ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Learning in Inclusive Classrooms

Private schools in Delhi that buy land for construction at concessional rates have to make 20% of their seats available for children from the economically weaker sections. Everyone, except the educationists, knows that schooling is mostly about inclusion, about becoming a part of a group that is destined for success. A teacher from one such English-medium school with four EWS students assigned to her for remedial tuitions, traces their evolution over three years from sitting in incomprehension to enthusiastic participation.

An earlier version of this article was presented at the conference on “Innovations in Teaching/ Learning Processes and Practices: Social Inclusion and Exclusion and the Classroom” on the occasion of national consultation on “Inclusive Classroom, Social Inclusion/ Exclusion and Diversity: Perspectives, Policies and Practices”, India International Centre, New Delhi, 7-8 September 2010.

When one visits an inclusive classroom the most striking image that one comes away with is that of a young child from a marginal background sitting withdrawn, trying to concentrate on the lesson, but ultimately giving up with a tired yawn, and looking out the window or down at the floor in relief.

It is easy to blame the teacher for this failure of inclusion, especially when one hears again and again of teachers actively discriminating against these children. And it is easy to conclude that all that needs to be done is to sensitise the teacher, so that she begins to treat the marginal child better.

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