I’m all in favour for change. Really, it is the one thing that helps us to move on, develop and better ourselves. But sometimes I wonder whether we are ready for the changes that are being implemented or thought to be implemented in the German education system.
Currently, students with special needs can be taught in the mainstream classroom or go to a special needs school. But we are now thinking INCLUSION, the term going through every German educators mind right now (if it is not going through yours…. why not?). The aim is to teach all students inclusively.
I’m all for it. Definitely. But HELLO? Are we really READY for something big as this? Here are a few questions I wish to raise… and I wonder how other countries/systems deal with this!
- How do we staff our classrooms? Are we still thinking that one teacher is enough to deal with a class of 20-25 primaries which include possibly 4-5 or more special educational needs (more likely 20-25 😉 )
- What about grades? Are we planning to grade all students as we are doing now? Are we not grading the “special kids” and thus make them “special” again?
- Curriculum? Who does it apply to? Are we sticking to age/grade specific curricula? Are we not even going to consider phase-based/individual development plans for all students?
- How aware are the teachers who will soon cater to a variety of needs? Learning disabilities, social and emotional problems, etc etc. Are we asking too much maybe?
- Where is the collaboration or at least cooperation between special needs teachers and mainstream school teachers going to start and end? What about social workers?
These are just a few questions. I don’t think we are ready. The reality is gruesome. We have teachers who are afraid of students with disabilities; not because they are not tolerant, but because they have so much on their hands they worry not be able to meet their needs! And because they lack experience!
We grade students and as a result make them stand out or disillusioned!
We are not ready. But change still has to happen…. just how?