Everyone knows that exclusion is to be avoided - but what can inclusive education look like in reality? It is not enough to simply declare that our school is working on including students with special needs; we need to know how to make that a reality. Practical tips, exercises, impactful insights, and a European perspective were all the things our participants could experience this previous week.
The new edition of the course “Special needs and inclusive education, the Italian experience of overcoming segregation” took place in Bologna from 15/05/2022 to 21/05/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, with Ivan Vilim from Elementary school "Nikola Tesla" in Serbia; Enda Creggan, Vanda Tate, Joy Loughran, Chloe Bartley, Patrina Falloon, Beverley Somerville from Windmill IPS in the UK; Drimus Eniko, Pop Camelia-Irina, Tincu Maria-Olimpia from Balcescu-Petofi Secondary School in Romania; Cristina Felices Navarro from CEIP La Jarilla in Spain; Andra Rektina, Mara Karklina from Riga English Grammar School in Latvia; Eva María Heredia Marín, Felipe Rodríguez Cortés from IES Politécnico Jesús Marín in Spain; and Lysbet Pypker from Mendelcollege in the Netherlands.
One of the first things we tackled was the difference between integration and inclusion. These two concepts were the key to the rest of the week, as we were leading the course with empathy and belonging as the main theme. We started with discussing the advantages and challenges of systems of all participants’ home countries, which turned swiftly into an exchange of different practices and strategies to deal with the topic.
On Tuesday the group had an opportunity to talk to one of our former participants, who is working as a support teacher with children with special needs in Rome. Alessandro shared his personal experience and some tips on how to implement the knowledge learned at our course.
The next day the group had another opportunity to discover the Italian system, with a visit to Istituto Tecnico Commerciale Statale Rosa Luxemburg. We explored the peculiarities of the “Italian Model”, one of the few examples of inclusive education, that is based on the principle of not having special schools, and that embraces the idea to “include” everyone in the same system, counting on the support of special figures like Support Teachers and Educators.
Membership was also an important topic this week. This sense of belongness, created by removing physical barriers that prevent dialogue and by promoting mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect, is very important to promote a welcoming environment that stimulates and supports the learning process. We discussed different methods of reaching membership and how to use them in a balanced way.
The last day was reserved for Cooperation - not only between teachers, but also parents. Involving parents in their child’s learning process is crucial to help them feel connected. Our role as teachers is to be a guide for both students and parents, providing information and ideas on how parents can assist their child’s learning process and help them build a supportive system at home.
The networking activities among the teachers who participated in the course were, perhaps, the most formative moments of the week: they were an occasion to exchange points of view, models and methods, creating a mutual enrichment.
Thank you to every participant, it was great having you here to share all this knowledge. We hope to see you again!
Discover more about this course at: https://www.erasmustrainingcourses.com/special-needs-inclusive-education.html
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.