fbpx

Inclusive Teaching and Embracing Diversity

Pam Jones,
Educational Technology Consultant
United Kingdom

One of the main focuses when teaching is ensuring every child, no matter what ability in your classroom, can access and engage with all subject matter. This is a challenge every teacher faces when adapting lesson content to meet the needs of their learners.

So what is inclusivity in the classroom?

“Inclusive education is when all students, regardless of any challenges they may have, are placed in age-appropriate general education classes that are in their own neighborhood schools to receive high-quality instruction, interventions, and supports that enable them to meet success in the core curriculum” (Bui, Quirk, Almazan, & Valenti, 2010; Alquraini & Gut, 2012).

Bui, X.T., Quirk, C., Almazan, S., & Valenti, M. (2010). Inclusive Education Research & Practice;
Alquraini, T.A., & Gut, D.M. (2012). Critical Components of Successful Inclusion of Students with Severe Disabilities: Literature Review. International journal of special education, 27, 42-59.

All schools must provide subject matter to a classroom of students and must differentiate the material to allow all students to engage and learn. The term diversity can be applied here to a successful inclusive education/lesson occurring when the teacher accepts and understands the differences and diversity within the classroom. These differences can be physical, cognitive, academic, social, and emotional.

One area that is a key focus within the classroom, is students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Within the UK the government states:

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can affect a child or young person’s ability to learn. They can affect their:
– behavior or ability to socialize, for example, they struggle to make friends
– reading and writing, for example, because they have dyslexia
– ability to understand things
– concentration levels, for example, because they have ADHD
– physical ability

The SEND code of practice groups needs into four broad areas:

The SEND Code of Practice. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from: Education Endowment Foundation

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) conducted research and produced guidance on Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools.

Guidance on Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools. Retrieved November 15, 2021, from: Education Endowment Foundation

These recommendations are summarised in the above poster and found here

  1. Create a positive and supportive environment for all pupils, without exception
  2. Build an ongoing, holistic understanding of your pupils and their needs
  3. Ensure all pupils have access to high-quality teaching
  4. Complement high-quality teaching with carefully selected small-group and one-to-one interventions
  5. Work effectively with teaching assistants

Pupils with SEND benefit from a hands-on approach to computing.

Physical computing devices provide a tangible interface and a physical output for the code,
such as movement, sound or lights, which are desirable features when working with young
people who may require multi-modal ways of accessing learning. The immediacy of output
for the code is also motivating and can help to engage learners in the process of
programming, although in some cases downloading the code to the device can be more
convoluted.

Elliot, C. (2018), Computing in Special Educational Needs and Dissabilities Settings: The Current Picture in England 2018.

Within this paper, the benefits of using a device to instantly see, feel and hear the output to the program created, was a benefit for the students. There was a barrier identified as downloading the code to the device. The screen-free KUBO robot uses TagTiles® to instantly remember and activate the program when required. This further takes this barrier away and allows students to engage fully, no matter the ability, to the lesson material and physical computing device. 

With the development of KUBO came the Coding Math TagTiles that not only allow the students to understand programming and the construction of algorithms, etc to determine a specific outcome. They are able to develop their mathematical ability by seeing the desired output physically, further allowing all pupils to access the material and learn. 

Let’s look at how KUBO Coding Math meets these requirements and from the Quick Start Guide with KUBO Coding Math:

The three Activity Maps included in the KUBO Coding Math set help make math more fun and intuitive for children.

The three Activity Maps represent a Farm, City, and Super Market environment respectively, which each have three routes. The beginning of each route, along with the route number, will be highlighted on maps so you know where to place the Game Activator TagTile. Be aware to place the correct number in front of the Game Activator TagTile to make KUBO take the correct route.

The maps are filled with different objects that fit into the theme of the three Activity Maps such as animals, trees, etc. The routes on the map work in collaboration with task cards and Game TagTiles, as it is possible to place Game TagTiles along the route. Once KUBO encounters a Game TagTile, it will not continue until the task is completed. The task that needs to be completed will be defined on a randomly drawn task card. The math problem on the task card will revolve around the different objects on the map. The math problem may therefore be the number of trees on the map + the number of ducks on the map.

The students will then recreate the math problem with the number and operator TagTiles and solve the task. If the task is completed incorrectly, KUBO will shake its head while its eyes turn red. If the task is completed correctly, KUBO will make a victory dance while its eyes turn green. Once the task is

completed correctly, KUBO will be able to continue its route, Just place KUBO back on the Game TagTile®.

KUBO Coding Math incorporates hands-on learning with programming and basic math concepts to help build an engaging learning environment. All teachers strive to ensure their classroom offers a positive and supportive environment for all pupils, without exception [section 1]

Section 2 of the EEF Recommendations states: Schools should aim to understand individual pupils’ learning needs using the graduated approach of the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ approach.

KUBO allows for this approach as the student is given a challenge like the one on the challenge card above ‘trees + ducks =’ 

  • The teacher can assess their understanding of the challenge by asking them what they think the answer is going to be.
  • Pupils plan the activity through the TagTiles and how the math problem needs to be laid out.
  • Pupils carry out their plan with Kubo through the do section to see if they got the challenge correct.
  • Pupils review the outcome and if it is not correct, debug the program and complete the challenge again until correct.

By ensuring high-quality teaching for all of section 3 of EEF recommendations, through hands-on strategies, ensure inclusivity as teaching for all encompasses SEND pupils.

EEF stated that two of the key areas were:

  • Section 4: Complement high-quality teaching with carefully selected small-group and one-to-one interventions
  • Section 5: Work effectively with teaching assistants

Adapting lesson material and offering further application to lesson content can help students understand and grasp the content in new meaningful ways. If a small group of students needs the 1:1 or small group support on math/coding concepts, they could utilize the KUBO set to expand the lesson and focus on key aspects in a different way.

Or adding context to the lesson content through storytelling and utilizing the Map Maker with KUBO to allow the story and lesson content to come alive for all students. Embracing diversity allows students to use KUBO Map Maker to bring the lesson content alive and share it with the rest of the class and all students are enabled to do this in their own way.

It is essential that the interventions, small group sessions as well as whole class teaching, incorporate the effective use of teaching assistants. They must fully understand the learning objectives of the lesson and how a hands-on strategy can supplement the learning. An effective teaching assistant will utilize the tools available to them to aid understanding of the pupils they support, in this case accessing KUBO Coding Math to aid pupil understanding with an alternative hands-on approach to other deployed methods in the classroom.

In summary, all students have the right to equal education, and the only way to ensure that is for the teacher to accept all students to ensure the classroom embraces diversity and ensures inclusivity. This can be through following the EEF recommendations for Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Education and utilizing the tools around them to further develop a student’s access to the learning material. KUBO Coding Math offers a hands-on approach to learning and understanding Math that can support all learners at all stages of their understanding.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email