People of determination, people with special needs in education, people who are differently abled or people who are disabled; all these are names of the same nature of people but they are addressed differently depending on where one comes from or how they are regarded by an individual.
Yesterday I had the golden opportunity of working with children of determination – I appreciate this reference as it describes the effort and sheer willpower that one has to put in do tasks that are regarded as simple and straightforward like, putting food in your mouth or walking in a straight line or just moving your body from one point to the other – and it was one of my most worthwhile days.
I have taught children with learning and physical conditions such as autism, dyslexia, attention deficit disorders and body impairment, but they were mostly included in the main stream classes and were regularly withdrawn for some lessons to receive the extra support they required to acquire the necessary skills.
Their being included with the rest of the class had a myriad of successes; to an extent, they were able to develop skills just like everybody else and learn how to live in a regular society without feeling different. Likewise their classmates were able to learn lessons of patience, tolerance and an appreciation of the different abilities that everyone has regardless of who they are. The value of patience was learned when they had to wait for all your classmates to walk from one point to another or complete an activity regardless of their speed. These lessons are equally beneficial to the entire world today seeing how society is in great lack of these vital attributes.
That was my introduction to inclusive education – where every child is included – and so interacting with children in an exclusive situation revealed some insights and has a number of bonuses too. Whereas in a regular classroom, everyone has to follow the curriculum, in an exclusive center focus is put on the specific areas of need and development for that particular child. Similarly, they can work at a pace that is suitable to their development with no particular stress derived from watching their regular counterparts’ accomplishment. After they have gained some basic skills they may join a mainstream school.
Should students of determination be taught on their own or should they be integrated in the mainstream classes? Over to you.