What is inclusion? This is the first question that we must resolve in order to identify its full meaning and how far it can go.
Sometimes we may encounter the confusion of the real meaning of this word and confuse, using indiscriminately the word integration and inclusion without seeing the difference. So I want to start at this point … what is integration? What is inclusion?
Inclusion and integration
There are substantial differences between these two terms which directly affect the practice and human rights of minors. The same objectives are not pursued or even, therefore, the same means are not used to be able to achieve the end..
When we speak of integration, this implies the non-exclusion of any member of society. If we refer to this term, linked to education, we will refer to the fact that children must be educated, without distinction, but … under what conditions? This is where a new term appears. Segregation, which it is a question of grouping the students by their needs, by their diagnosis.
However, the term inclusion implies much more. Knowing what integration is, we can say that inclusion implies everything integration is, but we also realize its implication and put all the necessary resources and strategies to be able to achieve it.
Inclusion implies, in addition to being part, belonging. And in addition to belonging, this implies specifying that rights belong to everyone and that it is our duty as a society to facilitate the reach of each of them for each member of society.
As a legal reference, we have the Royal Decree signed by Spain (UNESCO, 2015) which approved the Incheon Declaration and which makes Education 2030 its horizon. He tells us that we need to promote learning opportunities for all of our students, regardless of their circumstances. conditions, in addition to being of quality and lifelong for all and in all contexts and levels of education.
The real difficulty for our school to be inclusive does not lie in the policies, nor in the resources or their lack, nor in the ratios, characteristics and particularities of the pupils … The real difficulty lies in questioning our teaching practice. By looking at us, by observing our students, by looking beyond.
In other words, if our gaze is cleansed of prejudice and is ready to look at the boy and the girl with the ethics of our work, the ethics of taking care of ourselves and the child, we can change our class. , Its methodology, accessibility, design and we will be able to implement inclusive practices that manage to develop the full potential of each of our students, ensuring the basic principles of inclusion.
What is an inclusive school?
Inclusive school aims to create a school for all, based on participation and non-discrimination. With this term, a more meticulous perspective is given to education, with an emphasis on:
- The fundamental right of everyone to receive a quality education.
- Diversity is seen as a reality of each person, which clearly shows that each person is different, unique and different from the other, but with the same rights.
- The ordinary environment, that is to say the ordinary school, is the most realistic, natural and effective environment for developing inclusive education, where participation and coexistence are essential in daily life.
- It promotes the involvement of all stakeholders in the educational community. Without this participation, the school is built without its pillars and if so, the chances of it weakening are high.
Over the decades we observed that:
- The terms were clear almost from the start and little by little we at least tried to put them into practice, but without much success in Spain.
- It is not a methodology, nor a pedagogy, but an attitude, a philosophy, a system of values and beliefs of each of the peoples which are part of the fabric of education, health, family, society. school, society.
In reality, what we can and should only do is open our eyes to the world around us, be able to look at people, lift our eyes, remove the bandage to look straight ahead at what bothers us, makes us bad or we dont do. t know how to deal with it out of ignorance, lack of information or fear. Ask them, the students, share our doubts with them, count on the families to help us clarify and question how we have done so far and how we think we could improve. Our gaze is the key.
It’s a personal job and we have to start.
It is not about integrating people into systems, but in adapt environments to allow people to grow, flourish, promote, achieve and be part of society. Does integration guarantee this? Well, as we have seen, no. The integration system guarantees education, but not fair. Can we achieve inclusive education? I am convinced that it is.
Author: Irene De La Granja Muñoz, teacher in special education and member of the Psychopedagogy section of the TAP Center.