The overall approach of the modules is to promote active learning, critical thinking and encourage a culture of action research.
Eleven modules have been fully developed and trialled so far in Zambia and Zanzibar:
- Introduction to inclusive education;
- School inclusion teams;
- Identifying out-of-school children;
- Screening and identification of learning needs;
- Creating individual education plans;
- Exploring the role of a school inclusive education co-ordinator;
- Promoting active learning in the classroom;
- Developing learner participation;
- Including learners in transition;
- Including learners who have intellectual and/or development impairments;
- Making teaching and learning aids from locally available resources.
In addition, a guidance booklet containing practical ways to support learners with specific impairments accompanies the modules. This booklet was originally prepared by EENET for Leonard Cheshire. It is used to provide trainers with timely advice and ideas when needed, rather than being a resource that teachers are expected to digest and remember in full.
Many teachers have a zero or even a negative starting point regarding experience or attitudes towards inclusion, so the introductory module helps to get them onto or just over the starting line. We do not expect this first module to produce a cadre of teachers who know enough or feel confident enough to start radically changing their practices.
Fear of embarking on new ways of working is a big challenge for teachers. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to share the frightening experience, which is why Module 2 is about school inclusion teams so that early in the training process teachers understand the importance of collaboration. In Module 3 teachers learn about out-of-school children and how to identify them and where they live. This important stepping-stone module helps teachers to dig more deeply into the idea of barriers to inclusion. There is also a strong focus on action research in this module, encouraging teachers to become actively involved in investigating their school community and trying out solutions to problems.
By Module 4 teachers should have some fairly strong foundations and feel more confident to tackle more challenging identification and assessment of learning needs, but the module still does not expect teachers to become medical and disability experts. We believe that being a good teacher is challenging enough, so while we want all teachers to be disability-aware and disability-inclusive and to collaborate with other professionals, it is unreasonable to expect them to take on the role of medical and rehabilitation professional.
From this point onwards the module topics become more specific. Disability-related information and activities are woven throughout the training (and a guidance booklet on supporting learners with specific impairments is also part of the trainers’ package), although modules on specific impairments do not emerge until later in the programme. We firmly believe, based on our own experience and evaluating numerous other projects, that training programmes which start by expecting teachers to learn and act on very specific disability content are less effective than those that build foundations of core inclusion skills and confidence and then move on to disability-specific content and expectations.
Inclusive education training programmes that rush to address complex and very specific disability content often confuse teachers in their haste, and ultimately make less progress. Such programmes may also give the impression that inclusive education only refers to the inclusion of learners with disabilities. This does not help teachers to understand the foundational and holistic changes needed to ensure inclusion of every learner, from any group or background.
Module 1: Introduction to inclusive education
This module provides an overview of inclusive education concepts.
Module 2: School inclusion teams
This module helps teachers to develop a multi-stakeholder inclusion team for their school.
Module 3: Identifying out-of-school children
This module explores reasons why children are out of school and how to identify them in the community.
Module 4: Screening and identification of learning needs
This module focuses on helping teachers identify individual learners’ needs.
Module 5: Creating individual education plans
This module looks at why, how and when to use IEPs.
Module 6: Exploring the role of a school inclusive education co-ordinator
This module looks at the ways in which a school-based IECo can support individual learners’ needs and whole-school improvements.
Module 7: Promoting active learning in the classroom
This module provides ideas for inclusive, learner-centred teaching and learning.
Module 8: Developing learner participation
This module introduces methods for further developing learner participation, including through developing peer support and involving learners making decisions that affect them.
Module 9: Including learners in transition
This module looks at how to promote the achievement of learners who are in transition.
Module 10: Including learners who have intellectual and/or development impairments
This modules introduces and explores practical ideas for meeting learners’ needs in the classroom.
Module 11: Making teaching and learning aids from locally available resources
This module encourages innovation and creativity with finding, making and using materials.
This project is a collaboration between NAD and EENET.