Moving Towards Inclusive Teacher Education

Windyz B. Ferreira

In 1996 I was invited to participate in a 'Special Needs in the Classroom' teacher education workshop, I learned how to use inclusive strategies in order to respond to diversity in learning styles. The workshop used the UNESCO Resource Pack. From that moment on my beliefs about how to teach - at any level - have been regularly shaken and my academic practice has changed dramatically. These new ways are very different from the experience I had myself as a university student.

Before, I used to have a few clear beliefs about how to do teach, such as: learning every student's name at the beginning of the term; that a good lecturer should prepare interesting theoretical lessons, during which students learn mainly by listening; that audiovisual resources help to get students engaged; that it was useful to organise the class in a semi-circle, so everyone was able to communicate better with others; and that students should be invited to participate in the lesson by sharing experiences.

I believed that I was ensuring participation, sharing of experience and expertise and that my practice reflected the best I have learned throughout my own life as a student and teacher. However, the Salamanca Statement and the movement towards inclusive education brought a new dimension to my understanding of working in teacher training in higher education.

Now, I believe that:

Material resources have no value at all if the human resources are overlooked.

Learning by doing

Assessment

As I move on to develop my inclusive practices at the university, I feel shocked by the fact that ten years after Salamanca, the higher education institutions are still resistant to change. The debate about moving towards more inclusive practices remains at the margins of universities and teacher training programmes. I hope to stimulate debate about the role of the higher education institutions in inclusive education, and to provoke university staff to reflect on their academic practices. I end this article with a statement from one of my students that illustrates problems and solutions:

Dr Windyz Ferreira has been teaching at university level for more than 20 years. She is the President of 'Education for All' (Ed-Todos), a Brazilian NGO, and is also a member of EENET's international steering group. She can be contacted at:
Email:
Website: www.edtodos.org.br

Reference:
Title: Moving Towards Inclusive Teacher Education
Author: Ferreira, WB
Publisher: EENET
Date: 2004
Link: http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/eenet_newsletter/news8/page10.php
Published in: Enabling Education 8