the criminal record bureau and this helps in promoting inclusivity in the education sector and the general society.

The regulations guiding staffing in both public and private institutions require that the institutions apply the inclusivity principles in their recruitment procedures (Alexiadou, 2014). Organizations are required by law to ensure that they adhere to the gender rule when recruiting and also consider the marginalized and people living with disabilities. All the recruitment processes are required to meet the inclusivity criteria as provided by law. Organizations that do not meet the inclusivity criteria in their staffing ration risk legal liability.

All the nomination and appointment procedure are also required to meet the inclusivity criteria where people of all gender are considered and those that are living with disabilities. Organizations are also required by law to provide clear guidelines on the procedures to be followed when reporting cases of discrimination, victimization, and harassment. The regulations are meant to ensure that inclusivity aspects are taken into account in all the processes of an organization.

The marketing and promotion of courses are expected to be done in ways that encourage all genders and people living with disabilities to apply. The advertisements are also required to include sign interpreters for the sake of those living with hearing impairment challenges.

Schools and learning institutions are expected to offer special facilities and services to people living with disabilities (Alexiadou et al., 2014). Learning material and amenities that serve people living with disabilities are a mandatory requirement for institutions of learning. Buildings are supposed to be designed in a way that allows accessibility for people living with disabilities.

The staff and student charter in intuitions of learning provide for inclusivity guidelines meant to ensure that the services offered are beneficial to all regardless of their disability, gender, race or status. Many countries have put in place policies and regulations meant to reduce cases of discrimination based on gender, age race, religion or disability. The policies at the national level are meant to influence policies at the organization level to ensure that inclusive guidelines are adhered to by all institutions.

There are also laws that are meant to deal with those that do not adhere to the inclusivity guidelines provide. Institutions of learning are required to have a curriculum that teaches on inclusivity to ensure that people are prepared at an early stage to adhere to the guidelines. There are also recruitment guidelines for employers that require them to meet certain criteria in their staffing processes. The policies and regulations serve as the sole pillars of promoting inclusivity in the general society.

2.3 How policy and regulatory frameworks influence own inclusive practice

Regulatory and policy frameworks serve as the main guidelines for the conduct of organizations and individuals when practicing inclusivity (Cohen, McCabe, Michelli & Pickeral, 2009). It is through the existing policies and regulations that make individuals to practice inclusivity in their place work.

The laws in place demand that individuals with the responsibility of making critical decisions in organizations observe the aspect of inclusivity. Those that go against these regulations are held individually responsible for their actions. The existing policies in my organization are the guidelines with which I work with to ensure that I do not break the law on inclusivity.

The service charter demands that all actions and decisions should consider the aspect of inclusivity. As a result, I always work with this in mind to avoid legal liability for breaking the law. All the current laws on inclusivity and published in government gazettes to ensure that members of the public are aware of the new regulations. The same Gazette notices are shared through the staff emails to ensure that members of staff are updated on any new laws.

All the updates that are done on policies due to change of regulations are communicated to all the staff members to ensure that they are up to date with the current legislation on inclusivity. The announcement of vacancies and adverts in the institution have an addendum disclaimer that clarifies on equal opportunity for people of all gender, race, age and those living with disabilities. The disclaimers serve as a reminder that inclusivity is necessary for any actions and processes. My work contract provided for a section to give consent that all services will be offered based on equality and fairness. All the recruitment guidelines require employees to give consent and lecturers are also required to sign the consent form acknowledging to treat all people fairly and equally.

Whenever am teaching or giving a test in a class I have to ensure that both genders participate and take into account all the inclusivity aspects such as race, age and people living with disability depending on the composition of the class. I also promote inclusivity through teaching by encouraging my students to treat others fairly and equally in all aspects. I always avoid favoritism or any action that can be seen as favoring one person or section and discriminating the other. I always address all cases of discrimination that I come across by engaging those involved to ensure that the same does not happen. I am a champion of inclusive practice and I have been on the forefront of addressing the issue.

The institution also offers an opportunity for staff members to undergo training on inclusivity in line with the existing regulations and policies that demand that institutions regularly train their staff on the inclusivity principles and the existing regulations.

Following the triggering of Article 50,where it was officially a law that UK is exiting European Union, the fears and doubts as to who and what stays behind following this enactment is still shrouded in secrecy as for teaching and learning sector , a recent research by Mckinsey suggests that with already acute shortage in this industry particularly so in core sciences to Mathematics and Physics that recruitment would be mostly hit not to mention retention since some of the European citizens complement this vital areas of this industry. A variety of ability and inward versatility is vital to create and hold retain innovative and creative leader to comprehend the more extensive worldwide decent variety piece. Close by this, social dexterity and mindfulness is critical to fabricate social mobility in businesses that includes education. Without the entrance to EU – there might be a dread of disengagement and absence of learning and practice cross over Europe,” said Green Park’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Although still bearing in mind that Brexit is not only about EU but also about the multicultural nature of UK and indeed our classroom environment. Liaising more with the communities more in order to realize the gravity of the change and how this have affected the attitude to learning in general would be a better option, this could be achieved through collaborative activities. Refer to job description EV4 in my portfolio.

3.2 Own role and responsibilities relating to the inclusive practice

As one of the stakeholders in teaching and learning industry planning, assessing and delivery lessons to learners has been a quite a task in this dynamic subject called Health and Safety however these challenges have been quite surmountable in terms of interdependent nature of support from other professionals with whom I work and on which the network and the bulk of the work depends they include: fellow teachers within and outside the schools, receptionists, senior colleagues to mention but a negligible few. This interdependence include me either organizing meetings or attending the ones organized by others to discuss e.g. new legislation affecting either the planning, assessing and delivery of lessons in Health and Safety and makes the current headlines in best practice. Seminars and Symposia are often organized to keep abreast with these trends. Meetings and e-mails have been my means of formal communication. In this regards, I do create a communication book besides a dairy where details of what is being done on week to week rather than diary which is on day to day.

Some of my roles in ensuring that there is inclusivity at my place of work include a strict adherence to organizational policies on inclusivity. I make sure that all my actions are done with regard to the inclusivity guidelines. I treat all people equally and fairly at my place of work as a way of demonstrating the need for inclusivity. I usually share with my students on the need for inclusivity in all their endeavors as a way of ensuring that they grow to become good people that observe the inclusivity guidelines.

I take all notices and communications on the policy changes seriously and usually share the positive elements with my students in class or with those that I interact with. I usually engage in conversations on inclusivity with my colleagues and attend events on gender and inclusivity whenever I have time. Student inclusion has been my area of interest when it comes to inclusivity in school. I always advocate for fair treatment of all students regardless of their gender and race. Most black students usually feel that they are discriminated in many several institutions because they do not get the attention and treatment they deserve (Florian & Spratt, 2013). This has been different in my institution because there are strict guidelines on inclusivity that requires all people to observe the regulations. No discrimination on any grounds is allowed. I have also been at the forefront of telling all my students that if one is found discriminating or bullying anyone on grounds of gender, age, race or disability, they will face serious disciplinary measures.

I usually share articles on inclusivity in my social media handles as a way of spearheading the campaign to ensure that there is inclusivity in all aspects. I usually challenge inappropriate behaviors in my class and even outside my class whenever I notice them. The efforts are meant to ensure that we have a just, fair and inclusive society that values every individual regardless of their gender, race, age or disability status.

I usually encourage my students to do group activities in groups that comprise all genders, race, age, and people living with a disability. This helps to ensure that students learn to work with people from a diverse background that shave different abilities. I usually reward groups that have observed all the inclusivity guideline and ensuring that everyone participated in the task assigned in class. The approach instills the inclusivity values and fairness in students while they are still in school and these values become the basis for ensuring that they practice inclusivity in their fields after school.

Also with the advent of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) about to come into force in May 2018 the Department of Education had updated its policy for schools and colleges to which I am familiarizing myself on its website particular those areas that impacts on inclusivity: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/data-protection-and-privacy-privacy-notices . Please refer to EV7 in my portfolio as my evidence to my training in GDPR. The other areas where attention should be placed include: recycling policy, the use of minimal number of pages to promote environmental friendliness initiatives. I usually seek for training and seminars on inclusivity and invite my students to attend so that they can learn more about the inclusivity regulations, policies and how they affect the society. I have also been involved in developing internal programs on inclusivity for the institutions that are used to train the learners on inclusivity to complement the existing policies and regulations. I also encourage my students and colleagues to embrace self and peer assessment practices on inclusivity both at work and away from work.

3.2 Relationship between own role and the roles of other professionals involved in the inclusive practice.

In accordance with the National Association of Head teachers (NAHT), amid the main years of their calling, a great number of teachers are frequently perplexed of the head teachers in this manner their association with the head teachers is described by fear. In these cases teachers abstain from looking for assistance from the head teachers when they experience challenges (Harris, Day& Hadfield 67). Notwithstanding, as they acquire understanding, aptitudes and learning most teachers have a tendency to have agreeable relationship with the head teachers and henceforth they can look for direction and support from the head teachers. In view of the discoveries of this investigation, it is apparent the advancement of teacher’s vocation can advance great connection amongst them and the teachers. In this manner head teacher is ought to give learning openings that will enable teachers to progress in their professions. Head teachers should envision and discover methods for tending to the emerging requests. Head teachers ought to organize on framing great associations with teachers as this will unavoidable contribute to achievement and better execution among learners (Avi-Itzhak and Ben-Peretz 231). This is exactly what happened to me as I advance in my place of assignment. Apprehension was rife at first and time progresses the growth of confidence to take on my head teacher as I grow in knowledge of my learning and teaching environment.

My role as a teacher is related to what many other professionals are doing on inclusivity. As a teacher, I am expected to teach my students on inclusivity and all aspects of ensuring an inclusive classroom. I am tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that all the students come out of school with knowledge of inclusivity regulations and policies. One of the aspects that I use to ensure that the campaign and knowledge on inclusivity remain relevant and shared is through building relationships. Meeting different stakeholders such as parents, guardians and other educationists from other institutions helps in establishing the relationships that are necessary for promoting inclusivity both in school and away from school.

I act as the link between training institutions and the students when there is a training program on inclusivity I usually encourage my students to attend such programs. I also liaise with other students and the institution management to find out training opportunities on inclusivity for my students and my colleagues.

I pick on programs that teach inclusivity and liaise with the school administrators to ensure that the students are facilitated to attend the training programs. Once in a while, I invite guest speakers from agencies advocating for inclusivity to motive the students on ways of ensuring inclusivity both at school and in the general society. I closely work with the learning support department to ensure that all the students are provided with the necessary learning support services.

In many cases, some teachers are likely to assume that all the students have all they need for effective learning without asking the learners whether they need any assistance. As a result, before I take on any new class, I invite the learning support department to take the learners through the learning support services available and see whether such there are other learners who may need additional learning support services. I support the learners through guidelines on what to do in case they feel that their needs are not met or face any form of discrimination.

I work closely with the disciplinary and security department to provide the learners with the reporting guidelines in case of harassment and discrimination of any form while in the institution. This helps in reducing any forms of acts and practices that may result in low levels of inclusivity in the institution. I regularly seek guidance from the student’s counselors and other professionals on the best ways to understand that a student is suffering from discrimination and harassment. The good relationship with the various departments has been critical in ensuring an environment that is inclusive and learners of all race, gender, and physical ability status feel free and part of the institution.

I also conduct tests on students to establish any forms of stereotypes they may be having that may reduce the inclusivity in class, school and away from school. The tests are done with the help of psychologists to establish the potential causes of cases of discrimination or harassment among the learners.

3.3 Points of referral available to meet individual learning needs

There are several points of referral for students to ensure effective and practical learning on inclusivity. The points of referral range from organizations advocating for inclusivity, referrals for the learning needs of the students on inclusivity include the existing legislation on inclusivity such as the Equality Act 2010. The Act provides guidelines on inclusivity and all that people should know when it comes to inclusivity practices in all the areas.

Legislation on inclusivity is a good reference point for learners to help them understand some of the laws that guide inclusivity practices in the general social context. Learners are able to draw from the legislation and understand some of the actions that are prohibited by the law as this subject is based on legislation

Learners can also be referred to existing policies on inclusivity to learn on the guidelines of inclusivity and why certain addendum disclaimers on inclusivity are included in communications such as recruitment advertisements.

Inclusivity curricula are a good point of referral for learners to understand the principles of inclusivity and how school curricula ensure that inclusivity is achieved. When learners are taken through curricula that are inclusive they learn on how to prepare such curricula in future and also how to assess whether educational institutions are adhering to the inclusivity guideline.

Learners can be referred to organizations that fight for inclusivity to ensure that they gain practical knowledge on how inclusivity aspects work in real life or at the places of work. Organizations fighting for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, the civil society and other human rights organizations can serve as good referral points for students to gain basic skills on how the fight for inclusivity is done.

Seeking mentorship for students from people who have prior knowledge and experience on inclusivity is one of the best ways of ensuring that the learners get practical and useful knowledge from learning on inclusivity. Mentors provide an enriching experience to learners, which is essential for the learners to tackle real-life challenges at their place of work when they have been hired. Besides having students attached to mentors, they can also have the chance to listen to guest speakers on inclusivity while at school or use technology to access online tutorials on inclusivity.

Counselors and psychologists are a good reference point for students to learn on inclusivity. Most cases that are suffering from harassment and discrimination are referred to counselors. I do refer learners who do suffer from there conditions to these professionals as the need arises. The counselors and psychologists have an enriching practical experience that can help learners to gain knowledge on inclusivity and how to avoid or protect others. Refer to EV7 in my portfolio.

4.1 The key features and benefits of an inclusive learning environment

There are several features of an inclusive learning environment such as respect for diversity. An inclusive learning environment is one that recognizes diversity and respects all the people regardless of their age, gender or disability status (Shevlin, Winter & Flynn, 2013). An inclusive learning environment recognizes the learning needs of all the learners including those that have special needs. When a learning environment recognizes that people have different needs for them to learn effectively it ensures inclusivity for all including those that are living with disabilities.

An inclusive learning environment promotes inclusivity in both teaching and learning. The teachers are bound by inclusivity guidelines and treat all the learners fairly and equally.

An inclusive learning environment is free of discrimination, harassment and unfair treatment of others. The learning environment encourages fair and just treatment of others involved in the learning process. The learning needs and gaps of all learners are given equal and fair attention. In an inclusive learning environment, the teachers motivate their students to do better in all aspects regardless of the ability of the learners. Motivation of learners helps to make them free to ask questions and interact with others freely for better learning.

An inclusive learning environment where learners are fairly and equally treated encourages learning (Shevlin et al., 2013). Achievements are celebrated in an inclusive learning environment and those that have fallen below the target are encouraged to add extra efforts to achieve the targets.

An inclusive learning environment enhances respect for others and makes learners comfortable to be in the learning environment. Positive attitudes towards learning are developed when there is an inclusive learning environment. Learners are likely to attend classes on a daily basis if the learning environment encourages inclusivity.  On the other hand, learners are likely not to attend all the classes if the learning environment does not encourage inclusivity. Most learners are likely to develop a negatives attitude towards school if the learning environment is hostile to them. Learners are likely to make excuses such as being sick to abscond school and classes if the learning environment is not friendly.

An inclusive learning environment creates a culture of tolerance between the learners, teachers and the stakeholders which encourages a positive learning attitude. An inclusive learning environment promotes students empowerment because all the support needed is provided to ensure their growth.

An inclusive learning environment is beneficial because it encourages shared responsibility among the learners, teachers and the stakeholders. Collaboration is enhanced when there is an inclusive learning environment and this increases the productivity of both the learners and their educators. It is therefore essential for schools and institutions of learning to ensure that there is an inclusive learning environment.

4.2 Ways to promote equality and value diversity

There are several ways of promoting equality and ensuring value for diversity in learning institutions in particular and in the society in general. To ensure equality there is need to promote quality of learning offered in all learning institutions (Thompson, a. 2016.). When learners have access to the same quality of content it helps reduce learning gaps and this promotes equality. Having value for diversity and inculcating the values to learners helps in promoting diversity in learning institutions and in the society in general.

To ensure equality and enhance the value of diversity, there is the need to create opportunities that are shared across the board and celebrating diversity. When people celebrate diversity, it is a sign that they value it. Creating and sharing opportunities ensures that all people have access to the opportunities regardless of their gender, age or disability status.  Most people who are at disadvantaged positions may not have access to opportunities if the opportunities are not shared out. It is therefore essential to create and share opportunities in an effort to enhance equality and inclusivity. People feel a sense of belonging when opportunities are shared and this helps in increasing the value of diversity in learning institutions and the general society.

A positive attitude towards individuals is one way of promoting equality and a sign of value for diversity (Thompson et al., a. 2016.). When people are treated with a positive attitude, they feel the sense of belonging and equality. A positive attitude is also a sign of appreciation or value for diversity. Whenever a person is treated with a positive attitude in an environment where they are the odd ones out, they feel valued and a sense of belonging. A positive attitude towards learners and colleagues in schools and institutions of learning promotes equality and for diversity.

Engaging the learners and empowering individuals is also a good way of promoting equality and demonstrating value for diversity. When learners are engaged, the gaps are identified and necessary action is taken to close the gaps a move that promotes equality for all the learners. Empowerment of individuals gives them the ability to perform tasks independently and engage with others with minimum difficult. The act of empowerment helps close any gap causing inequality and value to the individuals.

Teamwork is used to promote equality and enhance the value of diversity. When learners are put together to learn in teams it ensures that all the learners have access to the same content. Learners are able to learn from each other and this helps reduce disparities that are linked to inequality. Teamwork enhances the value for diversity because learners from different backgrounds with different abilities are able to engage in a joint activity that helps them appreciate the input of every team member (Thompson, b. 2011).  When the efforts of every team member are valued, it increases the value for diversity because the learners are convinced that each and every person is equally important regardless of their race, gender, age, and disability status.

Working with the community and specialist groups helps in promoting equality and enhancing the value of diversity. Working with the community gives the learners a good experience of how people live and the real-life situations and makes them appreciate diversity. Specialist groups on inclusivity advocate for equality and appreciation of diversity. When learners get the chance to work with the specialist groups, they gain experience on how to advocate for equality in all aspects and this experience goes a long way in enhancing the fight for equality. Experience and practical knowledge on equality and appreciation of diversity drawn from any field help in promoting equality and enhancing the value of diversity.

4.3 An analysis of ways of promoting inclusion

Inclusion can be promoted using different ways such as adherence to organization policies and procedures. When teachers and lecturers in schools and learning institutions adhere to the inclusivity guidelines and principles, the same values are transferred to the learners (Mazur, 2015).

The style of teaching used by lecturers and teachers in learning institution determine whether inclusivity is promoted. Inclusivity is promoted when educators teach and treat their learners fairly and equally regardless of their gender, age, race or disability status. When people work well with others it helps in promoting inclusivity in all aspects of learning.

Handling cases of discrimination in learning institutions and schools help in promoting inclusivity. Tackling cases of bullying among learners helps in promoting inclusivity in learning institutions (Beacham & Rouse, 2012). When learners feel safe and free from bullying in learning institutions, it makes them feel part of the institution and this helps in promoting inclusivity.

Students’ empowerment is one of the strategies that are used in promoting inclusivity in learning institutions. When students are empowered they feel part and parcel of the learning process and this enhances inclusivity (Mazur et al., 2015).

Inclusivity can be promoted through positive attitudes towards others which encourage them to have a sense of belonging. Rewarding success and encouraging best practice can help in promoting inclusivity. When positive inclusive practices from learners are rewarded it encourages others to do the same.

4.4 Strategies for effective liaison between professionals involved in an inclusive practice

Liaison between different professionals involved in inclusive practices can be made effective through a number of ways such as regular communication. Communication can be done through face to face meetings to exchange ideas (Kershner & Chaplain, 2014). The use of mobile phones, emails and teleconferencing can be used in ensuring that liaison is maintained between professionals involved in inclusive practice.

Professionals can also be involved in meeting students to offer motivational talks on good inclusive practices. Constant sharing of information and updates helps in enhancing cooperation among professionals involved in inclusive practice. Keeping up to date with policy and regulations can help in enhancing cooperation among professionals involved in inclusive practice. Such consultations could reflect on the lesson plans to keep learners abreast with the current trends. A typical example was when new legislation was enacted a training was then conducted to discuss this from which analysis this then trickles down to the lesson plan where learners were taught on the new legislations.

Good cooperation can be realized through proper coordination of activities and keep other professionals informed of any developments. Regular training and programs on inclusive practice can help in ensuring effective liaison among the professionals (Role, 2014).

Networking and positive relationships also help in facilitating effective liaison among professional. It is also essential to maintain professionalism in all the activities and serving as examples in inclusive practice to enhance cooperation. The effective liaison also depends on positive attitudes among the professionals. Having positive attitudes in what they do, professionals involved in inclusive practice can ensure effective liaison.

5.1 Effectiveness of own inclusive practice

My practice of inclusive practice has been effective because I have always adhered to organization policies on inclusive practice. I have strengths in engaging my students and colleagues to embrace the inclusive practice. My weakness when it comes to inclusive practice is the lack of time because when I get to the topic of inclusive practice, I tend to spend a lot of time on it because of passion. Some of the opportunities available to ensure effectiveness in my inclusive practice include the platform that I have as a lecturer. I have the opportunity to share with my students about inclusive practice. Some of the threats to inclusive practice are the lack of strict compliance to regulations. Most organizations practice discriminatory practices especially in recruitment processes, but nothing happens to such entities. An evaluation of my students reveals that there is strict adherence to inclusive practice starting group formations, teamwork, and behaviors. My colleagues’ observations on inclusive practice acknowledge the effectiveness of the efforts I have made in the campaign on inclusive practice around the school. Refer to EV7 as in the  portfolio.

5.2 Strengths and areas of improvement on inclusive

Some of the strengths that I possess relating to inclusivity include self-awareness. I understand the need to lead by example and always abide by the rules and regulations on inclusivity in both practice and general life. I usually use reflective practice to teach my students and colleagues in inclusive practice. The use of reflective practice helps understand some of the shortcomings as an individual and also in policy guidelines. I am always open to learning more and gaining any new skills relating to inclusive practice. I respect the contributions of others and understand the impact of discrimination in any context. One of the areas that I need improvement is on understanding the multicultural, inclusive practice.

5.3 Opportunities to improve skills on inclusive practices

One of the opportunities to grow skills in inclusive practice is through working with other people to understand what they do in different contexts. I need to gain a multicultural knowledge of inclusive practice to help understand how different societies adhere to inclusive practice both in developed and developing countries. A visit to other organizations helps in learning different aspects of inclusive practice. The other opportunity that I bank on to enhance my knowledge on inclusive practice is through working with specialists and specialist organizations to understand more about what they do on inclusive practice by means of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plan for which my three months schedule is tabulated as follows:

CPD Plan for 6 months 

Date Activity Purpose Duration Who will be involved
05/02/2018 Update on general data protection regulation (GPDR) How to use GPDR in a classroom environment 1 hour
  •       Business constituents
  •       Head teacher
  •       Teachers
  •       Administrations
28/03/2018 Communication: engaging hearts and mind Understanding the three levels of communication physical, verbal and psychological 1 hour
  •       Teachers
  •       Administrations
  •       Head teachers
14/04/2018 Use of body language in classroom Emphasis on use of voice, gesture, posture, position eye contact among others + significance of body movement 1 hour
  •       Teachers
  •       Head teachers
  •       Administrators
30/04/2018 How to use the learning style effectively Use of VARK still relevant in modern classroom 1 hour
  •       Teachers
  •       Head teachers
  •       Policy makers
06/05/2018 Creative leadership How to build and sustain visionary leadership in classroom 1 hour
  •       Policy makers
  •       Seasoned administrator
07/06/2018 Less able challenges in classroom environment Recognising accommodating elements of inclusiveness 1 hour
  •       Head teacher
  •       Teachers

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Alexiadou, N.A.F.S.I.K.A., 2014. Policy learning and Europeanisation in education: The              governance of a field and the transfer of knowledge. Transnational policy flows in European education: The making and governing of knowledge in the educationpolicy field, pp.123-140.

Armstrong, F., Armstrong, D., and Barton, L., 2016. Inclusive education: policy, contexts and comparative perspectives. Routledge.

Beacham, N. and Rouse, M., 2012. Student teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about inclusion and               inclusive practice. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 12(1), pp.3-11.

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Hollins, E.R., 2015. Culture in school learning: Revealing the deep meaning. Routledge.

Kershner, R. and Chaplain, R., 2014. Understanding Special Educational Needs: a teacher’s guide to effective school based research. Routledge.

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Thompson, N., 2011. Promoting equality. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

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