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Ministry of Human Resource Development

Government of India
World Bank Group: Education Global Practice
Toolkit for Master Trainers in
Preparing Teachers for Inclusive
Education for Children
with Special Needs

Module 1: Inclusive

Master Trainers Material

Ministry of Human Resource Development

Government of India

This material has been funded by UK aid from UK Governments Department for International Development, however the views
expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Governments official policies.
Cover and inside illustrations in this series of training modules by Navleen Kohli

Design and Print: Macro Graphics Pvt. Ltd.

Table of

Foreword vii
Acknowledgments ix
Executive Summary 1
Overview 3

Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education 5

1. Understanding Classroom Realities and Existing Diversities 6
1.1 Political Context 6
1.2 Diversity in the Classroom 7
2. Conceptual Understanding of IE from Multiple Perspectives 10
3. Barriers and Facilitators to Achieve Inclusion 14
3.1 Types of Barriers to Inclusion 14

Unit Ii: Understanding Children with Special Needs 19

1. Who are the Children with Special Needs? 19
2. Misconceptions about CWSN 23
3. Using Appropriate Language when Talking and Writing about Disabilities 25
4. Understanding the Childs Needs and Ways of Providing Support 27
4.1 Understanding Individual Needs of Children with Disabilities and
Finding Ways to Assist Them 30

Unit Iii: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs 31
1. Significance of an Inclusive Learning Environment 31
1.1 Components of an Inclusive Learning Environment 32
1.2 Steps for Creating an Inclusive Environment 33
2. Understanding Different Learning Styles and Approaches in Developing
Inclusive Pedagogy 38
2.1 Diverse Learning Styles in Classrooms 38
2.2 Learning Style Inventory 40
2.3 Implications of Teaching Style 42
2.4 Reaching All Learning Styles 43

Table of contents | iii

Making Inclusion Work

3. Developing a Teaching Plan for an Inclusive Classroom 44

3.1 Lesson Design Planning for Inclusion 45
3.2 Guidelines and Strategies for Differentiated Learning 46
3.3 Universal Design for Learning 46
3.4 Principles that Underpin Inclusive Teaching and Learning 48
3.5 Classroom Organisation 51
4. Early Literacy, Numeracy and Language 53
4.1 Importance of Developing Language, Literacy and Numeracy Skills
for Children with Disabilities 53
4.2 Challenges Faced by Children in Acquiring Language, Literacy and Numeracy 54
4.3 Early Literacy 55
4.4 Early Numeracy 56
4.5 Reading 58
5. Use of Assistive Devices, ICT and Other Resource Support to Meet the
Specific Needs of CWSN 60
6. Understanding Behaviour Management 63
6.1 Process for Promoting Positive Behaviour 63

Unit Iv: Collaboration, Convergence and Teamwork 69

1. What is Collaboration? 70
2. Collaboration for Inclusion 70
3. Characteristics of Effective Teacher Collaboration 72
4. Strategies for Collaboration 74

Annexures 75
Annexure 1: National and International Policies, Acts and Conventions for Education 75
Annexure 2: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 78
Annexure 3: Learning Style Inventory 79
Annexure 4: Sample Teaching Plans 81
Annexure 5: What is Universal Design? 88
Annexure 6: Pre-reading and Pre-writing Skills 90
Annexure 7: A Framework for Adapting the Curriculum 93
Annexure 8:Behaviour Observation and Data Collection Chart for Determining
the Function of Behaviours 94

References 95

Online Resources 97

iv | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009) mandates free
and compulsory elementary education to all children in the age group of 6-14 years. Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is the key vehicle for implementation of RTE Act. One of the important
components of SSA is Inclusive Education of Children with Special Needs (CWSN). The thrust
of SSA is on providing quality inclusive education to all children with special needs. However,
inclusion implies equal opportunities and full participation of All children with special needs
in school activities. For this, the environment has to be disabled-friendly and barrier free
(77.37 percent of schools under SSA are now barrier-free). Necessary support services are
needed; over 20 thousand resource persons have been appointed and close to 800 non-
governmental organizations are involved in this area. More and more children are being
provided with much needed assistive devices and technologies, large print and Braille books
to facilitate their inclusion in regular classrooms. Over 2.3 million children with special needs
are now enrolled in schools in SSA.

The critical link to making inclusion of CWSN happen in schools and classrooms is the
teacher. Hence, capacities of the teachers need to be built up on those pedagogical practices
that would address the needs of all children with special needs, especially those with high
level support needs in a mainstream classroom. One of SSAs goals is to ensure that there are
enough trained teachers to respond to and address the challenge of inclusion.

This series of five training modules on Making Inclusion work is a tremendous contribution
to SSAs ongoing efforts to prepare teachers to work with children of all abilities. Geared
towards master trainers, the modules provide practical information on effective inclusion of
CWSN, especially of children with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, deafblindness and
hearing impairment in mainstream inclusive environments. They aim to build awareness of the
challenges faced by children with these disabilities and share tested approaches in addressing
these challenges. The modules are full of practical advice on how to create a classroom culture
based on the principles of diversity, belonging and respect for individual differences.

I am very pleased to dedicate this to the teachers of the country who have an immense
role in making school a welcoming place for all children, including these with special needs.

(Prakash JavAdekar)

In 2000, the Government of India embarked on a massive endeavor to universalize elementary

education. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyanthe Governments Education for All programmehas
supported efforts to ensure that all children ages 6-14 have access to free and compulsory
education throughout the countryin villages, towns, cities and mega cities. All children
regardless of social economic background, gender, and abilities have the fundamental right to
schooling. SSA has a zero exclusion policy. The scale of the challenge was immense; in 2001
there were 205 million children of elementary schooling age.

Fifteen years down the road, and in close partnership with State governments and communities
across India much has been achieved. Access to schools has been nearly universalised and
almost 98 percent of habitations have access to a school within a kilometre. SSA today covers
more than 1.5 million schools and 4.5 million teachers have been added. One of the strongest
pillars of the SSA programme continues to be the focus on equity, and progress has been
significant. An equal number of girls and boys now attend school. The proportion of children
from schedule castes and scheduled tribes enrolled in elementary schools now mirrors the SC
and ST proportion in the general population. At this juncture it is critically important to work
together to secure these tremendous gains for future generations, while continuing to make
more progress on access, equity and quality of education.

Since the adoption of the RTE in 2009, SSA has been increasingly focused on ensuring access
to quality education for children with special needs (CWSN). Despite concerted efforts and
progress, far more needs to be done to ensure that children with disabilities are effectively
included in the education system. Data also indicate that identification processes need to be
strengthened as only 1.22 percent of all children have been identified as CWSN.

SSA supports a multi-pronged strategy for the inclusion of CWSN. Some children are enrolled
in Special Schools, others with severe disabilities are home schooled, and yet others go through
a school readiness programme to prepare them for transition into a mainstream classroom
the ultimate goal of SSA. However, preparing children to fully participate in an inclusive
education environment is only one part of the challenge. The schools physical environment
has to be disabled-friendly and barrier-free (82 percent of schools in India are now barrier-
free). Necessary support services are needed; over 20 thousand resource persons have been
appointed and close to 800 non-governmental organization are involved in this area. More and
more children are provided with much needed assistive devices, large print and braille books

Foreword | vii
Making Inclusion Work

and other technologies that allow children with special needs to be fully included in regular
classrooms across India.

The critical link to making inclusion of CWSN truly a reality in schools across India is the
teacher. One of SSAs goals in 2015 was to ensure that there are enough teachers to respond
to the challenge of inclusion and that they have training, teaching-learning materials and
academic support structure at the cluster, block and district levels.

This series of five training modules on Making Inclusion Work is a tremendous contribution
to SSAs ongoing efforts to prepare teachers to work with children of all abilities. Geared
toward master trainers, the modules provide practical information on effectively including
CWSN, especially children with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, deaf blindness and
hearing impairment, in mainstream inclusive environments. They aim to build awareness of
the challenges faced by students with these disabilities and more important, share tested
approachestips and advice from experts in the fieldto addressing these challenges. The
modules are full of practical advice on how to create classrooms where all children participate
and are given opportunities to thrive and learn from each other.

I am very pleased to dedicate this to the teachers of the country who can make schools a
welcome place of joy and learning for children with special needs.

viii | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs

The World Bank is pleased to support Government of India efforts to include children with
disabilities into regular classrooms. As part of broader, long-standing support to Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan (SSA), the World Bank helped produce the Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing
Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs: Making Inclusion Work.
The series of teacher training resource material comprises five modules addressing the
inclusion of children with disabilities, particularly focusing on children with autism, cerebral
palsy, deaf-blindness, and hearing impairment. The work was possible with funding from the
United Kingdoms Department for International Development.

The toolkit was developed though a highly collaborative process, drawing on the extensive
knowledge of domestic and international experts in pedagogy. A Writers Workshop in December
2014 brought together 13 experts from various institutes, including EdCil, Rehabilitation
Council of India, National Council of Educational Research and Training, as well as Non-
Governmental Organizations (NGO) to conceptualize and prepare early drafts of the resource
material. We would like to acknowledge the immense contributions of all the participants:
Prof. Sudesh Mukhopadhyay, Prof. Anupam Ahuja, Ruma Banerjee, Merry Barua, Bharti
Baweja, Anupriya Chaddha, Dr. Indu Chaswal, Dr. Varsha Gathoo, Prof. Judith Hollenweger
Haskell, Uttam Kumar, Bhushan Punani, Dr. Vandana Saxena, Anamika Singh, and Vinay
Singh. Despite busy schedules, they all found time to contribute to this important initiative.

The work also benefited from the sharing of knowledge from international experience. We
would like to thank Amada Watkins of the European Agency for the Development of Special
Needs and Inclusive Education, Filomena Pereira, Ministry of Education, Portugal, Aleksandra
Posorac, Country Sector Coordinator, World Bank Philippines, Michael Rosanoff, Autism
Speaks, and Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Disability Advisor to the World Bank Group.

The modules would not have been possible without the technical leadership of Dr. Renu Singh,
who was instrumental in making this collaborative process a success. Dr. Singh worked closely
with experts to develop, write and edit all five modules. We would also like to acknowledge the
contributions of Ms. Navleen Kohli, who with her colourful illustrations helped enhance each
module. Ms. Mamata Baruah also provided excellent support to help organize workshops.

The purpose of these modules is to support building a core group of resource persons in
each state of India, equipped with strong facilitation skills in conducting trainings as well as

Acknowledgments | ix
Making Inclusion Work

knowledge and skills in building inclusive learning environments and addressing social
exclusion. We hope these modules will support classrooms to adopt a universal design of
learning in which all children, including children with special needs are provided relevant and
appropriate pedagogical adaptations and strategies to enhance learning.

Finally, we wish to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Government of the
United Kingdom through the Department for International Development.

Director: Amit Dar

Practice Manager: Keiko Miwa
Task Team Leaders: Dorota A. Nowak and Shabnam Sinha

x | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs

The past decade has seen consistent movement towards adopting an Inclusive Education (IE)
approach, and moving away from the segregation of children with disabilities in schools across
India. This movement has been propelled forward by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a
national programme that aims to universalize elementary education as prescribed by the Right
of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009), and Amendments (2012). Also
referred to as the Right to Education (RTE) Act, it makes education a fundamental right for
all children. India has also ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

As of 2013-14, over 21 lakh learners with disabilities have been enrolled in SSA schools.1
This wide-scale inclusion has challenged general teachers to change their perceptions of
children with disabilities, their expectations, and their roles in an inclusive classroom, as they
learn to teach an increasingly diverse student population. The success of inclusive learning
environments largely depends on schoolteachers, who are instrumental players in creating
inclusive classrooms and schools.

An inclusive classroom is one in which all students, regardless of ability, are welcomed, and
differing learning needs are addressed in a meaningful and responsive learning environment.
Beyond enrolment ensuring full participation of children with disabilities requires a paradigm
shift in teachers beliefs and attitudes towards students with disabilities. Many teachers report
being under-skilled to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse classroom, especially with
respect to children with disabilities.

This training package on Making Inclusion Work is aimed towards capacity building of
master trainers, who will in turn train general school teachers to provide an inclusive learning
environment for Children With Special Needs (CWSN)2. The wide range of disabilities presents
a challenge; in particular teachers often lack the skills to effectively teach children with
developmental disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy. Similarly, teachers often struggle
with teaching children, who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind. The modules in this

1 District Information System for Education (DISE), 2014.

2 While the authors of the modules would emphasise that children with disabilities must not be categorised as different and
need to be considered children first, this module utilises the term Children With Special Needs (CWSN) since it is the term
that continues to be used by policy documents in India.

Executive Summary | 1
Making Inclusion Work

Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with
Special Needs: Making Inclusion Work provide specific teaching strategies that can support
children with varied learning needs.

This Making Inclusion Work training package comprises five modules, which aim to foster
teacher preparedness towards establishing more effective and inclusive schooling for children
with special needs. These are:

Module 1: Inclusive Education

Module 2: Including Children with Autism

Module 3: Including Children with Cerebral Palsy

Module 4: Including Children with Deafblindness

Module 5: Including Children with Hearing Impairment

It is expected that this material will be used in many different ways to make it suitable inand
adaptable todifferent contexts. One of the key messages is flexibility! Use the material in
whatever ways seem sensible to you and your colleagues and adapt it to suit your specific
needs in terms of time allocation, and local case studies.

This first module aims to prepare the ground for inclusive education with a focus on developing
an understanding of the concept of inclusion within the Indian context policy framework,
building teacher self-efficacy beliefs, and supporting teachers to recognise instructional
strategies that support the inclusion of children with disabilities.

The teachers attitude and skills play the most significant role in creating an inclusive and
enabling environment for all children. The principle of inclusive practice is based on good
teaching and sensitive teachers, who aim to ensure that all barriers to learning and participation
in all activities of the school are addressed and removed. It is important to note that every
child with special needs is a distinct individual with diverse learning styles and should not
be homogenised into disability categories. Each child with autism or cerebral palsy will be
different with unique strengths and needs, further influenced by a large range of factors
including socio-economic background, gender and caste. The teacher has to be sensitive in
recognising these needs and be equipped to provide each child an engaging, meaningful and
joyful learning environment.

2 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs

Target Group: Master Trainersfrom District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), State
Councils on Education Research and Training (SCERT) and non-Governmental Organizations
(NGOs)who in turn will impart training in a cascade model to regular teachers to enhance
their capacities towards adopting inclusive teaching strategies for all children with disabilities,
focusing on children with autism, cerebral palsy, deafness and blindness and hearing

For teachers to appreciate the concept of Inclusive Education (IE)
To understand individual characteristics of CWSN and assessing their specific learning
To develop skills to create inclusive learning environments for effective participation and
learning of CWSN
To collaborate with other stakeholders and resource support systems for ensuring effective
inclusion and learning.

Table 1: Overview of Module 1


Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education (IE)

1. Understanding Classroom Case study, brainstorming, Awareness about national

Realities and Existing group work, discussions, commitments, policies and
Diversities reflections and presentations schemes related to education
2. Conceptual Understanding of children with disabilities
of IE from Multiple Appreciation of the concept
Perspectives of IE
3. Barriers and Facilitators to Sensitivity to the difficulties
Achieve Inclusion faced by children with

Overview | 3
Making Inclusion Work


Unit II: Understanding Children with Special Needs (CWSN)

1. Who are the Children with Brainstorming, discussions and Become familiar with
Special Needs? sharing information through different models of disability.
2. Misconceptions about presentation Become familiar with the
CWSN Role play politically correct way to
3. Using Appropriate address CWSN
Language when Talking Understand children with
and Writing about disabilities through assessing
Disabilities their individual needs
4. Understanding the Childs Learn strategies of
Needs and Ways of addressing needs of CWSN
Providing Support

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for (CWSN)

1. Significance of an Inclusive Group discussion, Understand the practical

Learning Environment presentation, brainstorming, aspect of developing
2. Understanding Different reflection on narratives, inclusive practices (learning
Learning Styles and self-learning materials, styles, inclusive pedagogy,
Approaches in Developing teaching/model lesson plans, planning for inclusion)
Inclusive Pedagogy demonstrations Understand the use of
3. Developing a Teaching Practice teaching assistive devices to address
Plan for an Inclusive needs of CWSN
Classroom Understand behaviour
4. Early Literacy, Numeracy management technique and
and Language use of assistive technology
in overcoming barriers to
5. Use of Assistive Devices, learning
ICT and Other Resource
Support to Meet the
Specific Needs of CWSN
6. Understanding Behaviour

Unit IV: Collaboration, Convergence and Teamwork

1. What is collaboration? Brainstorming, group work and Recognise the importance

2. Importance of presentation of collaborations in effective
collaboration for inclusion Self-learning Materials implementation of inclusive
3. Characteristics of effective
teacher collaboration Discuss the role of various
stakeholders in planning
4. Strategies for Collaboration and organising inclusive
classroom practices
Describe the process of
building partnerships with
other participants

4 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Unit I:

Table 2: Overview of Unit 1


Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education (IE)

1. Understanding Classroom Case study, brainstorming, Awareness about national

Realities and Existing group work, discussions, commitments, policies and
Diversities reflections and presentations schemes related to education of
2. Conceptual Understanding children with disabilities
of IE from Multiple Appreciation of the concept
Perspectives of IE
3. Barriers and Facilitators to Sensitivity to the difficulties
Achieve Inclusion faced by children with

Education contributes to an individuals journey toward self-reliance and independence. Hence,

education systems must be designed and organised to meet the varying needs of individual
learners, and provide an appropriate education and fulfil the fundamental right to education
of each child.

The Government of India is committed to provide Education for All (EFA), and has launched
innovative legislation and policies in the past three decades to attain the goal of universalisation
of elementary education. It is clear that EFA cannot be achieved unless all children, including
the large population of children with special needs, are provided educational services. Children
with disabilities often experience multiple disadvantage: in part due to their impairment
as well as membership in other disadvantaged social groups, such as gender, caste, tribe
and socioeconomic status. Children with special needs not only need access to schooling,
but more critically require responsive schools that cater to the specific learning needs of
each child.

Until very recently, children with special needs were perceived as different, and unable to
be part of mainstream schools. They were often isolated from their peers and kept at home
or accommodated in special schools, located in cities across India. Today, the term inclusion
is increasingly used in the field of education, reflecting changing ideologies and perceptions,

Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education | 5

Making Inclusion Work

and providing a basis for generating action towards developing quality schools. In this module,
Inclusive Education (IE) means that all students in a school are full members of a school
community and each student participates equally in the opportunities and responsibilities of
the general education environment. There is growing recognition that as classrooms become
more diverse, teachers have to teach in a way that ensures that all children, including those
with disabilities, are learning. IE is a child-focused approach that acknowledges that all children
are individuals with different learning needs and speeds. With IE, teaching and learning can
become more effective, relevant and meaningful for all.

While inclusion is a very attractive philosophy, and widely accepted, its implementations
differs substantially from school to school and from teacher to teacher. Even though there
is no such thing as a one plan fits all, there are teaching strategies that meet the unique
educational, social and instructional needs of students with special needs within general
education classes. These strategies are necessary so that the ideological and often value-laden
concept of inclusion can be translated into effective classroom practice.

1. Understanding Classroom Realities and

Existing Diversities
1.1 Political Context

India has ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),
which recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to education without discrimination
and on the basis of equal opportunity.3 Additionally, the CRPD requires ensuring that
accommodations be made and support be provided to facilitate effective education
consistent with the goal of full inclusion.4 It is now widely recognised that placement within
a mainstream setting is important, but this is only a starting point for bringing about inclusive
education.5 (See Annexure 2).

There are various constitutional provisions in India that have promoted mainstreaming of
children with special needs into regular schools. Article 21A of the Constitution guarantees
education as a fundamental right to all children in the 6-14 age group, while Section 26 of the
Persons with Disabilities Act, (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation)
Act(1995) articulates that free and compulsory education has to be provided to all children
with disabilities up to the minimum age of 18 years. The Government of Indias 12th Five-Year
Plan considered exclusion the single most important challenge in universalising elementary
education. The Draft Persons with Disabilities Bill (2012) enshrines a strong commitment to
inclusive education. Government policies and schemes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act(2009), have changed the
education landscape significantly, resulting in a significant decrease in the number of out-of-
school children in the last decade. This has also led to an increasing number of children with
disability entering government and private schools.

SSAs goal is to provide eight years of elementary schooling for all children, including those
with special needs, in the 6-14 age group. Children with disabilities in the 15-18 age group
are provided free education under two national schemes: Integrated Education for Disabled

3 CRPD, Article 24.

4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.

6 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Children (IEDC) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhijan (RMSA). The 2001 census reports
that fifty-one percent of persons with disabilities are illiterate, suggesting that India has to
continue its efforts to provide Education for All (EFA). It is therefore essential that children
with disabilities are effectively mainstreamed into regular schools where teachers have been
trained in inclusive education.

1.2 Diversity in the Classroom

Today classrooms are no longer homogenous and diversity is clearly emerging as the norm.
Children from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, besides children with
disabilities, are now in regular schools. A typical classroom of an Indian school, will have
children from diverse cultures, different socioeconomic backgrounds, and different abilities,
including those with a variety of disabilities. Thus, diversity in the classroom must be
recognised, accepted and addressed as a reality, in order to realise the goal of EFA. Teachers
are key to realising the potential of each child in their classroom.

Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education | 7

Making Inclusion Work

Appreciating diversity
Objective: To reflect on the issues of diversity
1. Distribute sheets of paper and pens to all teachers
2. Ask them to write their responses to the two questions below individually on the sheet of
paper about one person who is very close to them, e.g. sister, friend, father, etc.
zz What do you have in common with special person in your life?
zz Are there any differences between you?
3. Allow the teachers five minutes to write their responses and then ask them to share their
reflections in the larger group. The facilitator should simultaneously note teachers reflections
on a flipchart or blackboard.
4. Arrange the responses in the following categories:
zz Male/Female
zz Upper class/upper middle/middle middle/lower middle
zz Personality
zz Aptitude
zz Attitude
zz Religion
zz Physical
zz Culture
zz Ability
zz Rural/urban
5. Tell the teachers about the purpose of the activity i.e. to make them realise the existing
diversity among people. Ask the he participants if there are any characteristics missing? If no
one comes up with disability introduce it.
6. Relate this activity to a classroom situation where all children are not the same. Recognizing
and appreciating diversity within the student population is a key ingredient to creating an
inclusive learning environment.


Analysing personal beliefs, values and behaviour

Materials: Join two large chart papers, four strips of paper with the words: Results, Behaviour,
Values, Beliefs; tape, coloured pens.

8 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Figure 1: Tree Diagram

1. Show the tree diagram (without the labels) on the wall. Ask: What is the role of each part of
the tree?
2. Have a volunteer attach each of the four labels (Impact on Students, Behaviour, Values,
Beliefs) to the part of the tree they think best corresponds (roots, trunk, branches, leaves).
Invite the group to make corrections.
3. Point to the tree diagram on the wall and ask the group to explain how they labelled the
different parts of the tree.
4. Explain: Our beliefs (or what we believe in) are at the base of who we are. Our beliefs shape
our values. Our values (what is important to us) lead to behaviours or actions and behaviours
lead to results (fruit).

Change occurs on four levels:
1. changing the results/impact on students (fruit);
2. changing practice/behaviour (branches);
3. changing attitudes/values (trunk); and,
4. changing mindsets/beliefs (roots).

The activity is about accepting existing human diversity and individual differences as reality and
diverse abilities as one of the dimensions of human diversity! The concept of diversity encompasses
acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising
our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual
orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other
ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It
is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating
the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual. The pedagogic treatment should
be according to the individuals needs, their personal learning styles and the environmental
consequences they are facing. It gives the scope to think about new practices such as inclusion,
integration, etc., as well as to face the challenges and make use of opportunities to be responsive to
the individual needs of the diverse learners.

Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education | 9

Making Inclusion Work

2. Conceptual Understanding of IE from

Multiple Perspectives
Inclusion has its perspectives both from the sociological as well as from the rights-based
approach due to the changing scenario of society and the societal and national perceptions
of including all. UNESCO (2008) recast inclusive education to include a social justice

Inclusive education is an ongoing process aimed at offering quality education for all,
while respecting diversity and the different needs and abilities, characteristics and learning
expectations of the students and communities, eliminating all forms of discrimination.

In India, the social justice approach to inclusion received impetus from the Education
Commission Report (1964-66), which recommended placement of the disabled child, as
far as possible, in ordinary schools. This was followed by the 1986-90 National Policy on
Education and Programme of Action (POA) and two flagship initiatives: District Primary
Education Programme (DPEP) and SSA, both with the objective of inclusion and developing
quality education for all. India ratified the CRPD, which provides legal obligations to
ensuring inclusive education for all children with disabilities and later passed the historic
RTE Act, which provided a justiciable legal framework, entitling all children between the
ages of 6-14 to free education. RTE also lists children with disabilities (special needs) under
disadvantaged groups, and details the necessary provisions and entitlements to meet their
specific needs.

Development of IE: Inclusive education gathered momentum with various conventions and
policies at international and national levels, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child (1989) and the UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons
with Disabilities (1993). An important contribution to the development of inclusive education
was UNESCO Salamanca Statement (1994), which called for the improvement of the general
education system to enable it to include all children regardless of individual difference and

Principles of Inclusion: The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special
Needs Education (1994) articulated the underlying principles on which IE is based:

Every child has a fundamental right to education;

Every child has unique characteristics, interests, abilities and learning needs;

Education systems need to accommodate this diversity in the student population;

Those with special education needs must have access to regular schools which
should accommodate them within a child centred pedagogy capable of meeting these
needs; and,

Regular schools with an inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating
discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society
and achieving education for all.

10 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Change in Perspective

Figure 2: Models of Exclusion, Integration and Inclusion

Exclusion Integration Inclusion

Special schools have become obsolete in some developed countries, because they further
isolated children with disabilities from regular schools, spawned a costly and inefficient parallel
system of education that segregated children. Special schools were often located in cities and
became warehouses for children with disabilities. This is the model of exclusion. There is an
ongoing global movement to eliminate special schools, which segregate children with special
needs, and promote exclusion. Increasingly, the integration model is being practised across
the globe. Today, children are enrolled in regular schools, and receive special educational
services through special educators. Although not as exclusionary as special schools, the
integrated schools still label children with special needs as different from other pupils. And
finally, under the inclusion model, children with disabilities are a part of the classrooms
diversity, and the teacher has skills to accommodate and adapt teaching to meet each childs
individual needs.

While both integration and inclusion models aim to place students in less segregated
settings, there are fundamental differences between the two as demonstrated in the
Table 1 below.

Table 3: Distinction between Integration and Inclusion

Integration Inclusion

Integration aims towards getting learners to Inclusion is about recognizing and respecting
fit into a particular system differences in all learners and make provision for
building positive relationships

Integration focuses on learners are Inclusion is about supporting all learners, educators
provided external supports to cope and be and school administration to meet the full range of
integrated into a normal classroom diversity in schools

Integration focuses on changes that need Inclusion focuses on overcoming barriers that exist
to happen at the level of students with within schools- the focus is on adapting curriculum,
disabilities so that they can adjust to the teaching instruction and infrastructure to meet the
regular classroom full range of learning needs
Source: Singh, 2007

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Making Inclusion Work

Rationale for IE

The landmark RTE Act has made elementary education the fundamental right of all children.
The SSA Framework for Implementation (Ministry of Human Resources Development, 2011)
has emphasised not only providing physical, but also quality and social access. To meet
RTEs mandate of providing quality education to all children, schools need to recognise and
take under consideration the diverse needs of all children and the barriers faced by some;
adapt to different learning styles and provide quality education through the appropriate use
of resources, entitlements, school organisation, and plans. Schools also need to build strong
partnerships with the broader community. This requires schools and teachers in particular to
ensure that all students, including children with special needs, have the right to be valued
and actively participate within the learning environment that delivers a quality education best
suited to their unique competencies, skills and attributes. Multiple approaches for learners to
facilitate inclusion and an inclusive learning environment have to be developed.

The global movement for the universalisation of primary education is based on the need
to develop an equitable and inclusive society which values all and provides space for the
development of all people in the society. It is also perceived to have a larger impact on the
society to make it an inclusive one.

There are three main justifications for inclusive education:

Human Rights: As a matter of fundamental human rights, children with disabilities
should not be excluded from mainstream schools and peers, and segregated on the
grounds of their disability. The CRPD, Salamanca Statement and the UN CRC give clear
international legal authority to the issue of inclusion as a human right.
Educational: Education is considered a fundamental right in many countries. Those who
have ratified the CRPD accept it as an obligation and are beginning to provide equitable
education in mainstream schools where all children can learn together: boys, girls, children
from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and children with disabilities.
This means developing an inclusive learning environment, which ensures learning for all.
Social Justice: Inclusive schools enable development of attitudes and values to
differences and diversity by educating all children. It is the basis for developing a
tolerant and just society.

Mainstreaming children with disabilities into regular schools is also a more cost effective
approach. Children with disabilities are scattered across any given community, meaning that
it is more viable and cost effective for them to attend a local general school, instead of
establishing separate schools. This is especially important for children living in rural and
remote areas. With supportive measures in place, children with disabilities can learn in a
general school.

Key Principles of Inclusive Education

IE is based on the belief that the right to education is a basic human right for all children and the
foundation for just society.
IE is good teaching
IE is a strategy to implement and fulfil the obligation of RTE
Providing equal opportunities to all children, which does not mean similar things for all children. It is
based on the concept of providing equitable learning opportunities, keeping in mind the differences
and difficulties of the child besides their diverse background and their needs.

12 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Teaching children from diverse backgrounds requires a tremendous amount of flexibility in teaching
practices and processes as well as in curriculum design and learning materials.
Ensuring equitable learning opportunities by making the education system accessible and responsive
to all children, including disadvantaged children, i.e. Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST),
minority, children with disabilities, girls, urban deprived, and also ensuring their entitlements to
achieve optimal learning outcomes.
IE is a process of addressing and responding to diverse needs of learners by reducing exclusion
within schools.
IE is an entry point to improve the quality of the education system in terms of culture, policy and
practices (pedagogy, classroom management, teaching learning materials [TLMs] and the learning
Inclusive teachers are good teachers who are flexible in their approach and believe that the source
of difficulties in learning is largely environmental and can be addressed.

IE can be successful when:

zz IE principles and practices are considered as integral to reform and not as an add-on
zz Diversity and individual differences as well as similarities are recognised and valued, not
tolerated or accepted

Diversity should be welcomed and seen as a strength, not a weakness. (UNESCO, 2013)

When diversity is welcomed, teachers and learners are supported to value such diversity rather
than fearing it. This helps develop inclusive social skills, such as empathy and cooperation,
and reinforces the idea that all learners bring richness and value to schools, classrooms and
teacher education institutions. An inclusive approach to education creates opportunities for
teachers to tap into and develop the particular strengths and experiences their learners bring
into education settings, in order to complement learning and promote social justice. There is
sufficient evidence that proves that addressing needs of children with disability by adopting
inclusive teaching learning strategies supports learning for all.

Interpreting Policies Related to IE
1. Divide the teachers into groups of four to five.
2. Give them the self- learning material on different conventions and acts to read (Annexure)
3. International and National Policies, Acts and the CRPD and CRC:
zz Discuss the following: What are the social justice issues highlighted?
zz What rights do children with disabilities have?
zz Do they have same rights as other children?
zz What implications do these have on your role as a teacher?

Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education | 13

Making Inclusion Work

3. Barriers and Facilitators to Achieve

Inclusion is based on the principle that every individual is able to fully participate in and
contribute to his/her community, which is the foundation for an inclusive society. An inclusive
society is one that facilitates the inclusion of ALL, including the most marginalised groups.
In todays society, effective inclusion is also based on the education of the individual.
Inclusion is not merely about putting all children into one school regardless of whether
any learning takes place. It is also about including all marginalised groups in the learning
process (including those marginalized based socioeconomic status, cultural background,
disabilities, and gender). Children with disabilities are especially vulnerable as they often
face a double handicap: one due to the disability and the other due to, for example, their
gender, socioeconomic status, and /or cultural background. This double handicap makes the
problem more complex. Deep-rooted societal prejudices may prevent children with multiple
disadvantage from fully participating in society and this starts with learning and progressing
to decision making.

Barriers to inclusion may exist at several levels and must also be addressed at several
levels. For example, when schools do not provide a rewarding, quality education to meet the
needs of a child and his/her family, the child may drop out of school. A child with multiple
disadvantagefor example, a young girl from a scheduled tribemay have teachers who do
not wish to deal with her. Physical barriers may further cause difficulty in accessing schools. A
wheelchair user may not be able to access a school on the top of a hill, cross a river or move
on difficult terrain. Last but not least, the most difficult barrier may be the prevailing attitude
within educational institutions, which could lead to discrimination and a toxic environment for
the child with special needs.

3.1 Types of Barriers to Inclusion

Children with special needs may face many interrelated challenges that further reduce their
chance of attending school or participating in the teaching-learning process. Hence, it is
important to understand all possible barriers to inclusion.

Barriers to inclusion can be divided into three broad categories: attitudinal, structural and
systemic or educational.
1. Attitudinal barriers: UNICEFs recent report on the State of the Worlds Children (2013)
identified attitudes as a major barrier to inclusion. Within schools, teachers negative
attitudes, which primarily emanate from ignorance and a lack of knowledge, have
a tremendous negative impact on the climate within the class and school. There are
widespread assumptions about notions of normality and many myths exist that are never
questioned or critiqued. For example:
Many teachers assume that children with disabilities lack academic ability. They believe
that the childs impairment is the problem and problems need to be fixed. And if they
cannot be fixed, then they have to be managed. Thus, the child with special needs is
given no attention or priority when teachers plan classroom transactions.
Teachers working with children with disabilities from poor economic backgrounds fault
their parents for the childrens poor learning outcomes. Though teachers realise that
many of them are first generation learners and may not have a home environment
conducive to learning, they are not quick to address the childs specific needs.

14 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Many teachers believe that children with disabilities cannot cope with the regular
curriculum in mainstream classrooms as they need special and segregated set-ups.
They also believe that other children may not be comfortable being with children who
look and behave differently. They feel they cannot accept as their responsibilityor
as an integral part of their workthe education of all children. They often look to
special/resource teachers to take responsibility for children with disabilities, and work
with them in a separate room. There is also a strong feeling among many regular
teachers that accepting the responsibility of a child with a disability will prevent them
from giving time to the normal children. The teachers low expectation of a child with
special needs tends to lead to low self-concept and poor performance.

In short, the difficulty faced by a child with special needs is not due to their impairment,
but in how others view them. In other words, the disability can be attributed to
peoples attitudes and perspectives towards the child with special needs.

2. Structural barriers: Structural barriers can be physical as well as the way the education
system is organised. Some of the architectural barriers can be steps, uneven ground,
and furniture randomly placed or in wrong places, which may be a barrier for children
with visual and/or mobility impairment. Barriers may also exist in the way schools are
built, e.g. no railing support and signage for children with visual impairment, inaccessible
toilets, playgrounds and laboratories, etc. School management and School Development
and Management Committees (SDMCs) should pay attention to these and work together
to ensure a barrier-free environment in the school. This may involve constructing ramps
(at the require gradation) and railings to the classrooms, providing easy access to drinking
water, having disabled-friendly toilets with water facility, ensuring even ground in the
school premises for children, especially to enable children with loco-motor disability to
move around more easily. If required, in a multi-story building, they should arrange classes
on the ground floor for children who may not be able to use stairs.

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Making Inclusion Work

3. Systemic or educational barriers: Curriculum, pedagogy and evaluation procedures are the
primary educational barriers that contribute to pushing marginalized and disadvantaged
children out of the education system. When curriculum is not flexible, children have
difficulty coping with it. The methods and classroom transactions do not take into account
the needs of children with sensory limitations or intellectual disabilities and this creates
barriers to learning. The lack of knowledge in handling children with disability also presents
a big barrier. Therefore, understanding children with special needs is an essential factor for
developing inclusive education. The lack of resources for teachers is yet another systemic
barrier that must be addressed.

Understanding barriers and positive response to children with special needs
Objective: to help teachers understand the barriers faced by children with special needs and
to help them formulate positive responses to these barriers.
1. Divide teachers into groups of four or five.
2. Give teachers to read the narrative below.
3. Ask them to use the discussion questions to guide the group discussion.
4. Ask them to share their reflections and discussions with the whole class.

Anapurna was a teacher in government primary school in Magadi block. This was a typical school in
a small village with 70 children and 2 teachers - Annapurna and Harish - teaching classes 1 to 5.
The childrens parents are mainly small farmers or weavers. This school has two children with
special needs enrolled in Grade 3. Girish has a physical impairment that effects his mobility. Sneha
has a hearing impairment. Girish was brought to school by his father on his bicycle. There was no
toilet in the school and the children had to go out in the field. Drinking water was accessible to all
as it was kept on a stool with a glass. Class 5 students were responsible for the water, on rotation.
Annapurna had undergone three days of orientation in IE conducted for regular teachers. Annapurna
mobilised resources at the local level and arranged for a wheelchair for Girish and hearing aids for
Sneha. Annapurna believed that no child should be excluded from learning and all children have a
right to attend school. She made other students responsible to bring Girish to school by pushing his
wheelchair on rotation. Children were happy to push Girishs wheelchair, while hanging their bag/s
on it. The problem for Girish, though, was not yet over at the school entrance, because once he
got there, it was physically inaccessible. So he was lifted out of his wheelchair and carried into the
classroom. Thereafter, Annapurna approached the village panchayat president for building a ramp
under the 3 percent disability provision, but he was of no help, except giving promises. Annapurna
wanted to solve this problem at the earliest, so with the help of students and some of their parents,
she built a mud ramp from the lower side of the school. Now Girish could enter the classroom with
his wheelchair and could also attend other school activities comfortably without anyone carrying
him. She also made a low cost swing by hanging a tire from the tree so that all the children could
play. Annapurna also spent time visiting Snehas home to ensure that she was using her hearing aids
and that her parents, who were daily wage labourers, continued to send her to school. She also met
with a nearby NGO and arranged for Sneha to be given auditory training by a speech therapist on a
weekly basis. Annapurna was given the best teacher award by the education department.

(Adapted from narrative from DPEP school in Karnataka, 2000)

16 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Discussion Questions:
What lesson do you learn from this narrative?
What barriers do the children face?
What type of problem solving approach did Annapurna use to make attending school
accessible for Sneha and Girish?

Learning and action points

At the end of each unit, it can be helpful for participants to reflect on what they have learnt
and how they will apply it to their situation.

1. Give each participant three coloured cards: red, yellow and green.

2. At the end of each unit, encourage the teachers to write:

On the first card, one thing they will stop doing as a result of what they have learnt.
On the second card, one thing they will put into practice but not immediately.
On the last card, one thing they have learnt that they will put into practice

3. Use the same colour coding each time this activity is used for reflecting and planning.
4. Encourage teachers to share their reflections informally with other participants, but the
main purpose is to help teachers record the learning and apply it.

Unit I: Understanding Inclusive Education | 17

Unit II:
Children With

Table 4: Overview of Unit II


Unit II: Understanding Children with Special Needs (CWSN)

1. Who are the Children with Brainstorming, discussions Become familiar with different
Special Needs? and sharing information models of disability
2. Misconceptions about through presentation Become familiar with the
CWSN Role play politically correct way to
3. Using Appropriate address CWSN
Language when Talking Understand children with
and Writing about disabilities through assessing
Disabilities their individual needs
4. Understanding the Childs Learn strategies of addressing
Needs and Ways of needs of CWSN
Providing Support

1. Who are the Children with Special Needs?

Children with special needs are all individuals with diverse characteristics, strengths and needs.
They may have one or more impairments: sensory, such as hearing or visual impairment;
orthopaedic or intellectual.

Children with special needs can be divided into the following broad groupings based on the
1. Children with visual impairment (difficulty in seeing).
2. Children with hearing impairment (difficulty in hearing).
3. Children with loco-motor impairment (difficulty in mobility).
4. Children with intellectual impairment (difficulty in understanding and learning).
5. Children with learning disabilities (difficulty in specific learning).
6. Children with autism spectrum disorder (difficulty in communication and socialisation).

Unit II: Understanding Children With | 19

Making Inclusion Work

7. Children with multiple disability (more than one disability such as deafblindness).
8. O
 thers: including children with mental illness such as schizophrenia or depression or
those with special health problems, such as epilepsy, haemophilia, thalassaemia, asthma,
diabetes, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and heart-related problems.

Understanding the concept of disability in the context of UN Convention for Persons

with Disabilities (CPRPD) (Annexure 2)

Disability is part of the diversity in society and schools. Disability cannot be viewed as an
all or nothing concept. Disability as a construct has been defined differently in terms of
individual and social aspects. To understand disability, it is important to consider the barriers
created by society and institutions, such as schools. In other words, disability is a result of the
barriers faced by people with impairments.

You may have come across many individuals who have physical or sensory impairments
or learning difficulties or mental health issues. It is not the individuals impairment which
creates the disability, but the way in which society responds to these impairments. Disability
is, therefore, a particular form of social oppression and is a result of the barriers (attitudinal,
environmental and organisational), which prevent people with a disability from having equal
opportunity in education, employment, housing, transport, leisure and so on.

Medical Model: The medical model of disability is based on a deficit approach and aims
to correct and cure, since it regards disability as a result of a deficiency in an individual that
prevents the person from performing certain functions or activities. In the simplest terms,
the medical model assumes that the first step solution is to find a cure to make the disabled
people more normal. Also, the model imposes a paternalistic approach to problem solving
which concentrates on care and ultimately provides justification for institutionalisation and
segregation. This restricts disabled peoples opportunities to make choices, control their lives
and develop their potential (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Disability Paradigm Shift

20 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Social Model: Today, the new paradigm of disability is increasingly called the social model and
maintains that disability is a product of an interaction between characteristics (e.g. social and
personal qualities) of the individual and characteristics of the natural, built, cultural and social
environments. The problem with disability is not the disability or the person with a disability,
but rather the way that normalcy is constructed to create the problem of disability. Personal
characteristics, as well as environmental ones, may be enabling or disabling. This argues from
a socio-political viewpoint that disability stems from the failure of society to adjust to meet
the needs and aspirations of a disabled minority. In short, the issues of disability and the
experience of individuals with disability are complex and disability is a contextual variable,
dynamic over time and circumstance.

Human Rights Model: The human rights model of disability acknowledges that people with
disabilities have also begun to fight for their rights, arguing that they are being discriminated
against in the same way that society has, at different times, discriminated against women,
minorities, and other vulnerable groups. They argue that they deserve to be treated as equal
participants in our society, and can contribute in many ways, if they are given the opportunities
to do so. The CRPD recognises disability as a human rights issue, not as objects of charity in
action. (See Annexure 2).

In May 2001 the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Health Assembly, approved the
International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). This classification is the
result of WHOs continuous revision efforts. The ICF is extremely appropriate for heterogeneous
populations of different cultures, age groups and gender. In ICF, all three dimensions, functioning,
disability and health condition of the individual, are viewed as interactive and dynamic. The
personal and contextual factors of environment are considered one and the same. As shown in
Figure 4 below, the basic concepts of ICF are: Body function and structure; activities (related
to task); and, participation of the individual in different life situations and contextual factors
(environment and personal).

Figure 4: ICF Model

Health Condition

Body Functions & Structure Activities Participation

(Impairment) (Limitation) (Restriction)

Environmental Personal
Factors Factors

Source: WHO, 2001

Unit II: Understanding Children With | 21

Making Inclusion Work

Understanding the Concept of Disability
Redefining disability as new perspectives towards disability emerge is extremely important, as
is the need to understand that the problem of disability is not within the individual, but within
attitudes and the environment. Changing attitudes and the environment, instead of trying to
change students with disabilities, must be the first step towards creating a school culture that
will make every student valued. Attempts must be made to remove all pedagogical, attitudinal
and physical barriers that obstruct participation of all students, including those with disabilities.
Ask teachers in small groups to reflect on the following:
zz The medical model permeates all areas of our society. Is this true with regard to students
with disabilities studying in your school?
zz How can we redefine disability? e.g. a student with cerebral palsy has legs and arms
that work differently and a student with Downs syndrome learns differently?

Once the teachers have reflected on these questions, the trainer can ask for responses in a
plenary discussion.

A team of researchers has recently investigated the educational provision of Fonteyn, a small
island state. It is a reasonably sophisticated society which places great stress on grace and style
of movement, much as we stress intellectual skill. So much so that many of its people abhor
clumsiness as some in our society tend to abhor stupidity. Furthermore, clumsy people, often
referred to as gawkies, are the subject of much humour amongst its locals.

The society has developed a system of writing which can only be mastered by those who are
graceful, whilst its technology is such that a high degree of grace and skill are necessary to run
its machines.

6 Adapted from UNESCO Teacher Education Resource Pack, 1993.

22 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Within schools, the success of pupils is largely determined by their movement abilities.
The education service has developed an elaborate vocabulary and forms of assessment for
distinguishing between degrees of grace. Small special schools have been established for those
pupils with severe clumsiness, i.e. those with subnormal Grace Quotients (GQ). In addition,
special help of various forms is provided in ordinary schools for those youngsters who are thought
to have mild to moderate clumsiness.
On admission to the islands one secondary school, pupils are tested and assigned to classes on
the basis of their general movement ability. The curriculum stresses all aspects of movement,
including dancing and rhythmic. Considerable attention has been paid in recent years to the idea
of gracefulness across the curriculum so that much of the teaching approaches used have a
strong emphasis on movement as a means of communication and recording.
The researchers found considerable debate amongst members of the community about the
state of the islands school system. Many teachers reported difficulty in teaching pupils who
they believe to have insufficient physical potential to take part in normal school activities. Some
feel that special classes should be created where these less able pupils could be provided with
additional help and a curriculum based on non-academic activities, such as literature and
humanities. Others, however, feel that this would be divisive and should not be encouraged since
it promotes segregation.

1. Read the discussion material, Fonteyn
2. Discuss with a partner the following issues:
zz What special needs occur in Fonteyn?

zz What factors create these special needs?

3. In groups of four to six compare your answers to these questions.

4. Then, as a whole group, consider the following issue:
zz If the teachers in Fonteyn wished to review the policy and practice of their schools, what
factors should they examine?
zz Make a report to the other groups outlining the factors you feel to be important in
reviewing schools in Fonteyn.
5. Discuss the relevance of these same factors for reviewing practices in your own school.

2. Misconceptions about CWSN

Despite role models such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Surdas, Sudha Chandran
and Stephen Hawking, false perceptions and myths related to people with special needs are

Myths and Misconceptions
1. Give each teacher a hand-out of the table below
2. Ask teachers to individually read the following statements and note whether each one is a
myth or fact.
3. Brainstorm on the various responses.
4. Ask teachers to share other myths/misconceptions that they may be aware of. (See Seven
Common Myths below.)

Unit II: Understanding Children With | 23

Making Inclusion Work

Table 5: Myths and misconceptions

Statement Myth/Fact

1 Disability is infectious

2 Disability is hereditary

3 Visually impaired are musically gifted

4 Intellectual Disabilities and mental illness are the same

5 Disability is caused due to karma

6 Boys with a disability can be cured by marriage

7 People with disabilities are cunning

Table 6: Myths on Disability

Seven Common Myths on Disability

Myth Reality

Disabilities can be cured by doctors, Wasting time in searching for a cure will only delay the
specialists, quacks, sadhus, tantriks, childs learning the skills she is capable of. A disability
ojhas is a permanent condition for which no cure has yet
been found. Therefore, it can be managed better using
appropriate measures and early intervention. The focus
should be on making individuals more independent in
activities and becoming contributing members of the
family and society.

Disability is a result of karma. Parents No one can be blamed for a disability. It can happen
say: I have done something wrong. It to anyone.
is my past karmas that I have to suffer Instead of blaming oneself and getting depressed, one
having a child with disability. should accept and look at the child with disability
as a child first and provide encouragement as one
would with any other child. This by itself can open a
wonderful world of discovery into ones own strengths.

Disability is infectious None of the disabilities described above are infectious;

they are caused either by genetics or injuries/ trauma
occurring during the pre-natal or post-natal period.

Children with disabilities have limited The capacity of a person with a disability evolves with
capacities. Their capacity does not time, exposure, education, interaction, participation,
grow. acceptance, trust and encouragement

The child with a disability is different Every child is different. It is impossible to find a class
from other children and cannot be of students, all with similar skills, talents, interests
included in mainstream schools. and academic abilities.
Impossible! What will she/he do in the Children with disabilities have the right to go to
class? mainstream schools, where teachers receive training
regarding different teaching techniques, assistive
devices and adaptations that will help all children
learn better.

24 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Seven Common Myths on Disability

Myth Reality

Disabled persons need protection and People with a disability can take on responsibility and
care. They cannot work and contribute. contribute productively when given an opportunity.
They will always be a burden.

All Persons with disabilities have We should not put people with disabilities into one
some huge creative talent. The visually category; each child is different with diverse talents
impaired are musically gifted. and abilities. Non-disabled persons are recognised
and included as citizens and members of a family and
community for themselves, not because of any one
talent. The same rights apply for all!
Source:Disability: Challenging Myths and presenting Realities (National Trust, 2009).

3. Using Appropriate Language when Talking

and Writing about Disabilities
Words that describe or refer to children with disabilities are often offensive, insensitive or
inaccurate. It is very important to use appropriate and respectful language when referring to
people with disabilities. Some key guidelines on appropriate language use are as follows:

Use People First Language

When talking and writing about people with disabilities, remember to put people first. The
disability comes second. It is important to see the person before his/her disability. A disability
is a functional limitation or restriction of an individuals ability to perform an activity. People
are not conditions. It is therefore preferable to use people with disabilities, rather than the
term the disabled.

Unit II: Understanding Children With | 25

Making Inclusion Work

The subtle difference between calling Jaya a person with autism rather than an autistic
person is one that acknowledges Jaya as a person first. It is important to focus on peoples
abilities rather than their disabilities. When talking and writing about people with disabilities,
always remember to use the type of language in the Use column, and avoid words and
phrases in the Avoid column:

Table 7: People First Language

USE words and phrases like: AVOID words and phrases like:

Individual (or person) with a developmental Victim or Patient


Individual with a seizure disorder Epileptic

Individual with autism Afflicted with autism

A person who is non-ambulatory/mobility Cripple, crippled


A person who doesnt use words to speak Suffers from dyspraxia, aphasia

A person who uses a wheelchair Confined to a wheelchair; wheelchair bound

Individual with Intellectual impairment The retarded

Individual or person The handicapped

Participant Mentally deficient

Parent of Disabled childs parents

Student Them, they

Avoid categorising people with disabilities as either super-achievers or tragic figures. Choose
words that are non-judgmental, non-emotional, and are accurate descriptions. Avoid using
brave, courageous, inspirational or similar words to describe a person with a disability.
Remember that the majority of people with disabilities have similar aspirations as the rest
of the population, and that words and images should reflect their inclusion in society, except
where social isolation is the focal point.

Avoid references that cause discomfort, guilt, pity, or insult.

Avoid words such as burden, incompetent, or defective, which suggest that people
with disabilities are inferior and should be excluded from activities generally available to
people without disabilities. In addition, words like suffers from, stricken with, afflicted
by, patient, disease, or sick suggest constant pain and a sense of hopelessness. While
this may be the case for some individuals, a disability is a condition that does not necessarily
cause pain or require medical attention.

Use common terminology to describe daily living activities. People with disabilities are
comfortable with these terms. People who use wheelchairs go for walks, people with visual
impairments see what you mean, and so on. A disability may just mean that some things
are done differently, but that doesnt mean the words used to describe the activity must be

26 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Focus on the issue rather than the disability. If the disability is not relevant to the context, it
is not necessary to indicate it.

4. Understanding the Childs Needs and Ways

of Providing Support
This section is devoted to identifying strengths and difficulties faced by CWSN within
educational settings and explores ways to support them.

Understanding the Childs Needs Through Assessment

It is critical for a teacher to become familiar with the child with special needs and identify the
most effective ways to provide necessary support and intervention.

An assessment is a process of gathering information from various sources such as testing the
child directly, observing the child in varied environments and interviewing family members
and others who are in contact with the child. This helps the teacher understand the childs
disability conditions and functional abilities. Based on the assessment, an educational plan
can be made.

Assessments can be undertaken in different ways.

Clinical assessments conducted by medical professionals are used to determine the nature,
cause, and potential effects of a childs injury, illness, or wellness. This allows the professionals
to compile the best possible treatment options for their patients based on numerous physical,
mental, and medical factors.

A needs assessment is one of the most critical components in educational programming since
without assessment, you will not be able to plan an Individualised Educational Programme
(IEP). Thus, assessment is more than the simple administration of tests; it is an ongoing
problem-solving process.

A functional assessment is an informal way of collecting information about a child with regards
to how he/she functions and can be done through observation, interviews or questionnaires.
A functional assessment of a child with disability has five basic steps:

1. Gathering information about the child by talking to the people who know the child

2. Examining medical reports of the child.

3. Observing the child engaged in typical activities.

4. Understanding at what level the child is functioning.

5. Planning how to help the child to participate in the classroom.

It is important to ensure that assessment looks not only at a childs weaknesses, but also at
his or her strengths. If a child has problems, these are not necessarily rooted in the child.
The problem may be with the school, curriculum, classroom organisation, and/or family

Unit II: Understanding Children With | 27

Making Inclusion Work

Understanding Children with Disabilities and their Difficulties
1. Divide teachers into groups of four or five.
2. Give them the case study handout and ask them to read in their respective groups.
3. Ask groups to discuss two questions:
zz What is the strength/potential of this child?
zz What are the difficulties faced by this child?

4. Ask each group to present their ideas on one of the case studies to the whole group.
5. Make notes on the board in a table
6. Ask if the other groups agree/disagree.

Table 8: Strength and Potential Chart

Name of the Strengths/Potential of the Difficulties faced by the

Child child child

Abdul Abdul is clever, good at maths and Abdul is lazy and careless, unable to
drawing perform in language





Case Study Handout

Case Study 1: Abdul is a 10-year-old in grade 3. He is extremely eager to help his elders.
He does not learn like other children. He cannot write well. He can write a few letters and
complete very simple mathematics problems. During class, Abdul gets up and wanders around
the room. He will only sit down for a few minutes at a time. He wanders about the most during
writing lessons. The other students often tease Abdul and call him stupid. Sometimes Abdul
loses his temper and hits other children. He has been sent home many times by for the rest of
the day by the teacher as punishment.

Case Study 2: Victor is 8 years old and lives in a rural part of Karnataka. When he was three,
he contracted chicken pox, which affected his vision. He has low vision with night blindness
and can see objects if they are very close to him. His family takes care of him and he knows
how to get around in his home and the neighbourhood. The family has its own land where
they work. Victor has one sister and one brother who go to the local school. Victor was also
admitted into the same school, but he dropped out a few months back. He was not able to
see the books or blackboard, so he could not learn to write and had problems copying from
the blackboard. The teacher tried to help him in the beginning, but later she did not have
much time to provide support as she had to take care of the other 40 children in the class.
Some neighbours suggested that Victor should be sent to a residential school for the blind
where he would get the education he needed. However, his mother does not want to leave

28 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Victor in a residential school far away from home and prefers he attend the neighbourhood

Case Study 3: Sushma is 5 years old and has cerebral palsy. She lives with her parents in a
rented house in a slum in Mumbai. The family belongs to a lower socioeconomic background.
Her father is a daily wage earner and supports the entire family. According to Sushmas
mother, she had problems in her breathing during her pregnancy, and Sushmas development
was not like that of other children. Some people suggested she would learn to walk late.
When she was two and half years old, she had an epileptic/convulsion fit for the first time.
Her parents consulted the doctor; his diagnosis was that she might not be able to walk. The
parents have admitted Sushma into the nearby municipal school and the mother carries her to
school every day. Sushma remains in class and cannot even go to the bathroom on her own.
She enjoys school and completes her work before the other children, but cannot follow her
friends into the playground.

Case Study 4: Rohini is 9 years old and lives in a rural village. She does not speak and is deaf
in one ear. Her parents own one acre of land and she is the eldest child. She is a big support
to her mother and helps with all the household work. She enjoys playing with her younger
siblings. She dropped out of school in class three because she was made to sit in the last row
as punishment for disturbing the class by constantly talking while the teacher was teaching. In
fact, her perceived interruptions were not interruptions at all; she was often asking her friend
to tell her what the teacher was saying. This is because in many classes, teachers dictate
lessons instead of writing on a blackboard.

Case Study 5: Kamalamma is a seven-year-old girl who has not reached her peers development
goals. Her parents are both agricultural labourers and find it difficult to attend to her needs.
She has difficulty walking. She finds it difficult to hold things, like a pencil. When she speaks,
it is difficult to understand her. However, she can understand what other people say to her. She
is studying in grade 1 and started school late. She can recognise letters. She tries to write but
quickly becomes frustrated. Often she seems to stop listening in class and lays her head down
on her desk. Kamalamma is very shy and does not mingle with other children.

Identifying Reasons or Causes for Children Having Difficulties in Learning
Objective: To help teachers explore the reasons why children experience difficulties in
learning; to help them identify children with special needs in their classes; and, to discuss their
experiences of working with them.
1. Introduce and explain the two important factors that can affect a childs learning:
zz Child-specific factors: physical disability, intelligence, etc.
zz Environment-specific factors: their community, peoples attitudes, infrastructure, school
system or home circumstances (e.g. problems at home, loss of a loved one, poverty), etc.
2. Using the previous case studies, draw the following table on the board.
3. Divide teachers in groups of four to five and ask the teachers to discuss in their groups the
case studies about Abdul, Victor, Sushma, Rohini and Kamalamma.
4. Working within their groups, ask them to classify their responses according to two categories:
learning difficulties due to the childs characteristics and those due to the environment.

Unit II: Understanding Children With | 29

Making Inclusion Work

Table 9: Child characteristics and Environment Chart

Name of the Childs characteristics: What Childs environment: What are the
child are the factors causing learning factors causing learning difficulties
difficulties for the child? due to the environment (society,
home, school)?
1. Abdul Short attention span Attitude of teacher
Attitudes of other children
2. Victor
3. Sushma
4. Rohini
5. Kamalamma

Collect the answers from the groups for each case study and consolidate the
Materials required: Blackboard with coloured chalk (preferably yellow or whiteboard)
with coloured marker (preferably black or blue); brown paper or chart paper for group

4.1. Understanding Individual Needs of Children with Disabilities and Finding Ways
to Assist Them

The three basic steps to help children facing difficulties to learning and accessing
school are:
1. Identify the difficulty (i.e. He does not complete a task).
2. Identify the cause of the difficulty (i.e. Environment-specific: because the teacher
labelled him lazy; Any child-specific difficulty?).
3. Find ways to assist the child (i.e. The teacher should ask why the child is having
problems; praise him when he does the right thing).

Analyse the Case Study
In the case studies you have read, you first looked at the difficulties that children faced (and their
strengths and weaknesses). Then, you looked at the causes of their difficulties; and finally, you
brainstormed ways to help the child. Using the same case studies (pgs. 38-39), in this activity
teachers will work in pairs using the case studies on pages 38-39. Note down the name, age and
sex of the child you are discussing.

Table 10: Three Step chart

Difficulty Cause of the difficulty Ways to assist the child

30 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Unit III:
Creating an
Inclusive Learning
for Children
with Special

Table 11: Overview of Unit III


Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for CWSN

1. Significance of an Inclusive Group discussion, Understand the practical

Learning Environment presentation, brainstorming, aspect of developing
2. Understanding Different reflection on narratives, inclusive practices (learning
Learning Styles and self-learning materials, styles, inclusive pedagogy,
Approaches in Developing teaching/model lesson plans, planning for inclusion)
Inclusive Pedagogy demonstrations Understand the use of
3. Developing a Teaching Practice teaching assistive devices to address
Plan for an Inclusive needs of CWSN
Classroom Understand behaviour
4. Early Literacy, Numeracy management technique and
and Language use of assistive technology
in overcoming barriers to
5. Use of Assistive Devices, learning.
ict and Other Resource
Support to Meet the
Specific Needs of cwsn
6. Understanding Behaviour

1. Significance of an Inclusive Learning

The impact of policies and programmes of various governments have brought children
with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups into mainstream schools. Now, the
challenge is on how schools can include all children and enable them to fully participate in
learning. An inclusive learning environment makes it possible for all children, from different
backgrounds and of varying abilities, to participate in and learn. It means teachers are
responsible for creating a learning environment for all children, which provides equitable
opportunities for participating and learning in the classroom. Therefore, first and foremost,
teachers need to understand and value the diversity that children with disability add to the

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Reflections: Areal life classroom scenario in relation to children with disabilities
1. Divide teachers into groups of four to five.
2. Ask teachers to read the narrative about Tulsi, which is based on a classroom observation
in a government upper primary school in rural Karnataka. Note how a regular teacher deals
with the needs of a child with disabilities.
3. In small groups answer the following questions:
zz What is your opinion of Tulsi?
zz What was the teachers understanding of the child who was disruptive?
zz Could Tulsi support Sunil in the class?
zz How do you, as teachers, deal with similar situations?

Tulsi is a class teacher. She has 20 students in 2nd standard and is revising social studies lessons.
The children sit behind desks on benches. Tulsi is revising a chapter from social studies by reading
out from the chapter on Buddha and asking questions. She provides positive reinforcement to the
children when they answer correctly. Sunil is sitting in the last bench where the teacher can directly
see him. Sunil is on the autism spectrum. She asks him questions by pointing to pictorial questions
she has prepared and left on his desk.
She ensured his participation by prompting him to give answers. Sunil was responding to the
teacher by repeating the questions and then answering them; a typical behaviour of a child with
autism. Tulsi tries to generalise the concepts of Buddha by discussing how a Buddhist child in the
classroom goes to worship Buddha. All the children are participating in the classroom, including
Sunil. Suddenly Sunil gets distracted because another child sitting next to him takes out his glue
stick. Sunil starts snatching at the glue stick and shouting. The teacher gives the glue stick to Sunil
so that he could paste the sticker on his copy of the lesson. She asks the other child not to take the
glue stick out during lessons because Sunil gets distracted by stickers and labels.
The teacher later shares that because Sunil likes collecting stickers and label, she uses them as a
reinforcement to help him sit in the class and concentrate. Tulsi has not participated in an in-service
training on teaching children with autism in an inclusive environment, but has been able to discern
what works in terms of managing Sunils behaviour.

Source: Understanding Diversity at Classrooms study for Department of State Educational Research and Training (DSERT) and
UNICEF by RVEC (RV Educational Consortium) and Seva in Action.

1.1 Components of an Inclusive Learning Environment

An inclusive, child-friendly classroom provides the space and pace for all children to learn
and be a part of the classroom and school community. It is a place where every child is
valued and provided with a friendly environment. It is a place every child wants to come
to and participate in activities and to learn. In such a classroom, efforts should be made to
understand the childs needs, especially if they are facing learning difficulties.

32 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Essential Components of a Classroom within an Inclusive Learning

Relationships: Friendly, warm and collaborative

Seating arrangements: Flexible and accessible
Learning materials and resources: Variety used
Assessment: Continuous and comprehensive; authentic
Interactions: Promote participation, co-operation, caring, positive self -esteem and confidence;
Classroom environment: Safe, sensitive (protects all children from violence and abuse)
Learning: Relevant to childrens daily lives; focus on meaning, taking into consideration students
learning styles
Source: Contemporary Education IE

1.2 Steps for Creating an Inclusive Environment

There are three basic steps a teacher needs to keep in mind when endeavouring to create an
inclusive classroom environment.
1. S
 tart by identifying and understanding the childs needs in terms of sensory, physical and
intellectual diversities.
2. Identify barriersphysical and curricularto learning.
3. Address and remove the barriers to better meet the childs needs.

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs | 33
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Accessible toilet

Ensure physical accessibility: Physical access is the most important, and the first step
towards inclusion. Classrooms, drinking water, toilets, playgrounds, laboratories and libraries
have to be accessible. This can be achieved by including simple additions in the design of
a structure, such as ramps with railings. For the visually impaired child, this could mean
colour contrasting while writing on blackboards and for the child with hearing impairment,
placing gunny bags or other material that an dampen the noise and echo in the classroom can
enhance the acoustics.

The SSA Framework for Implementation (2011) states that schools must be designed using
an inclusive lens to create barrier-free environments. School buildings must incorporate
ramps, but also have accessible classrooms, toilets, playgrounds, and laboratories. Special
furniture, displays and learning boards and chalkboards help create inclusive situations and
should be promoted.

Children with loco motor impairment (non-and semi-ambulatory disabilities)

Gates, approach road and steps to allow for smooth movement.
Ramps with handrails.
No major level differences within building.
Reduce passages and corridors.
Toilets with adjustable seats, grab rail and ramp.

34 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
Accessible ramp

Children with visual impairment (low vision and total blindness)

Simple plan of the building.
Design of windows and illumination levels to eliminate glare.
Reduce distance between the child and the chalkboard.
Use of contrasting colours and textures to aid identification of levels, ramps, passageways,
steps, doors, etc.
To minimise risk of injuries, avoid projections, sharp edges, etc.

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs | 35
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Children with hearing impairment

Reduced distance between teacher and child.
Insulated walls; provision of low cost mats and panels, soft boards, charts, etc.
Provision of supplementary visual information, such as ideograms.
Children with special needs should sit close to the teacher and the board. This is very
important for children with hearing, vision and learning difficulties. It ensures that they
can see the teachers face clearly and the teacher can more easily provide them with
support whenever required.
The classroom should have enough light to see the blackboard and the teacher, and
proper ventilation.
The room should be arranged in a way that allows children with visual impairment and
mobility problems to move about with fewer problems. For example, a child who uses a
wheelchair or crutches should be able to get in and out of his/her desk easily. It may be
best for the child to sit at the end of the row or where/he she is most comfortable.
If you want the children to work in groups but you cannot move the desks, then get the
row in front to turn around to face the rows behind.
Put up pictures, posters, drawings and examples of childrens work on the walls. Make
sure they are displayed at the childrens eye level rather than high up on the walls. You
can also add different textures for touching to help children with visual problems.
Remember that children with hearing and visual problems will find lessons outside of
the classroom more difficult to understand. Make sure such children sit very close to
You can make a resource corner in the classroom with games, learning resources and
books for children with specific needs.
Whenever possible, use real objects to help the children understand. Make sure you
allow the children to handle and touch these objects. This is very important for children
with vision and learning difficulties.

36 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
The curriculum should be accessible to all, including children with special needs. Adequate
measures should be taken to ensure that the curriculum is flexible and adaptable in terms of
methodology, Teaching Learning Material (TLM) and Comprehensive Continuous Evaluation
(CCE). Inclusive curriculum essentially means one curriculum for all with flexibility to enable
all learners to participate and achieve their goals.

To incorporate CCE for children with disabilities, based on the guidelines of the respective
states for all children, consider the following:
Keep the classroom clean and make sure all children, including those with disabilities,
are involved in ensuring the cleanliness of the classroom.
Provide supportive measures for meeting each childs specific needs (assistive technology,
communication aids, mobility aids, and necessary teaching aids, such as Braille abacus,
large print books, and audio books) through resource teachers and other government
Involve families and communities in supporting the childs learning.
Peer support is an extremely important factor in facilitating inclusive classroom practices.
There are many examples where inclusion has been possible mainly due to peer support
like pushing a wheelchair, assisting a child to go to the toilet, helping them read the
blackboard or understand any other classroom transactions. Peer support also develops
values and imbibes positive attitudes towards children with special needs. Those who
learn together live together.

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs | 37
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The Inclusive School

The underlying principle of the inclusive school is that all children should learn together, without
discrimination. Inclusive schools must recognise and respond to the diverse needs of their students,
accommodating different styles and paces of learning and ensuring quality education to all through
appropriate curricula, organisational arrangements, teaching strategies and resource use and with
support from the community. There should be a continuum of support and services to match their
entitlements and needs encountered in every school.

2. Understanding Different Learning Styles and

Approaches in Developing Inclusive Pedagogy
No child is learning impaired. Given the right conditions, all children can learn effectively,
especially when they learn by doing. (UNESCO, 2005)

Each child has different styles and approaches to learning. Some children are good in learning
through seeing, some can learn better through hearing and some may need both. As a teacher,
you need to realise that one size does not fit all and that there is a need to understand
the different learning styles to make learning effective. Many learn best through learning
by doing, that is, through actually doing activities and gaining experience. This is what is
meant by the phrases active learning, childrens participation in learning, or participatory
learning. It is about getting children to learn new information through different activities and
teaching methods. Linking these activities to childrens practical experiences in everyday life
helps them understand and remember what they are learning and then to use what they have
learned later in life.

2.1 Diverse Learning Styles in Classrooms

Teachers play a central role in the kinds of educational opportunities offered to students, and
the quality of student-teacher interactions in instructional situations is the ultimate test of
educational equality. It is because of their double role as teacher and role model that teachers
are so crucial to the development of students.

A teacher has to plan appropriate activities and experiences that she intends to provide during
the teaching-learning discourse. This can be done successfully if the teacher is aware of the
different ways in which students learn.

Every learner has a preferred learning style. The term learning styles may be defined as
a predisposition on the part of learner to adopt a particular strategy regardless of specific
demands of learning tasks. (Schmeck, 1988). Eddy (1999) describes a learning style as the
way in which we prefer to organise, classify and assimilate information about the environment.
That is, the modality by which we learn best.

There is a lot of research on learning styles and there are probably as many theories as
there are researchers on the subject. However, in their most basic form, there are three main
learning styles:
1. Auditory learners prefer to receive ideas and information by hearing them. These students
may struggle with reading and writing, but excel at memorising spoken words such as
song lyrics. They often benefit from discussion-based classes and the opportunity to give

38 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
oral presentations. They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things
through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying
meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances.
Written information may have little meaning until it is heard. These learners often benefit
from reading text aloud and using a tape recorder.

2. Visual learners prefer to receive information by seeing it. These learners need to see the
teachers body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson.
They tend to prefer sitting at the front of the classroom to avoid visual obstructions (e.g.
peoples heads). They may think in pictures and learn bestfrom visual displays, including
diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and hand-
outs.During a lecture or classroom discussion, visual learners often prefer to take detailed
notes to absorb the information.

3. Kinaesthetic-Tactile prefer to learn through moving, doing and touching. They learn best
through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They
may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for
activity and exploration.

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs | 39
Making Inclusion Work

Learning styles group common ways that people learn. Everyone has a mix of learning styles.
Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, with far less use of the
other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is
no right mix. It is important to note that the various styles are those preferred by learners. If
we looked at complete descriptions of each style, we would probably see some of ourselves in
each. At the same time, we could also probably identify our dominant style. The fact that we
learn in many ways is further justification for why utilising a variety of teaching approaches is
so important.

Understanding learning styles can help you create more inclusive classrooms where everyone
has a chance to succeed. For instance, a student from a culture that teaches children to listen
quietly in a classroom (or a visual learner who is uncomfortable with speaking) can be at a
disadvantage when a portion of the grade is based on participation in class. Sensitive teachers
can allow for group work during class to create smaller, safer environments for these students
to speak and for their classroom performance to be evaluated.

2.2 Learning Style Inventory

There are many learning style inventories available. David A. Kolbs (1984) Learning Style
Inventory describes the way you learn and how you deal with ideas and day-to-day situations
in your life.7 (See Annexure 3)


Assessing your Learning Style

Objective: To better understand how you prefer to learn and process information.
Materials required: Learning style inventory printout for each participant (See Annexure 3).
1. Each participant completes the learning style inventory handout by checking all statements
that refer to his/her learning style.
2. Each participant calculates his/her scores against each of the three learning styles.
3. Use what you learn from your scores to better develop learning strategies that are best suited
to your particular learning style.
4. Ask the participants to share their learning styles and reflect on the diversity within the
5. This 24-item survey is not timed.
Reflection: Draw attention to the fact that the same diversity will exist within student
populations. Children with disabilities would also have preferred learning styles.
If you are a VISUAL learner, you may prefer to see information, like reading text, or looking at

7 Refer to http://www.learning-styles-online.com/inventory/Memletics-Learning-Styles-Inventory.pdf for an example of Memletics

Learning Style Inventory and http://ww2.nscc.edu/gerth_d/AAA0000000/barsch_inventory.htm for Barsch Inventory.

40 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
If you are an AUDITORY learner you may prefer to hear information, sit in a lecture hall where
you can hear well, and after you have read something, summarize it and recite it aloud.
If you are a KINAESTHETIC learner, you prefer to learn by doing, such as moving, manipulating
and associating study material with real-world things or occurrences.

Some aspects of learning styles may represent strong inherent preferences, but all
learners can benefit from multi-sensory approaches. This has important implications for
teaching; teachers should acknowledge and cater for the distribution of preferred styles
amongst learners, but students should nonetheless be approached to develop a range of
approaches to learning. Teachers often fail to recognise the variety of thinking and learning
styles students bring to the classroom and tend to teach in ways that do not address this
diversity. It is necessary that there is harmony among the teachers style, learning style
and teaching style for the maximum realisation of a childs potential. Teachers cannot
cater to every learners preferred learning style at all times, nor would this actually be in
the learners interest. Using a variety of activities within teaching sessions can, however,
better accommodate different learning styles, as well as provide breaks, opportunities to
shift of attention and prevent boredom. A teacher should, therefore, plan to use a variety
of teaching approaches.

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs | 41
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Table 12: Teaching Approaches for Different Learning Styles

Teachers can encourage VISUAL learning by

zz Using visual representations (posters, diagrams, drawings) to present information and ideas.
zz Encouraging visualisation i.e. Imagine you can see, What do you think this would look
zz Using visual prompts for recounting or creating a story.
zz Asking pupils to see words and spellings with their eyes closed.
zz Encouraging visual association and organization of ideas, e.g. by using concept maps.

Teachers can encourage AUDITORY learning by

zz Practicing active listening.

zz Encouraging auditory imagination i.e. Imagine you can hear, What do you think that will
sound like?.
zz Using sounds as prompts for recounting or creating a story.
zz Asking pupils to sound out words and break down spellings.
zz Using rhyme and rhythm as mnemonic devices.

Teachers can encourage KINAESTHETIC learning by

zz Using physical representations (i.e. objects that learners can manipulate) to present
information and ideas.
zz Allowing project work to encourage hands-on experiences.
zz Using acting out as a prompt for recounting or creating a story.
zz Asking pupils to trace out words and spellings with their finger.
zz Encouraging physical associations and using body language to express ideas and emotions.

2.3 Implications of Teaching Style

Most teachers teach according to their own preferred learning style. It is vital that the teaching
style you adopt is a combination of the above styles, since no one style can be suited to all
learning styles. Knowing the best approach is often just a matter of knowing your audience
and their needs. So, if the class is comprised of kinaesthetic or tactile learners, and the
instructor is a visual learner, then the instructor is more likely to teach visually rather than
kinaesthetically or tactually. What can we take away from all of this? The first step is to find
out what your preferred mode of learning is, and then try to teach outside of that comfort
zone. To reach more learners, you will have to try different teaching styles. Some teachers like
the lecture method, some like demonstration or active participation, while others are more
constructivist in nature and like to see where the days lesson takes them. It is important to
remember to use a combination of teaching methods to reach out to each childs learning
style within the class, which will undoubtedly be a diverse lot. Challenge yourself, and your

42 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs
Module 1 : Inclusive Education
2.4 Reaching All Learning Styles

Teachers do not have to design each activity or class component to reach every learning style.
However, your teaching strategies as a whole should be diverse enough to reach everyone.

Helpful tips:
Use images, diagrams, demonstrations and screen projections AND provide oral and
written explanations.
Offer a handout that summarises presented information and gives directions to repeat
the skills that were demonstrated.
Provide class time and utilise teaching strategies for active student participation.
Encourage students to work in groups.
Periodically pause to give students time to process what you have shown them and ask
Include both conceptual and concrete information. Explain the abstract ideas and then
try to connect them to something in the real world.
Present material in a logical, sequential manner, but take time to point out the connections
between this information/process and other areas where this knowledge is relevant.

zz What is your predominant learning style?
zz Which learning styles do you think your teaching style is able to address effectively?
zz What changes, if any, would you like to bring to your teaching style? Exemplify with examples.
zz In your opinion, what modification in your teaching style can improve the pupils performance?
zz How can you modify your teaching style?

Everyone has a talent, and these talents can be used in our work as teachers and learners.
Teachers must assume that every child brings something positive with them that they can
contribute to the learning process. It is your job as a teacher to discover what it is.

Exploring Teaching and Learning by Comparing a Traditional and an Inclusive
1. Ask participants to read two case studies: one about a traditional classroom and the other,
about and inclusive one.

Classroom A: Fifty children are sitting on the floor with their bags as desks and books in front
of them. The teacher starts reading from a Grade 3 textbook; in between, she writes some
difficult words on the blackboard. The boys, who are sitting on the right side of the room,
copy what the teacher has written into their exercise books. The girls, who are sitting on the
left side of the room, wait for the teacher to move so that they can see what she has written
and copy it into their exercise books. The teacher asks, Are you copying the story that I am
writing? Everyone answers, Yes, teacher. After reading aloud, she asks a question to a child
sitting in the front row and if that child does not answer exactly the way it is written in the
textbook, the teachers considers the answer wrong.

Unit III: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment for Children with Special Needs | 43
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Classroom B: Two groups of children are sitting on the floor in two circles. Both groups
consist of girls and boys. The Grade 3 teacher is teaching shapes. In one group, the children
are talking about circles. The teacher shows some common round objects that the children
brought from home. The children handle the objects and then work together to make a list of
other objects that are circular in shape. In the other group, some of the children are holding
rolled up newspapers that look like long sticks. The teacher calls a number, and the child
with that number places her stick on the floor in the centre to begin forming a square. One
child with hearing difficulties adds her stick to form a triangle and smiles at the teacher. The
teacher smiles back at her and says, Very good, making sure that the child can see her lips
as she speaks. A parent, who has volunteered to be a classroom helper for a week, pats her
on the arm, and then turns to assist a student who is confused about where to place his stick
in order to form a new shape.

2. Ask participants to answer the following questions:

zz Which is the more traditional classroom and why?
zz Which is the more inclusive and learning-friendly classroom and why?

3. Brainstorm with the teachers and write their observations on the board in two columns.

3. Developing a Teaching Plan for an Inclusive

Effective teaching depends on how the teacher develops the teaching plans. Developing a
teaching plan with a clear objective is therefore the first step for effective inclusive practice.
It is essential for the teacher to think beyond the textbook and towards the larger learning
objective of the subject.

Useful Principles for Developing a Teaching Plan

The constructive approach of the 5Es model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and
Evaluate) gives a framework for adapting a variety of methods and the flexibility needed
to suit the needs of your pupils. It allows you to use and build on prior knowledge and
experience to explain meaning to task analysis and continuous evaluation. Within this
model, you can plan to use different strategies for different subjects.
Plan for advanced material and problems within each lesson.

See Annexure 4 for sample teaching plans.

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Exploring Inclusive Teaching and Learning Approaches
Materials required: White board with black or blue marker; Brown or chart papers with colour
felt pens for group work; handout with narrative of a regular classroom observation.
1. Divide participants in groups of 4-5.
2. Provide each group with the narrative and ask them to read and then work on the following:
zz List the different steps the teacher used in teaching.
zz What type of teaching styles was the teacher using?
zz How did she get the participation of all children?
zz What type of resources did she use? Was it useful for all children, including children with
zz How did she know if the children had learnt?
3. Ask the groups to do a presentation of their group work.

Narrative: Class 4 in a rural, government school

An environment science class is in session. The topic is transport. The objective, as per
the teachers unit plan, is to help children recognise different means of transport. There
are nearly 35 children in the classroom. The teacher has divided the class into two groups
and has provided them with a few toy vehicles and flash cards depicting different means of
transportby land, water and air. She asks the children in each group to divide the flash
cards of transport according to those used in land, water and air. Then she asks the children
to show through action or enact how different types of transport would move. She asks
children which of these modes of transport they have used and where. She narrates a story
about a child living in an abandoned railway carriage and his dreams of travelling around
the country. In the end she writes the names of the different modes of transport on the
blackboard. She then asks children to match the words written with the picture flash cards.
The teacher encourages every child to come to the board for this activity and asks others to
either write or draw a picture of what is written.

3.1 Lesson Design Planning for Inclusion

Every child is unique and different therefore the teachers role is to understand these differences
in the learning process. This is the basic principle for creating inclusive classrooms.

Differentiation is the process of systematically varying the learning content, product and, most
importantly, the teaching-learning process to match the unique learning profile of individual
students. This is the essence of inclusive teaching. Differentiated instruction based on best
practices of the teaching-learning process is what makes teaching inclusive. Differentiated
instruction adapts instruction to meet the needs of individual learners, providing all students
with the appropriate level of challenge and the appropriate supports to help them reach
learning goals.

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Differentiated instruction is grounded in an understanding of how people learn. Instruction

begins with an assessment of what students already know and builds new concepts on their
existing knowledge. Differentiation provides students with varied experiences to engage with
content. A differentiated classroom offers multiple ways for students to access content, to
process and make sense of the concepts and skills, and to develop products that demonstrate
their learning (Tomlinson, 2001).

3.2 Guidelines and Strategies for Differentiated Learning

A majority of teachers do not adapt their teaching to address the diversity of learners in
their classroom. Differentiated learning takes the philosophy of inclusion a step further
by addressing individual needs of all students within a general education classroom.
Differentiation describes a philosophy that seeks to make education more meaningful for
all students, from high achieving gifted students to those who are struggling in school
(Tomlinson, 1999).

Determine key concepts and learning goals. The curriculum should be based on broad
concepts, and teachers must have well-defined learning goals. Tomlinson recommends that
teachers ensure that curriculum is clearly focused on the information and understandings that
are most valued by an expert in a particular discipline.

Link assessment to instruction. Assessment should be ongoing. With the data gleaned
from assessment, teachers learn what students already know and what would be the most
appropriate assignment that would be challenging and yet not frustrating. This is called the
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).

Implement flexible grouping. Teachers use whole-class, small-group and individual

instruction. Students can, and should, be grouped in a variety of ways based on readiness,
interest and learning profiles, as well as randomly grouped. Teachers can assign work
groups, and sometimes students select their own work groups.The groups should change

Use a range of instructional strategies. In addition to planning instructional activities to meet

a students learning readiness, all activities should be equally interesting and equally focused
on essential understandings and skills. To make learning student-centred, the teacher should
employ a wide variety of instructional strategies such as tiered activities, hands-on activities,
text, scaffolding and projects. Often students are provided with options in the instructional
activities they engage in as well as in the final assessment tool.

For additional information, see Annexure 7 A Framework for Adapting Curriculum

(Annexure 7).

3.3 Universal Design for Learning

Adapted from the architectural term universal design, Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
is a systematic approach to designing environments, curricula content, learning activities,
and materials to accommodate the needs of young children with the widest possible range
of abilities. The UDL provides a framework for planning how to present resources, provide
opportunities for strategic learning, and arrange environments for maximum engagement. (See
Annexure 5 on What is Universal Design?).

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As Figure 5 indicates, the first step in applying a UDL approach is understanding the
studentgathering student facts. Next it requires educators to think about three distinct
curriculum access points: content, process and product. Content of lesson or unit concerns
what is taught or what we want students to learn, know and do. Process of instruction
concerns how students go about making sense of what they are learning. And products
showing student success is how students demonstrate what has been learned (Tomlinson,
1995). These three access points directly reflect the three goals of UDL. Specifically, content
requires multiple representations of materials to be learned, process requires multiple means
for student engagement, and product requires multiple means for student expression.

Figure 5: UDL: Curriculum Access Points

It is important to ensure that UDL covers all aspects of schooling including leisure, sporting
and cultural activities, excursions etc. Ensuring that children with special needs have access
to informationhand-outs, timetables, textbooks, information about school eventsin their
preferred format, must be prioritised. For the visually impaired pupil, for example, information
could be in braille, audio tape, or large print. Symbols, communication boards and other ICT
could also be used.

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For inclusion to be successful, schools need to think creatively about a range of issues
related to school design and inclusion that are far more complex than just wheelchair access.
Improvements will include:
General physical access: architectural planning for accessibility (installation of
ramps, handrails, widened doorways, lifts, accessible toilets, adapted/adjustable
furniture and equipment, sufficient space for manoeuvring and storing equipment,
floor coverings).
Access for pupils with visual impairments: improved signage, route finding systems
to enable pupils to find their way easily around a school, colour contrasting e.g. for
door handles and steps to enable pupils to make best use of residual vision, adjustable
lighting, blinds, tactile paving outside the school).
Access for pupils with hearing impairments: induction loops, radio systems, infrared
systems, adjustable lighting, sound insulation for walls, floors and ceilings
Access to equipment such as ICT equipment, enlarged computer screens and keyboards,
adapted desks and chairs and writing equipment, e.g. pens as well as spaces such as
playgrounds and laboratories must be taken into account.

3.4 Principles that Underpin Inclusive Teaching and Learning

Effective inclusive teaching occurs when:

Students clearly understand what they will be learning, what they need to do and what
criteria will be use to judge when the learning has been achieved;
Links are made to learning elsewhere in the curriculum or in intervention groups, helping
students transfer their knowledge and understanding in different contexts;
Lesson starters and introductory activities create links with prior knowledge and
understanding, are active and enjoyable and create success;
There are frequent opportunities for purposeful talk, for learning through use of talk
partners or structured small-group tasks with supportive peers;
Students are encouraged to ask questions to clarify understanding;
Students have personal targets which they own and are working towards in the lesson;
The teacher models the process, explaining what they are doing, thinking and questioning
Strategies for active engagement through a range of different styles are used at various
points throughout lessons; and,
Lessons conclude with discussions that support pupils in reflecting openly on what they
have learned and how this fits with what is coming next.

How can we plan to include all of our pupils? Inclusive classrooms can be achieved through
careful lesson design. As shown in the figure below, four key factors affect lesson design:
learning objectives and intended outcomes; pedagogic approaches; teaching and learning
strategies; and conditions for learning.

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Figure 6: Factors Affecting Lesson Design

Source: SCERT, 2007.

Learning Objectives and Learning Outcomes: The learning objective(s) for a lesson will come
from the scheme of work. Having clearly defined the learning objective, it is important to go
one step further and consider the intended outcome. What will pupils produce at the end of
the lesson or sequence of lessons that will demonstrate the learning that has taken place? Will
they produce, a piece of writing, an artefact, a presentation or the solution to a problem? You
will need to be clear from the outset what a good-quality product will look like. This will help
you to clarify your expectations with students.

The nature of the learning objective for example, skill acquisition or developing understanding
will determine the approaches and strategies you use.

Pedagogic Approaches: Researchers have identified a number of different approaches to

teaching that can promote different types of learning. Each of these has a defined sequence of
episodes or steps that give a particular structure to the lesson. Some subjects have a strong
leaning towards particular approaches because of the nature of the content and demands of
the syllabus. The choice of pedagogic approach or teaching model will depend on the nature
of the learning objective. Examples of different approaches include direct interactive teaching,
inductive teaching and enquiry.

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Teaching and Learning Strategies: Within each pedagogic approach teachers may draw on
a range of strategies to maximise learning from their input. For example, within the direct
interactive teaching approach, modelling could be used to help pupils learn a new skill or
procedure. Other strategies include questioning and explaining. Each has a set of procedures
or methods that makes them effective. To embed learning and/or assess learning teachers
can select from a wide range of techniques such as card sorts, concept mapping or group
work. Learning how to employ each strategy effectively and which techniques are suitable
is the key to successful teaching. In an inclusive classroom varied activities will often occur
simultaneously. Therefore, teaching processes must undergo a shift from being teacher-
centered to learner-centered, which requires a different way of thinking and teaching within
the classroom.

Conditions for Learning: This has two components: the climate for learning and the classroom
organisation. Research shows that pupils learn most effectively when they feel motivated,
confident and successful.

The main factors contributing to an inclusive climate are:

Getting the pitch of the lesson right so pupils can recognise and demonstrate their
Establishing relationships which allow pupils to feel safe and able to respond;
Providing variety so that different learning styles can be accommodated over time;
Table and seating arrangements which are varied to suit different teaching strategies
and pupil groupings, and so enhance the learning process.

When working with children with developmental disabilities, teachers can accomplish a great
deal by managing the learning environment proactively to prevent behaviour problems and
promote learning. Students with special needs may lack key skills (e.g. capacity to interact
with other children in socially appropriate ways). Children with developmental disabilities
should, therefore, have explicit skills training in deficit areas as a central component in their
curriculum. Additional classroom ideas for accommodating students with significant special
needs are:
Use visual cues to orient student in the classroom.
Post a clear and predictable daily schedule: for a child who cannot read and does not
recognise pictures as depictions of actual objects and events, the schedule could consist
of objects that represent schedule entries, e.g. a wrapped chapatti can represent lunch
Build student motivation: motivation is the engine that drives student engagement and
Use strategies to make directions and learning expectations clearly understood:
provide directions in a language the child with special needs understands, use prompts
and guide him/her through performance sequence visual cues.
Provide structured opportunities for student to participate in social interactions
Create a plan to help the student to generalise their learning across settings and
situations: teach only a small number of key skills at one time so that you will have
enough time to work with the student on generalising each mastered skill to other

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3.5 Classroom Organisation

Managing effective learning can be greatly influenced by the layout of the classroom. If
teaching in a computer room, there is often nothing that can be done about the layout of the
room. The figure below shows a less-then-optimal classroom layout:

Figure 7: Classroom Layout

Why are there problems with this classroom layout? From the front of the classroom the
teacher cannot see all the pupils, nor can the teacher see what the pupils are doing. It would
be difficult to move behind each row of pupils. If the teacher needed to spend time with pupil
A, then the actions of the majority of the class would be unknown at worst, or difficult to
monitor at best. Constant movement around the classroom is important here.

Reflection Activity
Consider your classroom. What is the dominant furniture arrangement? How does this influence
the teaching and learning approaches you can use? Do any of the following present barriers to
zz The furniture is fixed and offers very limited scope for flexibility.
zz Some classes would not respond well to either having the furniture in different positions
or to moving it.

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zz You have no experience of teaching with different furniture arrangements.

zz The classroom may have too much stored in it and be untidy.

zz Consider swapping rooms on occasions when your furniture arrangement constrains

what you want to do in a particular lesson.

Points to Consider:
zz Can you move your table or do away with it altogether?

zz Having tables and chairs in rows is fine for pupils working individually. However, if you
want pupils to move about, this arrangement is possibly the worst of all, particularly
if large bags and other items belonging to pupils are strewn about. If you have fixed
furniture arranged in rows, think about what you can do to store these things elsewhere.

zz Circles of chairs allow large groups of pupils to see, talk and listen to each other. You can
be part of the circle or not, depending on your purpose. You can also use a horseshoe
shaped seating arrangement.

zz For group work, pupils need to be able to face each other to talk without having to shout
or move about.

zz On paper, plan some arrangements of tables and chairs. Give each table a letter or
number and map out two or three arrangements which will support your teaching and
help pupils learn more effectively. Make sure each plan shows exactly where the tables
and chairs should be. These room plans are very important and it will be helpful to
display them in your room so that pupils can refer to them.

zz Select a class you think will respond well to these changes in furniture, then choose a
lesson where a different arrangement will help. Think about what sorts of grouping you
will need. Will these stay the same for the whole lesson? What will the best furniture
arrangement be?

zz Plan your lesson. Be clear about how working in groups with different furniture
arrangements will help pupils learn, and rehearse your explanation to them.

zz Plan how pupils will be grouped, even if this is not essential. If you start out by putting
pupils into the groups that you want, it helps to establish this as a deliberate way of
working. Then it is easier to vary the type of grouping and the combinations of pupils in
the future. It also prevents pupils from getting into combinations that do not work
as well.

zz Rotate furniture regularly with a minimum of fuss. In your lesson plans, identify the
arrangements which are most appropriate and routinely explain to pupils why you have
chosen a particular arrangement.

zz Place students with disabilities according to their needs, e.g. hearing impaired, visually
impaired and children with short attention span need to be placed in the front of the

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Mock Practice Teaching Classes
Materials required: Grade 3 and 4 NCERT textbooks in social science and math; waste
material (e.g. leaves, paper rolls, empty boxes, socks, buttons, wool, etc.) for creating Teaching/
Learning Material (TLM), scissors, six paint boxes, medium paintbrushes (1 per participant),
whistle, glue, coloured paper, and chart paper:
zz Allow time to plan inclusive lesson plan with TLMin groups for mock practice teaching
classes and to get feedback and conclude. Use the format given below to support your
planning process.
zz Provide the teachers with the NCERT books.
zz Ask participants to choose a topic of their choice and develop an inclusive lesson,
assuming children with disabilities with specific learning characteristics are also part of
the class. Each group will develop TLM using available waste material.
zz Each group will transact the lesson in front of others in a mock classroom situation.
zz Collect feedback on each lesson from other participants and discuss.

4. Early Literacy, Numeracy and Language

Early literacy, numeracy and language are important areas of learning in a childs early
development. This section helps explain why some children with special needs find it difficult
to master early these abilities and how a teacher can devise her pedagogic strategies for
enabling children to acquire literacy, numeracy and language. Teachers are, to a great extent,
influenced by their own views about what they are teaching. For example, how they view
literacy and numeracy greatly determines their beliefs about how students should be taught. In
the past decade, there has been a significant change in the meanings of literacy and numeracy
and it is therefore important for teachers to have current knowledge about these constructs
and their implications for teaching.

4.1 Importance of Developing Language, Literacy and Numeracy Skills for Children
with Disabilities

It is important for all children to develop language, literacy and numeracy skills. Language
is the main way in which people make sense of what they experience. Language includes
listening, speaking, reading and writing and visual communication. Often literacy is referred
to the cognitive skills related specifically to reading and writing. Literacy involves students in
listening, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts.
Numeracy involves understanding number relationships. For school-based learning, this forms
the basis of learning advanced mathematics. In the home, workplace and community, numeracy
enables people to understand, for example, how to make purchases, make a family budget,
understand statistics reported in media or calculate invoices at the workplace. Numeracy is
not simply about making calculations; rather, it is about understanding number relationships
to make sense of our experiences, interpret data, solve problems and make decisions.

Children who are not able to develop adequate reading, writing, numeracy and
communication skills are more likely to drop out of school. A child who cannot read and

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comprehend the written text will not be able to master other skills and knowledge and
will not be able to do well in school-based learning.8 Thus, providing children with the
opportunity to develop literacy, numeracy and language skills remains an equity issue since
communication, reading, writing and numeracy skills are needed at home, in the workplace
and the larger society.

The Importance of Language, Literacy and Numeracy
Objective: to help participants understand the importance of language, literacy and numeracy in
everyday life.
zz Divide the participants into groups of 5-6.
zz Ask each group to identify three separate activities they carry out in the home, workplace
and community.
zz Ask groups to discuss and write down how they would carry out the activities if they did
not know how to read and write or have numeracy skills.

4.2 Challenges Faced by Children in Acquiring Language, Literacy and Numeracy

The acquisition of language, literacy and numeracy skills is influenced by a number of factors.
While learning to speak is natural for most children as they are immersed in and surrounded
by people who continuously use speech for meaningful purposes, some disabilities such as
autism may make it challenging for a child to acquire language.

Learning to be literate is challenging for many children, including those without a disability.
Several factors contribute to this. Children from homes and communities where print is not a
part of everyday life, may not see learning to read and write as meaningful. Learning to read
and write could often be seen as a burden with no personal relevance. In such situations,
the child does not have any motivation to persevere in making meaning of the printed word.
For many children, their mother tonguethe language they speak at homeis different
from the language of instruction in school. As a result, many cannot comprehend what is
happening in the classroom. The disability itself could also pose a challenge. A child with
cerebral palsy may find it difficult to learn to read and write in the traditional sense, but may
make considerable progress in communicating with the use of alternative and augmentative
communication methods. In some cases, the pedagogic practices followed in schools may
also hinder a childs acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills. The teacher has to learn how
to teach in ways that overcome such challenges and provide the best opportunities for all
students to achieve their full potential. Not only must the teacher design learning environment,
teaching strategies and assessment to meet the needs of a diverse group of children, but must
also implement an individualized learning plan based on the childs unique needs and

8 For additional information see http://www.languageandlearning.in/pdfs/resources/Reading-and-Equity.pdf.

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Difficulties in Learning Literacy and Numeracy
1. Divide the participants into groups of 5-6.
2. Ask each group to identify children in their classrooms who experience difficulty in acquiring
literacy and numeracy skills.
3. Ask each group to analyse the specific difficulty that each child faces and possible reasons
for the difficulty (i.e. lack of exposure to print in the home or the community, unfamiliarity
with language or specific disability of the child, etc.).

4.3 Early Literacy

The development of reading skills at an early age kindergarten through Grade 3 is of

paramount importance to a childs success in school and later in life. Children with disabilities
have fewer literacy opportunities in the home, and when literacy opportunities arise, children
who are nonverbal face particular difficulties in learning language and associated concepts.
It is important for teachers to remember that all children can learn to read, if given the
opportunity. Instead of believing that students cannot do something, the focus should be
on providing effective explicit instructions. Having a deep knowledge and awareness of the
students strengths and weaknesses is critical. (Annexure 6 contains suggested activities to
teach pre-writing and pre-reading skills).

All activities can be integrated with language development activities.

Support a literacy environment: Children must have the opportunity to look at
storybooks, turn pages and look at pictures and details in the illustrations. Storybooks
must have large pictures with bold text, preferably just two to three lines.

Story reading/narration with children sitting around the teacher who points at the text
and shows pictures, asks questions, and reads with intonation develops many pre-
reading concepts such as:

zz The book has to be held in the correct manner.

zz It has a title.

zz Left to right movement of the print except Urdu.

zz Text or words talk about pictures.

zz There is a sequence in the story a beginning, middle and end.

zz There are characters in the story.

zz There is a place where the story takes place.

Print environment: Children effortlessly pick up words from the environment without
actually reading the letters. The shape and the associations with it helps them to identify
words such as their name, the name of their city or school, and brand names (Maggi,
Colgate, Lux).

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Labelling the environment, especially in the classroom, makes children familiar with
print and also gives the frequent exposure to remember the word before they can actually
start reading.
Rhymes help children to pronounce the sounds in the words as they are repeated
often. Also they are able to make associations when they see the same words in
Picture reading: Showing large pictures, asking questions about the pictures, focusing
on details, asking them to imagine and make up a story prepares children for reading

Over 20 years of research has demonstrated that deficits in phonological processing

are related to reading failure. Phonological processing refers to the use of phonological
information (that is, the sounds of ones language) in understanding written and oral
language. Phonological processing is comprised of two separate, but not necessarily
unrelated kinds of abilities: phonological awareness and phonological coding. Children
who successfully learn an alphabetic system become explicitly aware of phonemic units
and can perform a wide variety of phonological analysis tasks, that is, tasks requiring the
segmentation of sound units.

4.4 Early Numeracy

Early numeracy concepts are best acquired with the help of appropriate concrete material (and
manipulatives) available in the environment. Learning must have an element of fun. As shown
in the box below, all concepts should be introduced in a specific sequence. Children need to
practice every concept in concrete ways and then move on to practice in semi-concrete and
abstract ways. All children should practice in actual context and relate the concepts to real life
situations to make learning meaningful.

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Sequence of Numeracy Concepts
zz Seriation: differentiates objects by size, length, height and can seriate or grade objects

zz Sorting: is able to sort identical objects into groups or sets.

zz Patterns and sequencing: orders objects in a simple patterns and sequence.

zz Matching: can match sets of objects in one to one correspondence. Demonstrates

understanding of more/less.

zz Rote counts numbers in sequence.

zz Demonstrates number concept/value.

zz Can join sets to add objects up to 10.

The role of reading and language in math success must not be underestimated and concepts
must be clarified by utilising everyday familiar objects as shown below:

It is critical that children with special needs are able to acquire early numerical competencies
which include the ability to quickly identify the numerical value associated with small
quantities, the use of basic counting skills, and the ability to approximate the magnitudes of
small numbers and objects. Effective mathematics instruction for diverse learners includes the
Explicit and systematic instruction with guided practice, corrective feedback, frequent
cumulative review;
Use of visual representations (e.g. number lines, graphs, drawings of objects or tallies);
Use of motivational strategies (e.g. making connections to real-world content);
Support for problem solving through instruction on specific strategies and when to use
Systematic assessment of student progress; and
Opportunities to practice basic facts and algorithms to build fluency.

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4.5 Reading

Reading instruction within a balanced literacy framework typically includes (a) modelled
reading during which the teacher reads to students, (b) shared reading in which the teacher
and students read together, (c) guided reading in which the student reads with guidance or
coaching from the teacher, and (d) independent reading.

Students with special needs often display reading difficulties, such as challenges with inferential
and critical thinking, processing deficits, and memory deficits and writing challenges such
as poor organisation, idea generation, and spelling. Literacy material and curricula must be
adapted with reading strategies taught individually and explicitly. Depending on the students
characteristics, different perspectives on literacy, including communication devices, Braille,
computer-assisted instruction, or visual strategies such as picture communication systems,
may need to be used.

Some adaptations to reading instruction may include (a) the use of naturally occurring events
(incidental teaching or teachable moments), (b) combining verbal and visual formats,
(c) using fast-paced random responding, and (d) embedding sight-word recognition tasks
during play activities. Listening to stories and sharing them, capitalising on students interests
and preferences, and creating an instructional environment rich in language and literacy
are essential. Shared storybook reading, in addition to providing access to the text, is one
practical way to promote emergent reading development because oral language and listening
are significant components in the reading process. Audio books can be extremely important for
children with special needs, particularly children with developmental disabilities.

The importance of structural (i.e. material resources) and instructional (i.e. teacherchild
interactions) features of class room learning environments to childrens emergent literacy
development is quite clear. The structural literacy environment dimension comprises the
tangible literacy materials that are available to children in a classroom setting, such as
childrens books, print props (e.g. shopping lists, calendars), and adapted writing materials
(e.g. markers, pens, papers). Classrooms with a high-quality structural literacy environment
are those that include a collection of high-interest childrens books, both picture books as well
as simple books in the childs mother tongue. The books should vary in the level of difficulty
from simple to more complex text and represent a variety of text genres, such as information,
alphabet, concept, and rhyming texts. The characteristic of a high-quality instructional
literacy environments include teachers open-ended questioning, engaging children in frequent
conversations, modelling complex vocabulary, scaffolding complex thinking, and providing
explicit instruction on language and literacy skills.

Phonics instruction should not be considered a prerequisite skill to be mastered before other
components can be addressed. Rather, phonics should be presented concurrently with the
other components of literacy instruction to form a balanced approach.

Utilising Cognitive Learning Strategies:

Cognitive strategiesare one type oflearning strategyused by students to learn more successfully.
These include repetition, organising new language, summarisingmeaning, guessing meaning
from context, using imagery for memorisation. Cognitive learning strategies that enable
students to read with better comprehension and complete tasks independently may also be
introduced to support student learning. Modelling strategic behaviours by thinking aloud while
students listen (and hence, allowing students to think along) is the first step in raising student

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awareness of what it means to be a strategic learner. During a think aloud, the teacher
models how to stop periodically throughout a text and authentically reflect aloud what is being
mentally processed and understood. Preparing and modelling an effective think aloud has
four important steps (Tovani, 2000).
First, choose a short piece of text that will be of high interest to students and one that
will allow for the modelling of a specific meta-cognitive strategy of choice.
Second, anticipate which areas within the text may challenge the readers comprehension
and make a note to highlight portions in the think aloud.
Third, read the text aloud to students as well as having a paper copy of the text for each
child or have on a projector so the text reaches auditory and visual learners combined.
Lastly, highlight specific words that instantly trigger a thought or emotion and authentically
explain what is mentally being processed.

During a think aloud the teacher essentially verbalizes aloud while reading orally. S/he will
ask questions such as Do I understand what I have just read? or ask What was important in
what I have just read? By modelling the student learns how to monitor his/ her understanding
by using the same strategy.

When teaching cognitive strategies, teachers should model (a) why the strategy is used
(conditional knowledge) by providing specific reasons for the strategy selection, (b) how the
strategy is used (procedural knowledge) by providing explicit instruction absent of ambiguity,
and (c) what strategies to select in specific situations (declarative knowledge) by selecting
the appropriate strategy to match the situation and/or not being too rigid with how to use the

Effective strategies to be applied before, during, and after reading:

Before reading strategies typically focus on activating prior knowledge, building
background knowledge, and setting a purpose for reading. Activities may include
discussion, the use of graphic organisers such as semantic webs and KWL (Know, Want
to Know and Learn) charts, previewing related video, looking at titles, illustrations, and
tables of contents, teaching vocabulary as needed, and making predictions.
During reading strategies might involve identifying connections to personal experiences,
asking questions and prompting students to ask questions, discussing vocabulary,
making inferences, teaching strategies for reading unfamiliar words, and sharing
Finally, teachers prompt the use of after reading strategies such as checking student
predictions, questioning, analysing, and responding to the reading. For example,
question-generation strategy instruction teaches students directly how to generate and
respond to questions about text. Generating questions helps students identify the main
ideas and details of the text. One example of a question-generation strategy is QAR
(Questions-Answer Relationship Strategy), which classifies questions into two main
types: (a) in the book and (b) in my head. In the book questions can be found explicitly
stated in the text or require the reader to think and search (i.e. inferential; the answer
can be found by synthesising different sections of the text). In my head questions involve
linking information from the author and me (i.e. the answer can be inferred by linking
information from the text with prior knowledge and past experiences) and making
connections based on prior knowledge and experience. When introducing students to

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question-generation strategy instruction, procedural prompts such as visual cues, self-

monitoring checklists, scaffolding and peer teaching are recommended.

5. Use of Assistive Devices, ICT and Other

Resource Support to Meet the Specific Needs
Undoubtedly, literacy and numeracy learning of many students with special needs will be
influenced by their individual characteristics and they may not always achieve the same
outcomes as their peers. For example, students with cerebral palsy with associated intellectual
impairment may have cognitive and linguistic difficulties which will influence their pace to
develop literacy and numeracy. Teachers must recognise the role of Accessible Instructional
Materials (AIM) and the use of technology to remove barriers for students with special needs,
particularly students with sensory, physical, and intellectual disabilities.

Technology can support the move towards inclusion by enhancing curriculum access,
participation and progress through increased independence, personal productivity and

Important Definition: An assistive technology device is any item, piece of equipment, or product
system, acquired commercially off-the-shelf, modified, or customised, that is used to increase,
maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Assistive technology includes a range of technologies, which enable people to build upon
their abilities and participate as fully as possible at home, school and in the community.
Assistive technology is the key to making educational environments inclusive for individuals
with significant disabilities. Technology can increase access to new experiences, new activities
and new environments, bridging the gap imposed by a disability. This type of technology is
considered a powerful tool for inclusion. ...technology in the area of assistive technology is
critical and can facilitate the support and full participation of an individual in daily tasks and
activities (Rocklage, Gillett, Peschong, and Delhorey (1995).

Teachers should endeavour to ensure that children with special needs have access to
need-based assistive technology, which provides for maximum participation in social
and educational environments. Through the use of assistive technology devices, many
students can become an important part of a regular classroom. Today, schools increasingly
utilise assistive technology for a range of special needs ranging from a child with a
hearing impairment who might utilise a classroom amplification system, or a child with
a severe physical limitation who may use a switch to respond to yes and no questions.
Screen readers that read aloud the text on the screen are another type of assistive
technology that can help students with visual impairment overcome barriers to accessing
electronic information. Assistive technology should be considered a basic tool in the
educational process for students with special needs to make tasks easier, quicker and/or more

For example, for a non-verbal child, expressing his/her needs and being able to respond to
questions may be a challenge. Something as simple as wanting a drink of water may be
impossible for a non-verbal child to express. Teachers need to find ways to help such a child
communicate by choosing an augmentative communication device such as a picture board
(see below) that could support the child to express himself/herself.

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Augmentative and alternative communication is a term used to describe items that are used
to help increase or augment a students ability to communicate. These include pictures,
symbols, and printed words. They may simply be printed on pieces of paper or cardboard or
used on a computer or a voice output device. As noted by Sheets and Wirkus (1997), When
augmentative communication devices or strategies are placed in the classroom, not only do
they provide vehicles for children who are minimally verbal, but they facilitate meaningful
participation and communication for all students.

When choosing assistive technology, three critical elements should be considered: the
environment, the individual, and the characteristics and levels of the technology (Gitlow,
2000). Assistive technology may be classified as being high-, middle-, or low-tech.

A low-tech assistive technology option is usually easy to use and low cost and typically does
not require a power source. Communication or picture boards are low tech devices, and
can be very simple, ranging from two or three pictures, to more complex boards. Other low
tech and low cost devices include pencil grips, book holders, reading stands, sign language,
gesture, book overlays, white cane, tilt chair, height adjustable desk, and slope board.

Middle-tech assistive devices are also easy to operate, but typically require a power
source. These could include hearing aids, Braille paper and styluses, magnifying glasses,
talking calculator or photocopier to enlarge a page of text.

The high-tech assistive device is usually complex and programmable, and includes items that
require computers, electronics or microchips to perform a function. These often high cost
devices could include large keyboards, screen readers, Braille display and scan/read software,
and Dolphin pen.

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An example of the application of technology could range from a voice input word processor
(high-tech) to a student using an adapted pencil grip or slanted slope (low-tech) to assist during
writing. Such types of technology vary from low-tech options that can be easily accommodated
into ones life, to those that are high-tech and depend upon sophisticated communication and
environmental systems.

Examples of Assistive Devices

There are various kinds of assistive technologies, ranging from instructional material aids, seating
and positioning aids, and sensory aids. The other assistive technology application areas are aids
for daily living, communication and augmentative communication tools, environmental control
systems, leisure time or recreational adaptations, mobility aids, prosthetics and orthotics, and
vehicle modifications. When considering the level of the technology, consider the levels of how
the assistive technology devices or services could be applied into the classroom environment.
Are the items personally, developmentally, or instructionally necessary?

Personal assistive technology items are devices that are used by an individual student who
must have the technology to be able to function, and the technology is only for them.Such
an example is an augmentative communication device such as a speaking keyboard. The
developmental level would imply that while the technology is currently necessary for an

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individual, he or she should, through time and assistance, progress or develop out of its need.
For example, a student with vocabulary and language difficulty may use a portable talking
dictionary to look up new words and as she grows familiar with the language, may stop using
this device.

Instructionally necessary devices and/or services are those used with a modification of the
instructional process in a subject area course or grade level. In other words, come technologies
are needed to fufill the requirements put forth by the class or grade level. A student may be
in a science course and needs to manipulate equipment, such as a microscope, but an injury
may make it difficult for the child. By adding extensions onto the microscope controlling knobs
or by using a digital camera microscope, the student can fulfill all the course requirements
with accommodations, much as any other student. These material accommodations and
adaptations should also be available to any other student in the class interested in using them.
This is a basic component of inclusive education, allowing any student better access or access
in a more appropriate alternative format to the information being taught.

Assistive technology allows students with special needs to access physical environments, be
mobile, communicate effectively, access computers, and enhance functional skills that may be
difficult without the use of technology. For students with multiple disabilities involving severe
communication difficulties, augmentative and alternative communication devices are essential.
Speech synthesisers, Braille-to-print conversion, and speech devices can significantly facilitate
students learning.

Assistive Technology and Learning
zz Divide participants into groups of 3-4.
zz Ask them to go back to the five case studies in Unit II (pg. 38-39 and think of assistive
technology that could have supported learning for the children.
zz Ask the groups to present key ideas.

6. Understanding Behaviour Management

Some students with disabilities may display challenging behaviours and do not always respond
to the usual methods of discipline. To implement effective instructional activities, it may be
necessary to first focus on managing the students behaviour. Behaviour problems are often
the primary concern of teachers and parents, because they disrupt the learning of both the
student and other students in the class, and the harmony in the family.

6.1 Process for Promoting Positive Behaviour

A systematic plan is necessary for changing behaviour and teachers need to be skilled in
handling the learning environment to address challenging behaviour with appropriate
intervention. Any behaviour intervention plan should be based on an understanding of the
characteristics of the child with a disability, as well as knowledge of the students strengths
and needs. Understanding that all behaviour has a communicative function is essential in
developing a successful intervention plan. A behaviour intervention plan is developed through

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a collaborative problem-solving process involving the significant people in the students life,
including parents, classroom teachers, special educators, and classroom assistants, and it
may include others, such as principals and psychologists.

The major steps of the behavioural problem-solving process are:

Identifying the problem behaviour
Identifying the function of the behaviour and contributing factors
Identifying an alternative behaviour
Developing instructional strategies for addressing changing challenging behaviour
Developing the behaviour intervention plan
Evaluating the behaviour intervention plan

Identifying the Problem Behaviour: Identify and describe the behaviour in observable terms,
including where and when it occurs, what usually happens before the behaviour, and the typical
reactions of other people. The student may display more than one challenging behaviour.
Expecting to change all behaviours may not be reasonable, and priorities for intervention will
need to be established. First, determine if the behaviour actually poses a problem.
Is the behaviour potentially harmful to the student or others?
Does it interfere with the students learning or the learning of others?
Does it result in negative reactions and/or avoidance by peers and adults?

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Identifying the Function of the Behaviour and Contributing Factors: The function or purpose
of a behaviour is not always obvious. Collect information about the student, behaviour,
environment, and consequences to determine what purpose the behaviour serves and what
factors contribute to maintaining the behaviour. To determine the underlying contributing
factors, conduct a thorough assessment of the behaviour and the context in which it occurs,
and consider:
When and where the behaviour occurs
What is going on in the setting when the behaviour occurs, and/or
Who else is involved or near the student

The assessment process should include gathering significant information about the student,
such as:
Likes and dislikes
Fears and frustrations
Communication skills
Strengths and needs
Social interactions
Typical responses to sensory stimuli

Analysis of the students responses to stimuli may reveal unexpected connections to seemingly
small things in the environment. For example, a student who is hypersensitive to sound may
be bothered by the humming of the tube lights. Keep track of such information and ensure
that it is passed along to other people who work with the student, especially during important
transitions to new classes or when there are staff changes.

Problem behaviours may be a result of other characteristics associated with the child with a
disability. For example, in the case of a child with autism, it might be due to problems with
interpreting verbal information, limited verbal expression, impairment in social skills, and
different responses to sensory stimulation. In this instance, what appears to be a lack of co-
operation may be the result of not understanding expectations or not knowing what is going
to happen.

Functional analysis of behaviour is the process of identifying the function or functions that a
specific behaviour serves for the individual, and is based on the premise that all behaviour
serves some purpose. In the case of children with autism who may have difficulties with
language, look at all behaviour from the perspective of its communication function. The
purpose of the behaviour may be to:
Communicate a need or want
Gain attention
Gain a tangible consequence
Escape from an unpleasant situation
Gain a sensory consequence
Make a comment or declaration
Release tension

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Information for a functional behavioural analysis can be found through:

Review of the students records
Interviews with people who are most knowledgeable about the student in the situation,
such as a family member
Observation and recording behavioural data
Observation of student to acquire insight into behaviour (observe the settings where the
problem behaviour occurs or does not occur)

The process of collecting the information for a functional behavioural analysis involves:
Identifying antecedents (what happened just before the behaviour, where the behaviour
occurred, and with whom the behaviour occurred)
Describing the behaviour
Identifying consequences (what happened after, and as a result of, the behaviour)

When describing the students behaviour:

Include the frequency, intensity, and duration of the behaviour (for example, when
describing a tantrum, include how many times a day a student has tantrums and how
long the tantrums last)
Be specific (for example, screaming can vary in intensity and duration, and may or may
not be a behaviour to target if the intensity is mild)
Identify the situation where the behaviour does and does not occur (for example, a
behaviour may only occur in the school cafeteria or on the bus)
Use clear and objective language

Analyse the information to identify patterns and anything that may be triggering the behaviour.
Ensure that the assessment includes an analysis of the relationship between the problem
behaviour and the environmental conditions in which the behaviour occurs.

Many useful formats and forms have been developed for use when conducting a functional
assessment. (See Annexure 8 for an example of behaviour observation and data collection
chart for determining the functions of behaviour.)

Identifying an Alternative Behaviour: A functional behaviour analysis provides a foundation

for developing a behaviour intervention plan. The success of the plan depends more on
instructional and proactive strategies than on reactive ones.

Once the purpose of a behaviour has been determined or hypothesised, it is possible to identify
an alternative, more appropriate behaviour that can serve the same function. For example, if a
student pushes materials on the floor to avoid a task that is too difficult, the student may need
to be taught another more acceptable way to get away from doing an activity that is connected
with feelings of failure, or better yet, be taught how to ask for assistance in an appropriate way.
These alternative behaviours may not be in the students repertoire. The focus of the behaviour
intervention is instruction rather than discipline. The goal is to increase the students use of
an alternative, more appropriate means of achieving the same purpose.

The alternative behaviour is usually a more effective way to communicate or interact with
other people, and may be a more appropriate means of seeking sensory stimulation, or an
appropriate method for reducing anxiety such as relaxation exercises, visual imagery, going to

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a quiet place. For example, a student who bangs on the desk as a way of dealing with anxiety
caused by uncomfortable proximity to other students can be taught to go to a prearranged
quiet spot in the class as an alternative behaviour. The alternative behaviour may also involve
using anger management and self- control techniques.

Do not assume that the student has the skills necessary to engage in the alternative behaviour.
Systematic instruction and reinforcement is often necessary.

Developing Instructional Strategies for Addressing Challenging Behaviour

Environmental adaptations: Problem behaviours can often be reduced or eliminated by

making changes in the environment. The assessment and analysis of the behaviour may
indicate that it occurs within specific areas, or during specific times, such as transitions.
Sometimes the likelihood of the behaviour occurring can be minimised by making environmental
accommodations. This suggestion does not mean that the entire classroom has to be changed
for one student, but adjustments can be made depending on the students individual needs.

Possible environmental adaptations include:

Removing distracting stimuli
Decreasing sensory stimuli if feasible, e.g. noise from the outside
Making changes in physical arrangements, such as seating
Providing a clear and predictable schedule
Alternating more difficult and demanding tasks with those that are easier and more
Providing choices
Providing access to favourite activities and peers

Positive programming strategies: Providing a programme that emphasises the development of

communication and positive behaviours in a predictable and rewarding environment can help
to reduce the frequency and severity of problem behaviours. These strategies include:
Providing engaging, meaningful learning activities;
Using effective and inclusive questioning techniques;
Using differentiated instructional practices, and making accommodations for different
learning styles;
Teaching the student to make choices and providing opportunities for choice within the
Providing instruction at a level appropriate to the student;
Monitoring the students response to the environment and adapting it to reduce the
likelihood of anxiety responses before they happen;
Reinforcing appropriate behaviour with reinforcements that are meaningful to the
individual student;
Planning well for lessons - lag time is when behaviour problems often arise; and
Providing independent work that is developmentally appropriate and within the students

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Unit IV:
Convergence and

Table 13: Overview of Unit IV

Unit IV: Collaboration, Convergence and Teamwork

Content Methodology Expected Outcomes

1. What is Collaboration? zz Brainstorming, group zz Recognise the importance

2. Importance of work and presentation of collaborations in effective
Collaboration for Inclusion implementation of inclusive
zz Self-learning Materials
3. Characteristics of Effective education.
Teacher Collaboration
zz Discuss the role of various
4. Strategies for Collaboration stakeholders in planning
and organising inclusive
classroom practices.
zz Describe the process of
building partnerships with
other participants.
zz Develop a programme of
action to generate human
and material resources
through active collabora-

Collaboration is critically important in the process of putting inclusive education into action
in the most effective and efficient way. It is important for the school administrators and
teachers to appreciate the value of teamwork with specific reference to inclusive education.
The module presents various doable options for collaboration across a range of possible

One of the major reasons why a general schoolteacher resists inclusive education set-ups is that
teachers are usually left alone in the classroom with multiple roles to be played. While policy
provisions immediately add to the diversity amongst learners, human and material resources
are developed at a much slower pace. Under such situations, the teachers unpreparedness
often leads to a feeling of helplessness and incompetence.

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1. What is Collaboration?
Collaboration has been described in the following ways:
Sharing plans, instruction, evaluation responsibilities for students
Pooling talents, joint responsibility and accountability; expanding time, energy and
resources for a working goal
Co-ordinating, distributing leadership, creating positive interdependence and parity
Co-operating, sharing equal status, making unique contributions
Collaboration can be between special and general education teacher, teacher and parents,
specialists such as occupational therapist, speech therapist, doctor, and others.

Definition: Co-operation versus Collaboration

Cooperative work is accomplished by the division of labour among participants, as an activity
where each person is responsible for a portion of the problem solving, whereas collaboration
involves the ... mutual engagement of participants in a coordinated effort to solve the problem
together. (Rosschelle and Teasely, 1995)

Collaboration and Partnerships
zz Ask participants to share their experiences in the class rooms, with specific reference to
inclusive classrooms.
zz Experiences and, in some cases, apprehensions, may be collated through either
boardwork or small group discussions; each group can write down the issues and
challenges faced by them. Issues related to the expertise and time required to attend to
the learning needs of children with disability will undoubtedly be raised.
zz The facilitator can discuss how collaboration is the key to successful inclusion.

2. Collaboration for Inclusion

For inclusive education to be successful, multiple associations need to be developed. Whereas
it may be difficult for an individual regular schoolteacher to manage all the aspects of inclusive
planning all alone, it will be of significance that they are aware of an effective inclusive
education set-up. A perfect scenario obviously requires that these collaborations are built at a
systemic level; however, a responsive teacher can initiate the process of building partnerships
and gradually mobilise others around herself/himself. The following partnerships may be
With other teachers
With the counsellor
With medical professionals/para professionals
With the resource teacher

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With parents
With siblings
With community: professionals, youth and adults from the community

Partnerships for Inclusion
zz Divide participants into groups of 5-6.
zz Give one partnership from the above list and ask groups to brainstorm and summarise
how that association can add value to an inclusive set-up.
zz One participant from each group can present the points of discussion.

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3. Characteristics of Effective Teacher

It is voluntary. Teachers must choose to collaborate.
It requires parity among participants, thereby ensuring that everyones contributions
are valued equally.
It is based on mutual goals. Clearly defined goals are the first step to avoid any confusion
and miscommunications.
It depends on shared responsibility for key decision making. Teachers may divide their
activities and areas of responsibility when engaged in collaborative activities; however,
each one is an equal partner in making the fundamental decisions about the activities
they are undertaking.
It requires accountability for student outcomes. This characteristic follows directly from
shared responsibility. That is, if teachers share key decisions, they must also share
accountability for the results of their decisions, whether those results are positive or
It relies on sharing of resources (time, expertise, space, equipment). Each teacher
participating in a collaborative effort contributes some type of resource.

Although inclusive schools tend to be beneficial for all those involved, it is critical to iron out
any existing systemic barriers. The key to successful change is the improvement in relationships
between all involved and not simply the imposition of top down reform. The new emphasis
through educational change is based on creating the conditions to develop the capacity
of both organisations and individuals to learn. Collaboration can be seen as consisting of
both organisational aspects as well as inter-personal aspects. The focus moves away from an
emphasis on structural change towards changing the culture of classrooms and schools, an
emphasis on relationships and values. When a situation is structured competitively, individuals
work against each other to achieve a goal that only one or a few can attain (Johnson &
Johnson, 1989). Collaboration, on the other hand, fosters positive interdependence. Thus
collaborative teams move towards their common aim, by supporting and complementing each
other; they enhance the participation of each individual student in the classroom. Simple as
this may seem, collaborative efforts are often confronted by a multitude of challenges which
make attempts to bring the needed change seem very complex to achieve.

Singh (2009) states that inclusion of children with disabilities can only become a reality when
general and special educators collaborate to provide transfer of skills to ensure effective
learning (academic and social) for all children with disabilities. Each of them has a specific
skill set, and to create an enabling learning environment, a common ground between these two
perspectives must be found. Thus, the need for a collaborative partnership between general
and special education is imperative for student success. Successfully including all students,
including those with a range of disabilities, in general education schools and classrooms
means changes for all members of the educational community: changes in characteristics of
students in their classrooms, changes in the way curriculum is interpreted, and changes in
professional and personal relationships. Transitions can be a difficult and an emotional time for
educators as they dismantle the existing system (which they know so well) and replace it with
one whose purpose, process and outcomes are questionable. These transformations do not
come easily and their genesis is in each individual and fundamental philosophy and attitude
about the education of individuals with diverse learning needs. Recent school expectations
reflect a concern for breaking the barriers created by general and special education to develop
a cohesive system. If teaching is challenging, collaborating is even more so.

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Collaboration for providing positive change includes the following9:
Shared vision and developing a plan:
zz A situational analysis of the school and classroom, with analysis of its strengths and
challenges, with respect to the specific children with disability.
Introducing the change:
zz Creating a joint action plan, according to the wisdom of all members, which includes
general and special educators.
Expanding the innovation.
Information, in-service training, technical assistance, role release.
Maintaining the change.
Fostering of relationships - roles and responsibilities.
Effective communication systems.
Celebrating successes.

Trust building is foremost on the agenda, since no ground can be gained without the boundaries
amongst the general and special educators being deconstructed. Adopting a collaborative mode
requires a radical change in the way educators think and go about their daily practices. General
and special education teachers are prepared quite differently, use distinctive professional
language, and largely inhabit different educational terrains. The areas of divergence in
general and special education occur in content expertise versus instructional adaptation and
modification expertise. Collaborative teams encourage feelings of positive interdependence,
promote creative problem solving, merge the unique talents of skilful educators and lead to an
acceptance of mutual responsibility for student learning.

Two individual factors that can create barriers to teamwork are the perception that collaborative
teaching would increase the teachers workload and individual teachers attitudes about
developing co-operative working relationships. The most frequent organisational factor
hampering teamwork can be the lack of time to meet to plan and prepare the lessons since
teachers had heavy workloads. Inclusive practices are harder to implement in schools where
large classes, fragmented schedules and a focus on specialisation inhibit collaboration amongst
teachers. Collaboration is a key ingredient for teaching diverse student groups. Collaborative
teaching, while offering its own stresses and uncertainties, is an important way to resist the
inclination to teach to students comfort zones and venture into unknown areas, which
may reveal exciting possibilities through many minds coming together in order to address
the challenges of inclusion. A team self-check should occur to make sure each team member
assumes the role of initiator for equal amounts of time so that one teacher is not always
leading/choosing the planning and decision-making process.

Strengthening collaboration between teachers and special educators
zz Divide participants into small groups:
Ask them to discuss how teachers and special educators can find appropriate time
for planning and communicating with each other for review of plans and also involve
parents in this process.

9 Singh, 2009.

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General education teachers and special education teachers must work together with families and
other professionals to provide instruction for both students with and without disabilities. The
most important variable of any true shared responsibility/relationship is a time and place for
collaborative conversations and common planning. To have true shared responsibility and shared
teaching, lessons must be planned together. The key is to share information and ideas about
meeting students needs.

4. Strategies for Collaboration

The following framework for meaningful collaboration can be used when co-planning:
Shared, but differentiated roles: each planning meeting participant takes a different
role e.g. an initiator, i.e. the person who will lead the conversation, usually the one who
is bringing up the topic of concern. There is also a facilitator i.e. someone whose role is
to facilitate consensus.
Clear purpose or question: each meeting should have a stated purpose. The initiator
states the purpose or question and the facilitator(s) asks questions to clarify the purpose
and question to be addressed.
Summarisation/examination: the team should take time in each meeting to summarise
and examine the purpose or question raised. This should be done by establishing
the pattern of behaviour or teaching need/lesson objective, explicitly discussing each
team members feeling about the purpose and question and identifying aspects of the
classroom/school/instructional environments that need to be addressed.
Interventions, lesson plan, and predictions: the team should come up with at least three
interventions or instructional methods to address the question or purpose as well as the
desired and realistic predicted outcomes for each of the three plans for all students/
individuals involved. Lessons and interventions (including behavioural plans) must be
differentiated and universally designed for all students in the class from the onset, in
contrast to being modified after general education teachers plan the lesson and share it
with other professionals.
Evaluation: the planning team should come up with evaluation plan(s) for each of the
three methods from step four. This plan should include, at a minimum, how teachers will
keep track of the lesson/intervention, each students progress, and follow-up meetings
to re-assess and adjust plan.

To meet the goals of inclusion of children with disabilities
Teachers must have a vision of inclusive teaching and schoolinga vision that is clear enough to
guide action; connect the vision to daily practices, as well as to school policies and practices:
Teachers must build a wider teaching repertoire that addresses and removes barriers within the
teaching learning processes.
Teachers must transform their view of student learning, accepting the premise that all students
are capable of learning complex material.
Teacher must transform their teaching roles. They are not simply providers of knowledge; they
must also adapt classroom strategies to meet individual student needs.

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Annexure 1: National and International Policies,

Acts and Conventions for Education
At the international level, the new human rights based approach to disability has become
more accepted. In addition to UN declarations, the Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992)
and the Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993-2002) were endorsed by all nations
in the Asia Pacific region. This had a significant effect on policies regarding persons with
disabilities, paving the way for future principles and policies that seek better acceptance
and inclusion of people with impairments within society. The most significant has been the
Salamanca Statement (1994), which brought about the policy shift from the child to the
system. Thereafter, UNCRPD endorsed inclusive education as the approach to education for
persons with disabilities.

National Policies

Indias National Policy on Education (1986) states that the physically and mentally handicapped
should be integrated with the general community as equal partners, to prepare them for
normal growth and to enable them to face life with courage and confidence.

The National Charter for Children (2000) emphasises that the state and community recognise
that all children with disabilities must be helped to lead a full life with dignity and respect. All
measures would be undertaken to ensure that children with disabilities are encouraged to be
integrated into mainstream society and actively participate in all walks of life.

The landmark Right to Education Act (RTE 2009) is a landmark act made elementary
education a fundamental right for every child, thus making the government responsible for

National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (2000) states that in keeping with the spirit of
Article 21A of the Constitution, guaranteeing education as a fundamental right, and Section 26
of the Persons with Disabilities Act (1995), free and compulsory education has to be provided
to all children with disabilities up to the minimum age of 18 years. It will be ensured that every
child with disability has access to appropriate pre-school, primary and secondary level education
by 2020.

Annexures | 75
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education of children from 6-14 years of age. RTE emphasises the constitutional and legal
right of every child to be included in the educational processes and practices. It also notes
that their classrooms need to be ready to include students from different backgrounds, with
differing needs and abilities.

A child with disability as defined in Clause (i) of Section 2 of the Persons with Disabilities
(Equal Opportunities, Protection and Full Participation) Act (1995),states that a child with
disabilities has the right to pursue free and compulsory elementary education in accordance
with the provisions of Chapter V of the said act.

National Curriculum Framework (2005) states that a policy of inclusion needs to be

implemented in all schools and throughout the education system. The participation of all
children needs to be ensured in all spheres of their life in and outside the school. Schools
need to become centres that prepare children for life and ensure that all children, especially
the differently abled, children from marginalised sections are provided adequate support.

In the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation)
Act (1995), the chapter on education states that appropriate governments and the local
authorities shall:

(a) Ensure that every child with a disability has access to free education in an appropriate
environment till he attains the age of eighteen years;

(b) Endeavour to promote the integration of students with disabilities in the normal

Key International Initiatives Supporting Inclusive Education for

Children with Disabilities

Date Title Key statements

1948 UN Declaration on Human Rights Article 26: Everyone has the right to
education. Education shall be free, at least
in the elementary and fundamental stages.

1989 UN convention on rights of child Article 28: (Right to education): All

children have the right to a primary
education, which should be free. Wealthy
countries should help poorer countries
achieve this right.
Article 29: (Goals of education): Childrens
education should develop each childs
personality, talents and abilities to the

1990 World declaration on education for all Article 3: Basic education should be
(Jomtien) provided to all children, youth and adults.
To this end, basic education services of
quality should be expanded and consistent
measures must be taken to reduce
For basic education to be equitable, all
children, youth and adults must be given
the opportunity to achieve and maintain
an acceptable level of learning.

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Key International Initiatives Supporting Inclusive Education for
Children with Disabilities

Date Title Key statements

1993 UN standard rules on equalization of Rule 6: States should recognize the

opportunities for persons with disabilities principle of equal primary, secondary
and tertiary educational opportunities
for children, youth and adults with
disabilities, in integrated settings. They
should ensure that the education of
persons with disabilities is an integral part
of the educational system.
1994 Salamanca statement and framework for Schools should accommodate all children
action on special needs education regardless of their physical, intellectual,
social, emotional, linguistic or other
conditions. This should include disabled
and gifted children, street and working
children, children from remote or nomadic
populations, children from linguistic,
ethnic or cultural minorities and children
from other disadvantaged or marginalized
areas or groups.
2000 Millennium development goals Goal 2: Achieve universal primary
(Set for achievement by 2015) education.
Ensure that all boys and girls complete a
full course of primary schooling.
2000 World education forum for action, dakar (Restated the commitment of the
(restated the urgency to reach Salamanca Statement) and: All children,
marginalised groups) young people and adults have the human
right to benefit from an education that will
meet their basic learning needs in the best
and fullest sense of the term, an education
that includes learning to know, to do, to
live together and to be.
2001 EFA flagship on right to education for The goal of Dakar will only be achieved
persons with disabilities when all nations recognize that the
universal right to education extends to
individuals with disabilities, and when
all nations act upon their obligation to
establish or reform public education
systems that are accessible to, and meet
the needs of, individuals with disabilities.
2007 UN convention on the rights of persons Article 24: Education States Parties shall
with disabilities ensure an inclusive education system at all
levels and lifelong learning directed to:
The full development of human potential
and sense of dignity and self-worth, and
the strengthening of respect for human
rights, fundamental freedoms and human
The development by persons with
disabilities of their personality, talents
and creativity, as well as their mental and
physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
Enabling persons with disabilities to
participate effectively in a free society.

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Annexure 2: UN Convention on the Rights

of Persons with Disabilities
Article 24, Right to Education:
1. S
 tates Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to education. With a view to
realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, States Parties
shall ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and lifelong learning directed to:
a. The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the
strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity;
b. The development by persons with disabilities of their personality, talents and creativity,
as well as their mental and physical abilities, to their fullest potential;
c. Enabling persons with disabilities to participate effectively in a free society.

2. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that:

a. Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis
of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory
primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;
b. Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education
and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which
they live;
c. Reasonable accommodation of the individuals requirements is provided;
d. Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education
system, to facilitate their effective education;
e. Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize
academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.

3. S
 tates Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development
skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the
community. To this end, States Parties shall take appropriate measures, including:
a. Facilitating the learning of Braille, alternative script, augmentative and alternative
modes, means and formats of communication and orientation and mobility skills, and
facilitating peer support and mentoring;
b. Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity
of the deaf community;
c. Ensuring that the education of persons, and in particular children, who are blind, deaf
or deafblind, is delivered in the most appropriate languages and modes and means
of communication for the individual, and in environments which maximize academic
and social development.

4. In order to help ensure the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate
measures to employ teachers, including teachers with disabilities, who are qualified in
sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and staff who work at all levels of
education. Such training shall incorporate disability awareness and the use of appropriate
augmentative and alternative modes, means and formats of communication, educational
techniques and materials to support persons with disabilities.

5. S
 tates Parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary
education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination
and on an equal basis with others. To this end, States Parties shall ensure that reasonable
accommodation is provided to persons with disabilities.

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Annexure 3: Learning Style Inventory
Respond to each statement as honestly as possible:

Often Sometimes Seldom

(5 points) (3 points) (1 point)

1.I can remember best about a subject

by listening to a lecture that includes
information, explanations and

2.I prefer to see information written on a

chalkboard and supplemented by visual
aids and assigned readings.

3.I like to write things down or to take

notes for visual review.

4.I prefer to use posters, models, or actual

practice and other activities in class.

5.I require explanations of diagrams,

graphs, or visual directions.

6.I enjoy working with my hands or

making things.

7.I am skillful with and enjoy developing

and making graphs and charts.

8.I can tell if sounds match when

presented with pairs of sounds.

9.I can remember best by writing things

down several times.

10.I can easily understand and follow

directions on a map.

11.I do best in academic subjects by

listening to lectures and tapes.

12.I play with coins or keys in my pocket.

13.I learn to spell better by repeating words

out loud than by writing the words on

14. I can understand a news article better by

reading about it in the newspaper than
by listening to a report about it on the

15. I chew gum or snack while studying.

16. I think the best way to remember

something is to picture it in your head.

17. I learn the spelling of words by finger

spelling them.

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Often Sometimes Seldom

(5 points) (3 points) (1 point)

18. I would rather listen to a good lecture

or speech than read about the same
material in a textbook.

19. I am good at working and solving jigsaw

puzzles and mazes.

20. I grip objects in my hands during

learning periods.

21. I prefer listening to the news on the

radio rather than reading about it in the

22. I prefer obtaining information about an

interesting subject by reading about it.

23. I feel very comfortable touching others,

hugging, handshaking, etc.

24. I follow oral directions better than

written ones.


Scoring Procedures: Place the point value on the line next to the corresponding item below.
Add the points in each column to obtain the preference score under each heading. Column 1
will be your Visual Preference Score; column 2, your Auditory Preference Score, and column 3,
your Kinaesthetic Preference Score.

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Annexure 4: Sample Teaching Plans
Sample 1
Subject: Environmental Science

Topic: Transport and Communication Class: 4

No. of children: 30 Time: 40 minutes

Objective: To make children understand various types of transport

Teaching methods Multi- sensory, co-operative learning and peer teaching

Testing Pre-knowledge Divide the class into two groups.

Ask 1st group to show how vehicles move through acting and
2nd group to guess which vehicle is that?

Classroom arrangement Seating arrangement of children?

Safety considerations?
Reading, writing materials distribution?
Work displays?

Childrens activities Understanding types of transportation with the help of charts,

models and flashcards.
Grouping vehicles as land, water and air transport.
Write down types of transport in their notebook.

Feedback/ assessment Frame simple questions and get answers, orally/written.

Indicating/ Signing.
Observation of childrens participation in groups.

TLMs/ Learning Resources Picture charts of bus, train, aeroplane carrying people.
Truck, lorry carrying luggage and ship /boat carrying people.
Models of vehicles bus, car, lorry, boat, ship, aeroplane and
Flash cards of vehicles picture with names.

Sample 2

Subject: Mathematics Time: 30 minutes

Topic: Number Sense Till 20

Sub topic: Adding two numbers, sum should be less than or equal to 20

Class: 1

Specific Objectives: After completion of this lesson, students will be able to add two numbers
with a sum of less than 20 in pictorial form

Multilevel objectives: For students performing below the class average learning/attainment

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The students will be able to count the pictures and write the numerals in the space
The students will be able to add the two numbers and draw the required pictures and
write the numerals in the space provided.
The students will be able to identify the symbol of addition.

For students performing above the class average learning/attainment level

The students will be able to add the two numbers and draw the required pictures and
write the numerals in the space provided.
The students will be able to calculate the addition without the aid of pictures, maybe
even without any visual support.

For students performing at the class average learning/attainment level

The students will be able to add the two numbers and draw the required pictures and
write the numerals in the space provided.
The students will be able to calculate the addition with or without the aid of pictures.

Teaching learning material: handout containing story and picture of Nayala, two pouches
containing toffees or toffee-like objects, one little bigger empty pouch.

Previous knowledge: The children performing at the average level of achievement/learning can
count from 1 to 20. The children are aware of big and small. Children can tell the numbers
before and after. A few children below the class average can count till 20 but may have
difficulty in telling the numbers before and after. Two children in the class have difficulty in
counting till 20. (Instead of identifying the children on the basis of their disabilities, like having
intellectual challenges, dyscalculia, slow learners, or challenges like educational backlog, first
generation learners, working children, etc., children are classified into three groups based on
their learning achievement/levels.)

Previous knowledge: The students are aware of numbers from 1 to 20. They can count as well
as write numbers from 1 to 20.

Material required: Handouts, worksheets, three pouches, 20 countable objects.

Introduction: Class, we will hear a story today. In case the class has a child with autism,
the instruction would be repeated by calling his/her name; for example, Rohit, listen to the
story. Nayala received 5 toffees from her brother and 12 from her mother. How many
toffees does she have now?

Modification for children with sensory challenges: The teacher will prepare handouts containing
this story and similar drawings on the board to a child who is not able to hear. Before starting
the drawings on the board, the teacher will ensure that the child with a hearing problem is
able to see the teachers face clearly and is seated near the board. For a child with visual
problems, countable objects in pouches would be given, preferably in the shape of toffee.

Lesson development: Apart from one or two students, the maximum will not be able to
answer the question correctly. If the teacher feels they are ready for the task, then these
students would be given the worksheet to solve; everyone else would be involved in solving
the problem on the board.

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Teacher activity: The teacher will draw a boys face depicting Nayalas brother on the board
and a box of 5 toffees.



Similarly, mother and a box containing 12 toffees. Together, the teacher and the students will
count the toffees in the box and write the correct numeral in front of the box. The same is
shown above. Next, the teacher will draw Nayala and an empty box; students will be asked
how many toffees should be drawn? They will then be told to first draw the toffees given to her
by her brother, and next draw the toffees given by her mother, all in the same box.

The teacher will ask the students if Nayala will have more than 12 toffees or less than 12. All
the toffees drawn in Nayalas box will be counted and the number would be written beneath
the box.

The teacher will also write

5+12=17 to help children become familiar with the mathematical language.

Each child will be given a worksheet to solve as per the objective decided beforehand.

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Worksheet 1 for above average students

7+4= _________
8+5= _________
9+7= _________
7+0= _________
7+3= _________
16+4= _________

1. S
 even red apples and 11 green apples are in the basket. How many apples are there in
the basket?
2. A
 few balls were already in the bag; 9 more balls have been added to the bag. Now there
are 18 balls in the bag. How many balls were there in the bag before nine balls were

Worksheet 1 for average students:

Each addition question will be given with the help of boxes with countable objects and same
for answer box. The second word problem will not be given.

Worksheet 1 for below average students:

Same as the worksheet for average students. However, the sheet would be accepted if the
students have counted the pictures and written correctly.

Sample 3
Lesson plan EVS

Lesson: Poonams day out Class III

Specific objectives: After the completion of this lesson the students will be able to:
List animals from their environments
Identify animals from their pictures (complete or partial)
Recognize animals from their sound and habits.
Classify the animals as having wings, feet or tail.
Identify animals that can walk, crawl, hop or fly.

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Introduction: The teacher asks the students: Has anybody seen any animal yesterday or the
day before yesterday? The teacher writes the answers on the board, and thus we have a list
of animals on the board prepared together by the teacher and the students. For example, the
students say rat, sparrow, pigeon, squirrel, dog, cockroach, cat, crow, buffalo, cow, etc. The
child with speech impairment will be made to participate in the discussion with the help of
animal communication book (a scrap book with lots of animal pictures, prepared beforehand
with the help of parents). A visually impaired child will be asked to tell the name of the animal
whose voice was heard by them. Care should be taken that each child gives the name of only
one animal so that the maximum number of children can be involved.

1. A
 sk the students to group the animals as they please. Since there is a visually impaired
child in the class, this activity will be done in pairs. The teacher will give extra attention to
the pair having a child with special needs. Give sufficient time for the grouping.

2. K
 eep track of the pair finishing first. When everybody has finished, ask this pair to read out
their grouping. For example, the child this pair has created following groups:
Group 1: rat, sparrow and pigeon
Group 2: squirrel, dog, cockroach
Group 3: cat, crow, buffalo

The pair has not included cow in any group. The teacher should ask this pair:
Why have you not included the cow?
Why have you grouped the dog and cockroach together?
Have you forgotten the cow?

The children may reply that they wanted to make a group of three animals together without
changing the order written on the blackboard/given by the teacher.

3. Accept whatever reason given by the children.

4. Invite another pair to share their grouping and lets assume the children have made the
groups as follows:
Group 1: rat, dog, cat, cow
Group 2: crow, cockroach
Group 3: squirrel, sparrow
Group 4: buffalo, pigeon

Ask this pair why they have put four animals in one group and two in the rest. Also try to find
out why they have grouped the buffalo and pigeon together. The children will probably say
that group 1 has the names of the four animals whose names have three letters, while groups
2 and 3 have animals whose names begin with the same letter and group 4 has the leftover
5. Invite another pair with their grouping:
Group1: rat, cat, dog, cockroaches
Group 2: squirrel, sparrow, buffalo, pigeon, cow, crow

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When asked the reason for these groupings, the children will say that all the animals in group 1
are found inside the house and that in group 2 are seen outside the house.
6. Lets call another pair:
Group 1: buffalo, cow, dog
Group 2: rat, cat, dog
Group 3: squirrel, pigeon, crow, sparrow
Group 4: cockroach

Try to think of the logic the children might have for this grouping. The possibility is that all
the big animals are together in group 1, and group 2 has the dog eating the cat, which in turn
eats the rat. For group 3, the children may say all can be found in the garden near the trees.
As for group 4, they werent able to place cockroaches in the other groups.

So far, we have taken the students experience and their daily context, i.e. made them ready
for learning. This is done by using familiar objects and stimulating their thought process as
well as simultaneously involving hands, paper and pencil.
7. A
 fter discussing few more groups, the teacher may find repeating patterns. At this point,
the teacher may say, Can we think of any other way of making the groups so that each
one of us has the same animals in their groups? We may need similar groups in order
to facilitate communication with each other, or to simply have similarity in the answers,
or this is the way scientist thinks, which helps them to study the animals, or any other
reasons the teacher finds suitable.

At this point, the teacher may say, Lets now think where each of the above animal lives,
what it eats, how it walks and whether or not it can fly. The animals grouped on a common
basis allows easy communication with each other, which is why we categorise animals as
water animals, birds, pets, wild animals, etc. During the discussion, the teacher can make
the following table on the board:

Animal Lives Eats Walks Crawls Hops Runs Fly Tail Wings Nest
Rat ground roti, fruit,
Cat ground milk, bread,
Dog ground milk, bread,
roti, meat
Cow ground grass
Crow tree roti, grain,
Sparrow tree grains, roti,
Buffalo ground grass
Cockroach tree small bits of
Squirrel tree grains, nuts,
Pigeon tree grains, nuts,

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8. T
 he teacher can say, I have asked another class to group these animals and this is how
they have grouped the animals:
Group 1: pigeon, squirrel, buffalo, crow, cow, dog, cat, rat
Group 2: sparrow
Group 3: rat, cat, dog, cow, buffalo, cockroach, squirrel
Group 4: crow, sparrow, cockroach, pigeon
Group 5: rat, cat, dog, cow, buffalo, squirrel

Now I am going to divide you into groups. You have to think why the animals are grouped in
this manner. Now lets each do a worksheet.

Name: Date:_____/_____/___________

Roll Number: Subject:

1. Circle the odd one from the following:
i. pigeon, squirrel, cockroach, sparrow
ii. rat, cat, dog, crow
iii. squirrel, cow, buffalo, dog, crow
iv. cat, rat, cow, buffalo, squirrel, sparrow
2. Name two animals which are found in the house.
3. Name two milk giving animals.
4. Please identify the animals with a tail from the following: squirrel, cow, buffalo, dog, crow

The teacher will sit with the visually impaired child and help him/her finish the sheet, while
the rest of the class is busy doing their individual sheets.

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Annexure 5: What is Universal Design?

The concept of universal design is borrowed from architecture and it was defined as a means
to create products and environments that were usable by all people, without the need for
adaptation or specialised accommodations (Center for Universal Design, 2007). Universal
design encourages designers to consider the needs of a wide range of people when designing
something instead of adding accessible features after the fact. When something is designed
with universal design features, people with all sorts of abilities and needs can access the
space. For example, a ramp or level access into an apartment building allows a person who
uses a wheelchair to easily access the building. It also allows a parent to move their childs
stroller, a person to wheel their bicycle in and out, and a delivery person to bring in a heavy
appliance. This concept was then extended to learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
is a systematic approach to designing environments, curricula content, learning activities,
and materials to accommodate the needs of young children with the widest possible range of
abilities. In the past, and to some extent even today, separate, deficits-oriented programmes
serve to isolate and marginalise diverse learners. The traditional, one-size-fits-all curriculum
necessarily resulted in a blame-the-victim perspective to explain school failure. The UDL
provides a framework for planning how to present resources, provide opportunities for strategic
learning, and arrange environments for maximum engagement.

Fixed Accessible Features

Wide, passable doors: Doors that provide at least an 81.5 centimetre/32 inches clear

An accessible route: A clear path (generally at least 91.5 centimetres/36 inches wide)
connecting all accessible features and spaces. This requirement means there can be no steps
or stairs at the entrance to the building or unit and that a complete set of living facilities must
be on one level unless all levels are connected by a ramp, lift, or elevator.

Clear floor spaces: Specified floor areas around fixtures, such as toilets, tubs, showers, and
sinks must be clear to allow people using wheelchairs to manoeuvre. The clear floor areas can
be partially covered by removable elements such as cabinets. Careful design can avoid major
increases in room size.

Controls within easy reach and easily operated: Light switches, thermostats, electrical
receptacles, faucets, and other controls should be mounted between 122 centimetres/
48 inches and 137 centimetres/54 inches above the floor (depending on the direction of
approach) and be used with one hand. They should also not require treat force or grasping

Visual alarms: If warning signals are provided, such as smoke and/or fire alarms, they must be
both visual and auditory, or an outlet must be provided which will connect a portable visual
signal device into the alarm system.

Reinforcing for grab bars: Wood blocking or other reinforcing must be placed in specific
locations in walls around showers, tubs and toilets to facilitate the simple addition of grab
bars at a later time.

Ramps: Wheelchair ramps should be built with no less than a 1:12 ratio. That is, for every
2.5 centimetres/1 inch of height, the ramp should be at least 30 centimetres/12 inches

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Adjustable Features

Segments of countertops over knee spaces at work surfaces and sinks should be adjustable
in height from a standard height of 91.5 centimetres/36 inches to a low of 71 centimetres/
28 inches to allow use by people who must sit down to prepare food. The kitchen sink
should be included in the adjustable counter segment and its plumbing can be connected
with flexible supply pipes and removable segments or slip joints in the drain pipe. Stoves and
other appliances may also include adjustable features at the option of the owner, builder, or


Placement of signs: Signs to destination zones, restrooms, and exit signs should be placed
above eye level, and with appropriate lighting, taking care to avoid glare. It is also important
to place signs at regular intervals, particularly at decision points. This is important in large
buildings with long corridors, buildings with many visitors such as airports, hospitals, sports
facilities, and other buildings where the layout is complicated.

Clarity of the signs: All signs should be easy to read under any condition. The letters of the
sign should be large and easy to read, and the colour of the letters should stand out from the
background colour. The signage should be carefully lit to prevent any glare that causes the
sign to be unreadable. The text should be paired with a picture that is clearly understood a
feature that is useful to non-readers. For emergency exit signs, in addition to signs that are
mandated by code, exit signs should be placed on the wall low enough so that a person in
a wheelchair can reach it, and it should contain raised images, text, and Braille, if possible.
Additional exiting signs should be placed in consistent locations.

Colour: Colour on signs should be used consistently. For example, if there is more than one
destination zone, use signage that is paired with a graphic and reinforced with a colour such
as orange. The orange colour should be obviously repeated in the destination zone as well as
the accompanying exit.


Website accessibility standards: All websites should follow basic web accessibility

Plain language: All text and supporting documents should be available in clear and simple

PDF accessibility: If PDF documents are provided, the same document should also be available
in another format that is accessible to screen-readers such as HTML, Word, or plain text.

Format: Alternate formats such as Braille or large print should be available for all printed

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Annexure 6: Pre-reading and Pre-writing Skills

Pre-reading Skills
Letter-sound association: Using picture associations with the cards helps children to think
of more words beginning with the same letter. In addition, associating sounds of the letter
with the alphabet helps to associate the sounds when they read the words in print. This
can be developed through games such as:

1st game: Children are given a sound and alongside shown the letter and an object, e.g. b/ b.
Next, children search in the class for objects that begin with the same sound. The teacher can
beforehand place objects such as bus, balloon, bottle, bangle, book, etc.

2nd game: Teacher places objects in a bag. She then asks children to come one at a time, pick
an object, name it, and say the sound.

3rd game: Each child says her/his name and gives the sound of the letter that their name
begins with.

4th game: Using a tray of sand, salt or dal to trace out the letters of the alphabet reinforces the
form and shape of the letters.

Worksheets can be prepared for:

1. Identifying beginning sounds
2. Identifying ending sounds
3. Identifying vowel sounds
4. Identifying rhyming sounds
5. Matching word to picture
6. Matching word to alphabet
7. Matching word to shape
8. Matching word to word

These can be adapted based on the childs learning characteristics, e.g. for a child with autism
only, picture cards with three items can be utilised after the child has mastered the concept of
same. For a deaf-blind child, this may be done through concrete representations of the objects
and letter cut-outs, which the child can feel.

Match the identical formsshape, letters, numbers and words

Which objects are the same as the one in the first column?

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4 6 9 4
a 0 t a
Match by association

Name the letter and match it to that sound letter

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Pre-writing skills
Uses different writing tools such as crayon, colours, pen, paint, etc.
Scribbles, draws, paints
Traces from left to right and from top to bottom
Copies shapes, patterns, strokes
Draws figures: simple house, flowers, tree
Names letters and writes letters of the alphabet
Writes own name

Activities for pre-writing are integrated with the gross and fine motor skills. The child in
this stage shows a definite hand preference, develops a tripod grasp and is able make well
regulated movements of the hand. He/she is able to scribble, copy shapes, draw a face with
features, a house, flower, etc. Activities for pre-writing include:
The room could have a blackboard along one wall of the room at the childrens height
so that they have free access to scribble and draw using large arm movements.
Depending on the resources available, craft activities could include colouring, cutting,
pasting, and painting.
Other than brushes, the children could use broom sticks, string brushes, old shaving
brushes, old toothbrushes, etc.
String could be provided to practice tying and untying.
Marbles, beading, puzzles, paper folding using newspaper.
Textured letter cards could be made for children to trace over the shape of the letters to
feel the movement of the letters. Textures that can be used are sandpaper and dals.
Tracing activities can be practiced in trays with sand, salt or dal.
Figures could be drawn on the floor for them to trace their fingers along the track.

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Annexure 7: A Framework for Adapting the

A Framework for Adapting the Curriculum

1. The Pupil

A child in my class has

difficulties. What specialists (if any) can
How do these affect the you get advice/help?
pupils learning?

2. The Classroom and School Environment

What changes might you make to the classroom or the school

environment (buildings etc.) to make it easier for the child to come to
school and to learn? What assistive aids may be needed?

3. School Subjects

What changes do you need to make to the subject you teach the child
both in terms of level and the expected outcomes? This covers the level
you teach the subject to the child as well as the range of subjects taught.

4. Teaching Strategies

What changes do you need to make to your teaching methods to

suit the childs needs?
You may find that some of the suggestions made earlier can
apply to other difficulties.

5. Participation in Other School Activities (Sports, Clubs, School Chores etc.)

What changes might you make to ensure the childs active participation?

6. Tests and Examinations

What Changes do you need to make to assessing the pupils learning?

Annexures | 93
Making Inclusion Work

Annexure 8: Behaviour Observation and Data

Collection Chart for Determining the Function
of Behaviours
When determining the function of inappropriate target behaviours in order to plan behaviour
change interventions for students, schools need to observe the behaviour and collect
information. It is important to documents the behaviour as factually possible. Rather than
speculating on the function of behaviour in the absence of good data, it is important to gather
facts that are observable and measurable:

Antecedent: events in the environment that occur immediately prior to the target behaviour

Behaviour: actual behaviour, described in specific terms (including duration and intensity)

Consequence: events in the environment that occur directly after the behaviour

A B C Chart

Name of Student:

Target Behaviour:


Time, Setting, Antecedent Behaviour Consequence

Social Situation Event(s) Description Event(s)

Source: adapted from Teaching Students with Autism and Development Disorders: A Guide for Staff Training and Development
(1996) by Jo-Anne Siep, British Columbia.

94 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs

Ahuja, Anupam and ElsHeijnen. Understanding Inclusion: Resource Material for Teacher
Educators. In Contemporary Trends in Education A Handbook for Educators, edited by
Vandana Saxena, ed. 2012. Delhi, Chennai, Chandigarh, India: Dorling Kindersley.

Alur, Mithu, and Vianne Timmons, eds. 2009. Inclusive Education across Cultures: Crossing
Boundaries, Sharing Ideas.New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Banerjee, R., A. Mehendale and M. Nanjundaiah, eds. 2011. Understanding Inclusive

Practices in School: Examples of Schools from India. Bangalore: Seva-in-Action and Disability
and Development Partners, U.K.

DSERT (Directorate of State Education Research and Training) Karnataka. 2013. Position
Paper for Inclusive Education Policy. SSA Karnataka.

_________. 2013. Source Book for Student Teachers: Karnataka Elementary Teacher
Education Curriculum 2012.

DISE (District Information System for Education). 2014. Elementary Education in India: Flash
Statistics, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi.

Eddy, Janet. 1999. Learning Styles. Teaching Nuggets. Center for Excellence in Teaching. Los
Angeles: University of Southern California.

Johnson, D. W., and R. Johnson. 1989. Cooperation and Competition: Theory and Research.
Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Ministry of Human Resource Development. 2011. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: Framework for
Implementation, Based on the Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act, 2009,
Department of School Education and Literacy, Government of India.

National Trust. 2009. Disability: Challenging Myths and presenting Realities, Ministry of
Social Justice and Empowerment.

OMalley, C.E., ed. 1995. Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Heidelberg:


Rocklage, LA, L. Peschong, Al Gillett and B.J. Delohery 1996. Good Junk + Creativity =
Great Low-end Technology! In Positive Inclusion Experiences. E. Arselia, ed. Lansing: PAM
Assistance Centre.

References | 95
Making Inclusion Work

Roschelle, J. and Teasley, S. 1995. The Construction of Shared Knowledge in Collaborative

Problem Solving. In OMalley, C. E., (ed.), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning.
Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.

Saxena, V., ed. 2012. Contemporary Trends in Education A Handbook for Educators. Dorling
Kindersley (India) Pvt. Ltd.

Schmeck, R. 1988. Learning Strategies and Learning Styles. New York: Plenum Press.

Singh, R. (ed.). 2007. Gearing Up for Inclusive Education, New Delhi: State Council of
Educational Research and Training.

Sheets, L. and M. Wirkus. 1997. Everyones Classroom: An Environment Designed to Invite

and Facilitate Active Participation. Closing the Gap. 16(1): 1-9.

Singh, Renu. 2007. Creating A Road Map for Inclusive Education in India. Confluenceno. 2
(2007): 2-7, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Government of India.

_________. 2009. Meeting the Challenge of Inclusion- from Isolation to Collaboration,

In Inclusive Education across Cultures, edited by M. Alur & V. Timmons. New Delhi: Sage

_________. 2007. A Study of Elementary Schools of Delhi, India from an Equity and Access
Perspective of Students with Disabilities, PhD Thesis submitted to Jamia Millia Islamia

Tomlinson, C. A. 1995. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms.

Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

__________ 1999. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of all Learners.
Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

__________2001. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-ability Classrooms, Association

for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Tovani, C. 2000. I read it, but I dont get it: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent
Readers.Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

UNESCO. 2005. Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for Creating Inclusive, Learning Friendly
Environments, Bangkok, Thailand: UNESCO.

__________. 1994. The Salamanca Statement and Framework on Special Needs Education.
Paris: UNESCO.

UNESCO/IBE. 2008. Conclusions and Recommendations of the 48th Session of the

International Conference on Education (ICE). Geneva: IBE Document ED/BIE/CONFINTED

UNICEF. 2013. State of the World Children-Children with Disabilities. New York: UNICEF.

Wilds, M. 1989. Effective Use of Technology with Young Children. NICHCY News Digest.
13: 6-7.

World Health Organisation. 2001. International Classification of Functioning, Disability &

Health. Accessed from: http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en/

96 | Toolkit for Master Trainers in Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education for Children with Special Needs

Assistive Technology Categories. RESNA - Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive

Technology Society of North America. 2000. Available at www.resna.org/

Embracing Diversity: The Inclusive Learner Friendly Environment. UNESCO. 2005. Available
at http://en.unesco.org/

National Curriculum Framework. NCERT. 2005. Available at www.ncert.in

Positive Discipline in the inclusive, learner friendly classroom: a guide for teachers and teacher
educators. UNESCO. 2008. Available at www.unesco.org

Principles of Universal Design. Center for Universal Design. 2007. Available at http://www.

Universal Design for Learning Consortium Envisions Improved Outcomes for Children. CAST -
Center for Applied Special Technology. 1998. Available at CAST website www.cast.org or

Karnataka Open Educational Resources Portal. Available at http://karnatakaeducation.org.in/


National Council of Educational Research and Training (http://ncert.nic.in/ )

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Educational for All program) (http://ssa.nic.in )

Language and Learning http://www.languageandlearning.in/ Also see power point presentation

on Reading and Equity by Dhir Jhingran available at http://www.languageandlearning.in/

Learning Styles at http://www.learning-styles-online.com

Online Resources | 97