ERASMUS+ Project: 'UNITE'
Understanding the need for Inclusive Teaching in Education
“UNITE” is the title of our European project under the Erasmus+ programme which our school took part in, with 5 other schools in Europe. The schools involved in this project were: Holy Family Senior School, Ireland | Krootuses Pohikool, Estonia | Kilimli Ismet Inon Ilkokulu, Turkey | Boleangsskolan, Sweden | CEIP Ausias March, Spain
The focus and aim of the project was to develop inclusive schools where each child would have equal access to educational opportunities and to share good practice in inclusive education. This was achieved through visiting each other´s institutions in order to experience, learn and share best practices in inclusive education. Each partner school identified a particular strength in inclusive education and present it to the visiting teachers and thus each mobility focused on a different theme. These were:
(1) “Inclusion of Children with Special Needs”
(2) “Cooperative Learning”
(3) “Inclusive Approaches to Literacy”
(4) “Inclusion of Cultural Diversity”
(5) “Inclusion Through Games”
(6) “External Supports in Inclusive Practice”.
The main methodologies used in the training activities were classroom observations, job shadowing and presentations. Our teachers, returning from every mobility, disseminated the learning they received to the rest of our colleagues through our regular staff meetings. The results of this project are that each partner school has a cohort of teachers who have acquired new competencies, skills and training as well as practical ideas on inclusive practices in teaching and learning. This will lead to the longer-term benefits of having truly inclusive schools where new approaches will improve the quality of teaching and learning for all. All students will be afforded equal opportunities for educational outcomes as educational disadvantages will be tackled.
The activities our teachers experienced during their mobilities were very enriching. They learned a lot about the education system and practices in participating schools and countries. They could also have a look at the varying approaches to integrating students with Special education needs. They saw how cooperative learning works through a project where retired teachers and grandparents would visit the school regularly and help out in the classes, and many other inspiring methods and elements of inclusive education.
We are pleased to have been able to share our learning with the schools and learn from practices around Europe! We are sure participation in this project will lead to long-term benefits for all schools involved. We are truly happy that the cooperation and experience exchange with all involved schools continues even after this project is over. Our primary students have already found new pen pals in Sweden and are excited about their new friendships!