Teachers learn about inclusion in schools in a practical way
Service-learning classes are in full development in the six multicultural partner communities!
Teachers from these schools learn first and foremost about the power of “together”. In order to have a more inclusive school, teachers need to act like a learning community, as inclusion is a lengthy process, with impact in the long-term, that requires continuous involvement from everyone. If teachers do not feel included themselves in their professional environment in the school, they cannot act together, and we know that the collaborative effort of teachers has a positive effect on the learning results of students (Reeves, 2010).
In order for social inclusion in schools to become everyone’s aim, the actors who hold the highest degree of decisional power in the classroom, who have the responsibility of creating favorable learning environments for every student, need to learn to “act in concert”. They need to understand what concert they want to play, what’s its aim and how they can play efficiently. Where are we going? Where are we now? How do we go forward? What have we learned today? Who benefited from our actions and who didn’t? These are the questions that teachers seek to answer in order to make the “concert” of inclusion work.
So, what do teachers learn, together and from one another?
First of all, they learn to harmonize their objectives and pedagogical endeavors, giving up on the narrow focus on the subject they teach and the specific competencies approached in an isolated way. They refocus on the children in the school, on each individual that takes part in this learning process.
Then, to test what has been learned, in a safe environment, they get ready for learning through community service projects, through which they can provide students with authentic opportunities of learning in their local community.