Classroom Learning

School inclusion is about more than being physically present in the same space. It is important that students are engaged alongside their peers in the classroom. They must be respected and supported to be authentic learners, to access the same curriculum, be challenged to learn, and to receive reasonable adjustments to enable their participation.

Students learn better when they have positive perceptions of the classroom environment, one that creates a psychological environment that facilitates learning.

  1. Inclusive Strategies for Teaching and Instruction
  2. Adjustments - What's Reasonable?
  3. Using Technology Well
  4. Making Sense of Curriculum, Policy and Implementation Requirements

Inclusive Strategies for Teaching and Instruction

Classroom environment is one of the most important factors affecting student learning. ... Such an environment provides relevant content, clear learning goals and feedback, opportunities to build social skills, and strategies to help students succeed.

Weimer, 2009

There are a number of approaches to ensuring accessibility in education, with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in particular allowing for possible barriers to learning being minimised from the very beginning.  Other approaches are differentiation and Quality Differentiated Teaching Practice (QDTP).

The UDL framework allows educators to ensure that possible barriers to learning are minimised from the very beginning and, as a result make learning as accessible as possible.

Video

How to engage students with disabilities

This video from San Francisco State University discusses how to include students with disability through UDL principles

Article

What Is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)?

Amanda Morin

Here is a short and simple explanation of UDL

"The goal of UDL is to use a variety of teaching methods to remove any barriers to learning and give all students equal opportunities to succeed. It’s about building in flexibility that can be adjusted for every student’s strengths and needs. That’s why UDL benefits all kids."

Click here to read the article (PDF)

The Committee encourages States parties to apply the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach. UDL is a set of principles, providing teachers and other staff with a structure to create adaptable learning environments and develop instruction to meet the diverse needs of all learners.

It recognizes that each student learns in a unique manner and involves developing flexible ways to learn: creating an engaging classroom environment; maintaining high expectations for all students, while allowing multiple ways to meet expectations; empowering teachers to think differently about their own teaching; and focusing on educational outcomes for all, including those with disabilities.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, Gen Comment No 4 (2016), Article 24: Right to Inclusive Education

Website

CAST

CAST were the creators of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) a set of principles to guide the design of the school and classroom learning environment to ensure that it is accessible and effective for all students.

Parents will find information and resources to support their understanding of UDL and the practical application in the classroom.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Checklist

Universal Design Principles Checklist

Queensland Department of Education and Training

An inclusive classroom will provide access to accessible instruction and learning materials.  This checklist was originally developed for vocational education and training providers but will also be relevant for teachers of students in upper primary and high schools.

Click here to read the checklist (PDF)

While UDL is recommended, teachers do not need to be experts in this approach to plan to include ALL students in the same curriculum.

In all situations, thinking through the “big ideas” and using peer involvement and flexible approaches, the regular lesson can proceed with everyone involved in that same lesson, and most importantly, ALL students will be gaining the core information necessary for life and ALL will be challenged at their level.  Everyone gains!

All Means All

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Article

12 strategies to Engage Students who work below Grade Level

Nicole Eredics

Some more ideas on including all learners

"So, one of the most common questions I hear with regards to inclusive education is, how can teachers keep students who work below grade level engaged and learning during class instruction?

... Thus, I have put together a list of strategies that teachers can use to reach and teach students with intellectual disabilities during classroom instruction."

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Article

Basics of Differentiation

Wendy Conklin

"Differentiation encompasses what is taught, how it is taught, and the products students create to show what they have learned. When differentiating curriculum, teachers become the organizers of learning opportunities within the classroom environment."

Click here to read the article (PDF)

Video

Differentiation and The Brain: A discussion with Carol-Ann Tomlinson

Carol-Ann Tomlinson is the guru of Differentiation, good teaching and breaking bad habits

In a differentiated classroom, students understand how they learn differently, thus they learn to appreciate each other’s contributions to the learning process.

Leppien

QUOTE: Differentiated instruction is shaking up what goes on in the classroom so that the curriculum is a better fit for all - Tomlinson.

Website

School Inclusion from Theory to Practice

Loren Swancutt

This website has been created by a teacher who leads inclusive education practices in her Queensland State High School. Loren is also a convenor of School Inclusion Network for Educators (SINE), which is a network of All Means All – The Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education.  SINE supports educators to initiate, develop and sustain inclusive schooling practices for all students. It is the network of All Means All – the Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education

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Website

Inclusion Strategies

Shelley Moore

"Inclusive Education: It’s not more work, it’s different work!"

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Website

Inclusion ED.  Supporting diverse learners

Autism CRC

inclusionED is an online professional learning community, co-designed with educators, for educators. It provides free evidence-based and research-informed teaching practices and tools to support diverse learners in inclusive classrooms.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Adjustments - What's Reasonable?

Schools are obligated by the Disability Standards for Education to provide reasonable adjustments so that students with disability are able to participate in lessons and extracurricular activities and demonstrate their learning.

"Adjustments are measures taken to level the playing field by dismantling barriers to access and participation”

Graham, L. (Ed.). (2020) Inclusive Education for the 21st Century

The NCCD (National Consistent Collection of Data) is a tool that has the potential to provide national consistency, identification and on-going adjustment based funding for students with disability across Australia.

Inclusive education advocates support the notion that it would be ideal if governments and school bodies could move away from the more traditional forms of needs-based funding to adjustment based funding such as that outlined in the NCCD.

Booklet

What are inclusive reasonable adjustments?

Community Resource Unit Ltd.

This guide helps families think about reasonable adjustments which promote full inclusion and participation. It includes activities for you to think about what this should look like for your family member.

Click here to read the booklet (PDF)

Click here to read the booklet (MS Word - simplified format)

Video

Teach Us Too

Jonathan shares his story of what it took for him to learn to read and write, and moving from a ‘special school’ to being included in the general classroom. He challenges educators to keep looking at how access to learning will be achieved.

Video

Making adjustments – Jacob’s story

Family Advocacy

Jacob is a student at Nambucca Heads High School and the video shares the adjustments that have been made and the learning goals that are developed for him. The teacher, specialist and principal talk about how they differentiate the curriculum through discussions with parents and ensuring they meet the needs of Jacob.

Website

What is the NCCD

Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD)

"The NCCD collects data about school students with disability who are receiving adjustments across Australia in a consistent, reliable and systematic way. It enables schools, education authorities and governments to better understand the needs of students with disability and how they can be best supported at school."

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Podcast

Classroom adjustments podcasts

The annual Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) collects information about Australian school students who receive an adjustment to address disability.

These podcasts on classroom adjustments on the NCCD website canvasses possible adjustments for students at school across 18 different disability areas. It discusses the success and the challenges for the students through the eyes of the student, parent, teacher and other professionals.

Click here to visit the podcast website Opens in new window

Podcast example: Muscular Dystrophy

In this episode, Steven shares some of the challenges at school and the adjustments that are made. It includes five top tips to support students with MD in their schools.

Podcast example: Autism

In this episode, we hear from Steven a year 3 student who explains what school is like for him and from his mum Claire, who shares common adjustments that can be made to support her son in the classroom. Dr Suzanne Carrington discusses common difficulties and the importance of knowing the student’s learning strengths.  There is also the five top takeaway tips for students.

Article

Designing out barriers to student access and participation in secondary school assessment

Professor Linda Graham

Designing out barriers to learning also applies to assessment. It is possible to plan for everyone to be able to demonstrate their learning in assessment.

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Website

Targeted Resources and Supports

Queensland Department of Education

Queensland schools can access a variety of targeted resources to assist them to address the diverse learning and support needs of all students with disability. School principals are responsible for supporting the educational programs of all students with disability in their school, and are able to request access to a range of specialist services, and direct to school resourcing through a number of models.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Website

Reasonable adjustments

Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority

"Collaboratively planning, implementing and reviewing adjustments promotes meaningful student participation, progress and achievement. The starting point for selecting curriculum is the Australian Curriculum learning area content at the student’s age-equivalent level. The curriculum provides the context for teaching, learning and assessment."

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Article

Modified Curriculum: Re-considering the necessity

Loren Swancutt

"For a variety of reasons, students may experience functional impacts that affect their ability to progress through curriculum complexities and amounts at the same rate as their peers.

If such impacts are not adequately supported through the application of quality, differentiated teaching and learning, Universal Design for Learning and adjustments; than students may access modified curriculum – same content and topics but with modified expectations that are aligned to the students 'zone of proximal development' (Vygotsky, 1978)"

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Using Technology Well

When planning reasonable adjustments, educators should consider whether access to the right technology can remove the barriers to learning.

Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognises the importance of access to assistive technology.   Assistive technology has been found to be the first step for any next steps: for a child with a disability to play with other children; go to school and be educated; and to become a successful citizen and contributing member of society.

The above quote is in this UNICEF discussion paper  (PDF)

Article

Understanding My Son’s Dysgraphia Helped Me Advocate for Him

Dawn Margolis Denberg

This article by a parent of a child with dysgraphia (impairment in writing) explains how the use of assistive technology opened up a whole new world for her son and the entire family.

Click here to read the full article Opens in new window

Website

Assistive Technology

Department of Education Queensland

Assistive technology supports students with diverse learning needs within an inclusive learning environment. This can range from "high tech" technology, such as electronic devices or power wheelchairs, to "low tech" devices such as a pencil grip, supportive seat or a simple switch.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Video

Assistive Technology: the tools we use to close the achievement gap and prevent academic failure

Department of Education Queensland

This recording will deepen your understanding of what the range of assistive technologies are, and how and when they should be used to support students in the classroom to maximise student success and confidence.

Click here to view the video Opens in new window

Website

Video

What is Assistive Technology

Australian Disability Clearing House on Education and Training

"For most people technology makes things easier. For people with Specific Learning Disabilities, technology makes things possible!"

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Quote:  For most of us, technology makes things easier.  For a person with disability, it makes things possible.  Edyburn, Higgns & Boone, 2005.

Article

Assistive Technology for Learning: What You Need to Know

Understood

This link will provide you with AT basics and examples of specific assistive technology tools for a variety of needs and ages.

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Website

Understood:  Tech Finder

Understood

This AT techfinder allows you to search expert approved apps via type, age, issue and year level.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Fact Sheet

Free Assistive Technology options for students

Community Resource Unit Ltd.

These documents list a range of free assistive technology available for students via mobile devices and laptops

Click here to read Top Free Assistive Tech for Laptops (PDF)

Click here to read Top Free Assistive Tech for Mobile Devices (PDF)

 

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Many students may need access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

Article

Tips for implementing AAC in the Classroom

Lesley Gallagher and Amy Litton

"We’ve put together a few of our tips and tricks about implementing communication devices in school that we, and the schools have found useful for successful device use in the education setting.

This resource is designed for people working in and with schools."

Download the fact sheet here (PDF)

Article

Building Peer Connections

Hannah Gutke

AAC is also important for students being able to communicate with their peers, and so access to AAC should be provided throughout the school day. Read more from a parent on how AAC has been used to build peer connections for her daughter.

Download the article here (PDF)

Making Sense of Curriculum, Policy and Implementation Requirements

Participating in the regular curriculum matters.   All students have the right to learn on the same basis as their peers.

Video

Every Student with Disability succeeding - Kuranda District State College

Department of Education Queensland

"All of the leadership team have very much the same mindset around the inclusion of all students…We don’t actually have a special education unit…All students are included within the classroom."

Click here to view the video Opens in new window

Policy

Inclusive Education Policy

Queensland Government

"The Department of Education's Inclusive education policy commits the department to continuing our journey towards a more inclusive system at policy and regional levels, and as part of our everyday practice in schools, educational settings and classrooms."

Click here to visit the Policy Opens in new window

Video

Intent of the Australian Curriculum

The Australian curriculum was originally designed to be equitable and responsive to all students, their preferences and differing requirements.  This flexibility has enabled students with disability to access the curriculum on the same basis as their peers.

Website

Australian Curriculum:  F-10 Curriculum

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

In September 2015, Australia’s education ministers endorsed the Foundation – Year 10 Australian Curriculum.

This website provides teachers, parents, students and the community with a clear understanding of what students should learn, regardless of where in Australia they live or which school they attend.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Article

The Australian Curriculum – A curriculum for ALL

Loren Swancutt

"Teachers can utilise the Australian Curriculum to deliver teaching and learning programs that are responsive to diversity within regular, heterogeneous classrooms. It provides tools and approaches that support teachers to seamlessly address variances in cognitive, physical and social development."

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Article

Curriculum

Loren Swancutt

"If we provide age-appropriate, commensurate opportunity based on the notion of presumed competence and value in diversity, what results is the authentic possibility for limitless and infinite potential. We bypass the danger and harm of inequity and ablesim, and instead give back power and choice to the student."

Click here to read the full article Opens in new window

Website

Disability adjustments and participation in NAPLAN

National Assessment Program (NAP)

"Adjustments are provided to students with disability to support access to the NAPLAN tests and encourage maximum participation.  This page outlines the adjustments and how they can be applied - including examples."

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Website

Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL)

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers comprise seven Standards which outline what teachers should know and be able to do. They provide a framework by which teachers can judge the success of their learning and assist self-reflection and self-assessment.

This is a screenshot from the website, highlight points 1.5 and 1.6

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Understanding Senior Schooling and Planning for Life After School

Website

Australian Curriculum:  Senior Secondary

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

The senior secondary Australian Curriculum specifies content and achievement standards for each subject.

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Website

SET (Senior Education and Training) Plans

Queensland Department of Education

An outline to understand the SET plan which is developed with year 10 students to assist them in making choices about their future education and/or training.

Click here to visit the website Opens in new window

Handbook

QCE and QCIA Policy and Procedures Handbook

Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

This handbook provides detailed information on the Queensland Certificate of Education and the Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement to support senior schooling in Queensland. We encourage parents to understand the opportunities that can be obtained by completing the Queensland Certificate of Education and the discussions to have with school staff when engaging in the SET planning.

Click here to visit the online handbook Opens in new window

Fact Sheets

Employment fact sheets

Community Resource Unit Ltd.

Getting a part time job in high school is a common rite of passage that enriches the lives of many young people.  These fact sheets have been developed to help young people with disability get their first job.

The front page of the fact sheet. It has lots of images of people with disability at work in ordinary workplaces. It has the title 'getting your first job fact sheets'.

Click here to see the fact sheets Opens in new window

Booklet

Lifelong Learners

Resourcing Inclusive Communities

"Many people with disability are not expected to learn, and so are not given the chance.  The people and families represented in this book chose to see beyond the deficits and limiting statements...  They decided life is a learning opportunity for everyone."

The cover of the booklet, lifelong learners.  It features a confident young woman with disability standing in the middle of a university campus

Download the booklet here (PDF)

This project is proudly supported by the Queensland Government through the Department of Education.

The Department of Education website outlines its commitment to Inclusive education through its inclusive education policy.

 

Community Resource Unit Ltd - CRU (logo) Bright colours expanding from central point with the words Community Resource Unit Ltd, Expanding Ideas; Creating Change