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Educationists and policymakers have been working on ways to ensure inclusion in education whereby students with special needs are fully integrated into the mainstream system (Buli-Holmberg & Jeyaprathaban 2016). However, in some cases, such students require special attention to ensure that they get a quality education.
According to Huag (2016), inclusive education requires a change of attitude by teachers as they play a central role in determining how students perceive and interact with learning contents and materials. Carrington (1999) highlights the need to foster a culture that allows students with special needs to function optimally in the mainstream education system. For instance, dyslexic students may not perform well when subjected to normal testing methods.
Therefore, teachers need to adopt multiple ways as alternatives to written tests. In the theory of multiple intelligences, Howard Garber proposes a model whereby human intelligence is differentiated into specific modalities (Sener & Cokcaliskan 2018). This approach departs from the conventional way of thinking where intelligence is assumed to be dominated by a general ability. Teachers working in fully inclusive schools have formed a value base that offers a platform for students with special needs to enjoy quality education in the mainstream system (Suprapto, Lui & Ku 2017).
Some of the multiple ways that teachers can adopt when testing dyslexic students include creative art, dance, oral dialogue, multimedia presentations, projects, and tape recording. For instance, instead of requiring dyslexic students to write down answers during tests, learners can be allowed to give oral answers. This way, the teacher saves such students the trouble of having to write down answers, which is a problem for them. If the answers must be written down, a teacher can read the test questions to students, allow them to respond orally, and write the answers himself or herself. Alternatively, students can be allowed to record test answers on tapes.
Additionally, dyslexic students can be allowed to take tests in quiet locations with minimal distractions away from classrooms. In other cases, dyslexic students with sensory processing challenges can be allowed to make physical movements in the classroom during tests. This approach improves their attention through physical stimulation. Therefore, teachers should tailor testing approaches based on the individual student’s needs. However, Paliokosta and Blandford (2010) note that one of the barriers to ensuring fully inclusive education is teachers’ knowledge and conceptualizations. This problem can be addressed by ensuring that teachers are involved in policymaking together with being given requisite skills to empower them conceptually and practically for inclusive teaching.
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Haug, P 2016, ‘Understanding inclusive education: ideals and reality’, Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 206-217.
Paliokosta, P & Blandford, S 2010, ‘Inclusion in school: a policy, ideology or lived experience? Similar findings in diverse school cultures’, British Journal of Learning and Support, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 179-186.
Sener, S & Cokcaliskan, A 2018, ‘An investigation between multiple intelligences and learning styles’, Journal of Education and Training Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 125-132.
Suprapto, N, Lui, W-Y, Ku, C-H 2017, ‘The implementation of multiple intelligence in (science) classroom: from empirical into critical’, Pedagogy, vol. 126, no. 2, pp. 214-227.