While reading the book "Modifying Schoolwork" by Janney and Snell it occurred to me that the best inclusion classrooms are classrooms that adapt for the inclusion of many learning styles all the time. “Inclusion” should not be something we do sometimes. All learners benefit from inclusion, the real challenge is for the educator in the room to bend their lesson and modify the delivery of content in order to make learning accessible for everyone in the room. Differentiating the instruction without “dumbing down” the content seems to be the real challenge. In reality all classrooms are “inclusive” or at least strive to be. No two students learn in the same manner therefore enabling only one teaching modality seems ludicrous.
Teachers need to make differentiating tasks the norm in the class. Differentiation cannot be the exception so that a few labeled students get access. By assigning ‘group work’ that involves critical thinking, and a display of this critical thinking , students in cooperative groups should be able to shine in various aspects of the task. Constantly rotating tasks; and fostering a sense of accountability to each member’s role in the group and then using data to inform your decision for both role assignments and group formation might be the most critical part of facilitating and truly inclusive classroom.
Ideally observers to the truly inclusive classroom should not be able to immediately identify the labeled students, but also should have a difficult time distinguishing the paras from the co-teacher, from the lead educator in the room.
I know this sounds like preaching to a choir. I just needed to see it in writing.