Inclusion Setup at St. Mary's
The school aims at making the classrooms inclusive by being mindful of certain practices. It’s imperative for the teachers to know the student in his/her class. The teachers receive continuous training and support related to the different needs in the classrooms. Lesson plans are created keeping in mind different learning styles (VAKT), as well as different academic capacities (ranging from minimum learning objectives to including higher order thinking material). Keeping in mind the attention lags, and to maximize the focus, the seating arrangement is planned in such a way that the students who need constant reminders and more eye to eye contact are made to sit at the front desk, near the teacher and away from windows or doorways. In the classroom where there are varied needs and diversity, peer mentoring is another practice which helps in making inclusion a reality. Last but not the least, knowledge of assistive devices and using the devices where it is required, facilitates the learning process. The school also believes that the above practices benefits all children and not just children with disabilities as it helps to focus more on the abilities of children and not their disabilities. The teachers also encourage peer camaraderie in classroom. It has been observed that inclusive classroom benefits all who are involved. Diversity, social acceptance, altruism, empathy, understanding – these are some of the benefits experienced by students, with and without disabilities, who learn in an inclusive setting in St Mary’s.