By Mia Fiorella Pacheco Mainieri - School of Education Student
In the last few centuries, education has been very strict, causing students to be assessed with established formats that are not as flexible as they should be. As a consequence, not allowing a student to develop in their area and in which they do not perform in the best way are affected. From my experience, I have not been affected by the assessment used in the current educational system, since the methods used are suitable for my type of learning, but personally, I have close people who have been affected by it.
Firstly, it is important to have a clear definition of the word “inclusive”. According to the Oxford dictionary, it means “the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or mental disabilities or belonging to other minority groups.” (Oxford University Press, 2021).
Taking this into account, one critical aspect of inclusion in the classrooms is having all the needs of the students taken into account as a basic human right. In the 4th article of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, they agreed upon a series of obligations that Latin American countries who attended had to follow to be more inclusive in their legislation (United Nations General Assembly, 2006). Many years before that convention Costa Rica already had a law for this situation, the “Law N° 7600, Law of Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities”. This Law was created on the 29th, May of 1996, it intends to protect the rights of people with special disabilities in every possible scenario that might come up on a daily basis (Law No. 7600, Law of Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities, 1996).
Being part of a minority group due to a special need such as a physical or intellectual disability, or even a complex migrant situation, causes struggles in the learning process (Rojas, 2018). As a result, teachers must make the proper considerations according to their specific situation in their classrooms. For example, using an adequate method and assessment aiming for long-term and successful learning. Moreover, having a strong relationship between the teacher and their students will make them feel safe and prepared to learn new things (Canada et al., n.d.). But making an individual class for every student that has a disability or an obstacle in learning would be difficult and nearly impossible. However, every effort should be done to have an inclusive class and environment.
Costa Rica has a good educational system. Moreover, some possible changes could be helpful for inclusion in their classrooms. For example, having different types of assessment, not only the traditional ones (Canada et al., n.d.). In other countries, like New Zealand, they promote teaching basic subjects using sports, aiming to engage with the students learning (Sports New Zealand, n.d.). This method is an awesome way to advocate inclusion for everyone that has different interests, and it gives more opportunities to be successful in life. Furthermore, having more awareness about the importance of inclusion could make not only students, but also teachers to be actively trying to help those in need.
To sum up everything that has been stated so far, in the end, we are all human beings, and, for this particular reason, we all have emotional, intellectual, and even psychological needs that have to be met. For this reason, it is our responsibility to include everyone no matter what condition or disability a person could have (Quijano, 2007), as well as —as future teachers— being flexible evaluating students in an area that they have a more efficient performance, such as sports or arts. However, this would not mean leaving behind the basic subjects necessary for the development of vital learning, nonetheless, giving it greater impact and importance to areas where the student can have the possibility of success and that in the end they can enjoy it.