Supporting Diversity in the Classroom
A practical guide to integrating students with diverse needs into regular primary and secondary school classrooms.
Tim Loreman is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Concordia University College of Alberta, Canada. Joanne Deppeler is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Melbourne. David Harvey is an independent psychology consultant and retired Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University.
This is the second edition of a profound book. It is an important one for teachers, regardless of the demographic of their students. This edition reminds us to reflect on our own preconceived ideas, to think about our own values and ideologies – something we, as teachers, ought to do regularly. The expectation from the title is that it may offer a quick fix, but that is not the case. The first three chapters set up the scope of the book and at times it is somewhat wordy. However, it is worth persisting as there are gems to be garnered throughout, and because this is a complex world we deal with and “we cannot make the world simpler - rather, we need to understand something about the processes by which it has become more complicated.” (pp241) It is the world our students come from. The core of the book is “…the belief that all children can learn and that it is teachers who believe they can make a difference who do.” (p240) It then goes on to offer teachers the tools to continue, or learn, to make that difference. One doesn’t have to read the whole book in one go; the contents and index pages are user-friendly so it is easy to find the section which covers the immediate problem of a busy teacher.
Although mainly for teachers of students with noticeable disabilities, this book also provides insights into “challenging behaviour” for whatever reason. In chapter 10, the four main reasons for such behaviour – attention seeking, fear of failure, power and revenge – are elaborated. Using case studies, practical methods of dealing with such behaviour are offered. Teachers are not the only ones addressed however. Inclusive Education stresses that inclusive education is a whole school responsibility. The “range of stakeholders (students, teachers, leaders, parents, professionals, business owners, policy-makers and educational administrators), all of whom have different perspectives, needs and expectations of the school” (p112) – all need to have input into in an inclusive model.
This book is well laid out with the chapters containing explanations and case studies for many different situations to facilitate communication. At the end of each chapter the key terms are succinctly defined. There are lists of questions for discussion and reflection – very useful for an informal discussion, formal PD sessions or a “collaboration” (p112) meeting. Each chapter has suggestions for further reading. Not only are authors and books listed, but also useful websites. There are “useful forms” (p255) which can be photocopied or downloaded – action plans, daily planners, therapy plans, long-term goals, achievement records – to name but a few. An impressive bibliography follows. It could take one year's of reading to follow-up this highly recommended book.
Lois Best, Healesville, VIC
The 2nd edition of this text seeks to provide teachers with a sound understanding of current research into teaching children with diverse educational needs. The information is meticulously researched and presented with clear chapters addressing different aspects of teaching an inclusive classroom. This text addresses who children with 'diverse education needs' are, strategies to help develop individualised programs, how to manage the classroom and collaborative student learning, among other areas. The authors provide clear examples and strategies for managing an inclusive classroom program, as well as providing readers with a handy selection of useful forms to use when planning classroom activities. This would be a handy book to keep in a school's teaching resources library, or as a reference for individual teachers looking to improve aspects of their teaching practice.
Stefanie Galvin, Templestowe, VIC
Inclusive Education is an invaluable resource to have. It is practical and very user-friendly. It gives a definition of inclusion and defines the terminology and rhetoric surrounding inclusion. Inclusion is not just about students with disabilities it is about ESL learners, students with different cultural needs, gifted students, and students with developmental delay, but each of these needs is not addressed in specific detail, allowing you the freedom to adapt to your own particular setting. Thus, inclusion is ensuring that every single student in our classrooms, no matter what their learning needs, has access to the curriculum and learns to the best of his or her ability.
Inclusive Education has an extensive bibliography with reference to current research in the field. There are many website addresses listed to provide you with resources for further study so that you can pursue your own particular interests or find support materials for your own specific classroom situation. There are sample forms, suggested activities and unit planners. There are step-by-step instructions that are practical and easy to use in any classroom. This resource can be applied to all levels of learning, be it primary school, secondary school or even university.
Every teacher who is keen to learn more about inclusion, change the way they teach their classes or even help effect change within their school, should have this invaluable and practical resource.
Emma Pollock, Melbourne, VIC
This book is a comprehensive update from the previous edition, allowing the latest research to be displayed in a thoroughly modern manner. Websites enhance featured downloads, such as “Useful Forms,” and sites attached to an evolving bibliographical format. Both the Foreword and the Preface of this edition present arguments as to how teachers in today’s schools need to plan individually, collectively and systematically, to integrate students with such unique needs by using the ever-increasing interlocking of the world’s resources through the computer. The structure of this edition is spread widely, from the preliminary ideas of why inclusion is needed, which students do have diverse learning needs, and how social attitudes for inclusion ebb and flow through history. Each of the further chapters presents different aspects of those inclusive needs such as: assessment, collaboration, developing individual programs, instrumental design, collaborative student learning, management, social and emotional learning, and reflection. Each chapter presents key ideas and later key terms, with several developmental visual boxes shown, often with accompanying case studies, and suggestions for further reading. Twenty pages of 'Useful Forms’ are available including those for planning, permission notices for medication, learning at home, planning group and daily lessons and schedules, behaviour ratings or action plans. These can be photocopied or downloaded online. The twenty-two pages of bibliography, including online websites end this extensive and diverse exposition of possible diversity in the school. This book is suitable for all involved with supporting today’s students.
Mary McDougall, QLD
This is a very practical and user friendly reference text. Inclusive Education is the new buzz in Australian education along with personalised learning and differentiation. This book covers many of these aspects with practical tips, case studies, assessment information, supported by research and example proformas which a teacher can use to support inclusiveness in their classrooms.
The chapters are very easy to read and are not too academically worded or bogged down with research. This book has the technical vocabulary, definitions etc. and explains them in plain English terms and it is quite easy to read!
There are a number of case studies that have relevancy in today’s classroom and teachers are able to draw parallels with various situations of what is happening with pupils and how they can best support them in an inclusive environment. One of the most useful parts that I found with this book was with the example proformas of how to plan and record inclusive curriculum. For a teacher this is very practical and you can see how these proformas can be used in classroom situations. At the back there are blank copies which a teacher can use as is or it could be adapted to suit individual needs. These provide an excellent starting point to incorporate inclusiveness into your teaching. I can highly recommend this book as an excellent teacher resource.
Alison Hay, Yarra Hills Secondary College, VIC