No teacher likes to see anyone left behind, but the tragedy in Belize is that many children with disabilities are unable to engage with education due to a variety of challenges, including:
Physical accessibility to learning
Inclusive classroom management
Varied learning styles to meet different learning needs
These are not the only factors, a range of economic and social issues also come into play, but these are the areas that teachers can potentially control and overcome.
It is the skills, knowledge and mindset of the teacher which creates the space for all in the classroom to be included and engaged, and these are the most important resources to build when seeking to build fully inclusive education.
To ask teachers to deliver inclusive education they must be trained appropriately. Like any other professional skill, they need to have the opportunity to build it before they are asked to put it into practice. If they do no have the training, we cannot expect full inclusion in education to be in place.
So what are the core areas that are needed for training? We believe that to step towards fully inclusive classrooms, teachers in Belize need to have as a minimum training in the following areas:
Identifying and recognising the additional learning needs required due to different disabilities
Effective individually-centred behaviour management which focuses on the needs of the person above discipline
Creative lesson planning which builds a range of routes to learning which reflect the needs of individuals
Open and ongoing communication with parents and carers around a pupil’s needs
The confidence and knowledge to engage with other professionals beyond education to deliver a fully-rounded and supportive environment
Realize is committed to supporting trainee, qualified and post-experience teachers as they build the skills they need to be certain that they are able to create the most inclusive classroom they possibly can. Working in partnership with institutions, schools and individual teachers we will help build the capacity of Belize to deliver on its ambitions for inclusive education.