Episode 24

May 12, 2023


Owlcast 58 - with Daniel Sobel

Owlcast 58 - with Daniel Sobel
ACS Athens Owlcast
Owlcast 58 - with Daniel Sobel

May 12 2023 | 00:35:06


Show Notes

Inclusion in Education Through Innovation

Much of today's school practices originate in the Victorian era classroom, and many of the mentalities are deeply ingrained in many schools of the Western world. Mentalities include memorization and recitation, rigid curriculum, standardization, and limited access to accommodations for learning or other differences. These mentalities can make innovation very hard to foster and implement, while switching to new models is particularly cumbersome.

On March 2023, ACS Athens hosted the International Conference on Inclusion organized by the Educational Collaborative for International Schools. One of the keynotes at the conference was Daniel Sobel, the founder and lead consultant for Inclusion Expert - a training and support company working in education. With a background in educational psychology, psychotherapy and as an assistant headteacher, he has experience across the whole spectrum of inclusion. His presentation at the Theater of ACS Athens touched many sensitive chords as he talked to peer educators as much about the topic of his expertise as also about his own experience through the education system.

With Daniel Sobel today, we discuss:

  • The inherent problems of the summative assessment mentality in education, which evaluates student learning, knowledge, proficiency, or success at the conclusion of an instructional period;
  • The sense of failure teachers and students experience by the lack of training on inclusion;
  • Creating a culture that values diversity;
  • The evolving idea of inclusion;
  • The difference between being trustworthy but conservative vs. being wacky and innovative;
  • The best way to reach inclusive practices in the classroom that encourages engagement and participation;
  • And much more...
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Episode Transcript

​​Speaker 1 00:00:10 This is the Owlcast, the official podcast of ACS Athens. Listen to the exciting story of the American Community Schools of Athens. Check out what drives all the members of our international community of learners as we create the education of the future. Here's John. Speaker 2 00:00:40 On March, 2023, ACS Athens hosted the International Conference on Inclusion, organized by the Educational Collaborative for international schools, E C I S. One of the keynote speakers of the conference was Daniel Sobel, the founder and lead consultant for inclusion expert at training and support company, working in education with a background in educational psychology, psychotherapy. And as an assistant head teacher, he has experience across the whole spectrum of inclusion. His presentation at the theater of ACS Athens touched many sensitive chords as he talked to peer educators as much about the topic of his expertise as about his own experience through the education system. In his book, the Inclusive Classroom, and New Approach to Differentiation, Daniel Sobel writes, I remember being completely set up for exam revision. Not only did I have all the books and notes I needed photocopied from a kind friend, but I had the beverages and snacks, perfect lighting and quiet space, and even the questions from previous papers. Speaker 2 00:01:42 So I knew exactly what they're going to ask. Yet when I looked at the first page, my eyes couldn't concentrate. I remember looking at it for the best part of an hour and making no progress at all. The important aspect to take from this reflection is not the challenge to get my mind to concentrate, but what it did to me psychologically to feel such a failure. I'm not Einstein now, but I'm a published author with a number of post-grads under my belt, and a confidence from those around me who respect my thinking and consider me bright. This is completely at odds with the way I perceived myself as a teenager. The result was me having self-esteem of an aunt as a therapist friend once put it to me and an absolute belief that I was truly never going to get anywhere, which was coupled with quite an inquisitive and sharp mind. Speaker 2 00:02:31 This last bit beaked out as arrogance in my early adulthood. My self-perception was inconsistent with the way I presented myself to others. That was an excerpt from the Inclusive Classroom, a book by Daniel Sobel. Much of today's school practices originate at the Victorian era classroom, and many of the mentalities are deeply ingrained in many schools of the Western world, mentalities that include memorization and recitation, rigid curriculum, standardization, and limited access to accommodations for learning or other differences. These mentalities can make innovation very hard to foster and implement while switching to new models is particularly cumbersome. Today with Daniel Sobel on the Outcast, we discuss the inherent problems of the summative assessment mentality in education, which evaluates student learning knowledge proficiency or success at the conclusion of an instructional period, the sense of failure teachers and students experience by the lack of training on inclusion, the process of innovating in the space of inclusion by managing attitudes and lack of resources, creating a culture that values diversity and differentiation and inclusive teaching. One of the statements of your vision is that every child deserves the opportunity to achieve their potential regardless of needs, background, or ability. There is a lot to unpack here. What is the need to make this a vision? Do we still have students that don't get the opportunity to achieve their potential? Speaker 3 00:04:18 I think that's fairly self-evident, but, um, let me try and unpack it a little bit. So I think there's, uh, most countries in most places, there is a sort of summative assessment system whereby we test children based on a sort of singular or even a possibly multiple, um, examination process. And that sort of determines outcomes for, you know, next steps. And there's some logic to it. But, uh, there's problems with that system such as, you know, some people, uh, may be particularly brilliant, but their capacity to remember so much in, or even to recall so much in, in one particular moment is limited. So inherently the system is, it limits a certain amount, and actually the system is designed to look for a limited amount. So we are not interested in giving everybody an A grade. We're interested in giving only a certain percentage. So inherent to the system, uh, we have at least 50% of children who feel like they haven't done very well or they failed. Speaker 3 00:05:26 Well, of course, the potential work that we could do is to make them feel like, oh, you know, getting a D degrade is fine. I know that you can't do anything with it. And, you know, effectively all of the messages in society is that you've failed. But nonetheless, you know, that's one potential approach. And the other approach is to a, reinvent the system, or b is to, when say, reinvent the system, it probably means create alternative pathways. So that's one possibility, uh, because nobody wants to reinvent the system. Right. Only if you've noticed that. But we're still doing examinations in the year 2023, and no one really has an appetite. Speaker 2 00:06:03 We're pretending that everything works out correct. Speaker 3 00:06:06 Right? Oh, yes, yes. It's all very good. <laugh>. Uh, uh, our alternatively, um, we say, so the obvious is to sort of come up with an alternative provision for some type, you know, for different types of children. And the other is to sort of maximize, uh, the learning ability and process, um, within the classroom itself. And those two things there is kind of broadly what inclusion is trying to address. And I, and I think that in any classroom, in, in, in the world, you have, um, 10 or 20% of children who are struggling. Um, and then you'll find, uh, I mean, I'm talking about a mixed ability classroom. You'll find 10 or 20% of children struggling with some kind of special educational need. There may well be, uh, an average of 10% or so with child protection related issues or home related issues, uh, and that's impacting their mental health and abilities to participate in the classroom. And then you have children who cognitively aren't up for the curriculum challenge, and so you kind of dealing with 40% or 50% of the classroom who just aren't fully included in this process. So therein lies the, the bigger problem. I mean that those statistics will change according to different schools in different places, but that's broadly speaking, where the need is and Speaker 2 00:07:28 The way that life is changing, um, it is more than evident that you're an educator, but, um, you are an inclusion practitioner and the founder of a UK-based company that works to support schools with all aspects of educational inclusion. Can you take us through the process that made you choose this path of making inclusion your profession in education? Why do schools or our society in general need coaching in what most of us think as a given self-explanatory, like inclusion? Speaker 3 00:08:00 Um, there's, I mean, there's two very different questions there. I mean, I think that, uh, we don't train our teachers well enough to meet the needs of children in the classroom. And I, and I think asking teachers to do so is unfair. I think that's the first thing I'm gonna say. Unfair. I don't mean in a sort of childlike manner of Oh, that's not fair. Uh, but I mean, you wouldn't ask someone who was a chemical engineer to build a bridge, you'd say, and you'd say, well, but you are an engineer, right? Right. You'd say, but I'm a chemical engineer. You know, I haven't done structural engineering. I don't know about building bridges. I've never built a bridge before. It occurs to me that in any other profession, you would say, this is unfair to ask somebody to do this job, which they're not fully trained for. Speaker 3 00:08:43 So, you know, why are you asking somebody to teach a class, uh, of made up of children, let's say, for example, with, you know, with a child who's on the autistic spectrum, and the, and the teacher isn't prepared for that. They haven't been trained in autistic spectrum stuff, and, and they dunno how to include them. And, and what they end up experiencing is a sense of failure, and it's either failure of the child or failure of the teacher. It tends to fall on someone's head, right? <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I think that's a very unfair state of affairs. That's one element. My personal engagement with it all is that I, I failed at school myself, so I didn't, I didn't get any A levels and didn't, graduate school didn't go on to do a first degree. Actually, I, I struggled and I was fortunate eventually to jump into a master's in education, psychology, and psychotherapy. Speaker 3 00:09:33 And I've eventually did a doctorate, but it was a personal journey that made, it made sense to me that this is kind of where my passion and where my skill lie, right. To bring those two things together. So, especially as I have ADHD, and, um, I was saying to a friend the other day that I really dunno what it is to work hard. I've never worked hard, although, you know, I've, I, I've, you know, written books and, you know, I work every day, all day, ridiculous amounts of hours and everything. But my point being is I, I can only really work hard at something that I enjoy and I'm passionate about. So, you know, a simple answer, right? Give very long answers. But my most simple answer is that I just really enjoy it. So I do what I enjoy. Speaker 2 00:10:14 Your organization is a partner of the International Forums of Inclusion Practitioners, which has as its values support, empathy, belonging. You're also involved in the Global Inclusive Teaching Initiative. You mentioned a few things about the unfairness of teachers not being, uh, fully trained. Are these all structures to support teachers in their professional development towards inclusion, or do they have a bigger role to play as we gradually get more aware of the need for inclusion? Speaker 3 00:10:48 So I, I started the I F I P, the International Forum Inclusion Practitioners during lockdown because, um, I was in touch with a lot of teachers organizations, uh, from around the world via LinkedIn. So I have an active profile on LinkedIn, right. And I thought since people were getting more used to Zoom and it became more natural, I thought, well, why don't we try and speak to each other? So I put a, a, a notice out there, and we ended up having about a hundred or so people from, from about 60 different countries. And I thought that was actually quite fun and interesting and, you know, quite supportive. And the, the messages were very positive about how people in inclusion could support each other. So, um, Speaker 2 00:11:26 Was there a message you received from this group of people that surprised you? I mean, I'm pretty sure every, everyone comes from a different background, and that seems amazing to me that you managed to get through this circle of people. Was it something that really rang a bell? Speaker 3 00:11:42 The three most common issues, or the three most common messages were that we are working at the very forefront of inclusion. Meaning we are making stuff up, we are innovating in the space. We are facing huge mountains of challenges. Those challenges are most often with the, the perceptions of the community. They're working in the limitations of resources, um, and dealing with managing lots of different attitudes. Um, parents, teachers, um, government, local government, and so on and so forth. So the challenges were, were, were huge mountains. That was the second thing. Uh, and the third thing is the sort of insatiable appetite to find out what else is working out there in the world, what else is every anyone doing? And funnily enough, there isn't actually an obvious place to go to, um, to find out what are the most innovative, creative, uh, practices going on in inclusion in the world. Speaker 3 00:12:38 There just, there just isn't anything. So we, it, it became a natural solution. Um, I definitely think it has a role to, to evolve into speaking to governments about what works. So the, the normal process is there is a policy, and then we've gotta translate the policy into practice. So what I'm interested in doing is, um, seeing how the I F I P, the International Formal Inclusion Practitioners, uh, which is now in 120 countries, um, can be a bunch of practitioners speaking to policy. And so that's why I, I'm staging the, um, global inclusive schools, um, summit at, um, UNESCO, uh, headquarters in Paris, precisely to meet this point. And, you know, we've just set up, um, however many meetings with, with government and so on and so forth, that that's the aim of it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, the Global Inclusive Teaching Initiative, which we are doing with, uh, which I, I spearheaded and co-authored with Professor Carol Tomlinson and Helena Wa from America, and Helena Wallberg from Sweden and a few others there. The idea of it was to bridge the very specific gap. We mentioned before that teachers are not prepared to meet the needs of children in the classroom. So, well, we wrote a course, which is the best of our books and our trainings mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, to do so. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:14:10 So inclusion is about more than meeting equality laws or having a diverse workforce. Uh, it involves creating a culture that continuously values diversity and where everyone receiving the necessary opportunities to thrive. So the question is, what is differentiation and how does it fit in the larger scheme of things around inclusion? Speaker 3 00:14:32 Yeah, I think, um, I mean, I think that before you get to differentiation, that the word culture that you mentioned, or, or even attitude, um, uh, very, you know, when I give talks, I talk a lot about belief in the child and what is possible for children with, with different types of abilities. So I think those are sort of foundational issues, which are your starting points, which may seem like very nice to have things, but not essential because, you know, there is a technical, uh, game called, um, teaching where pedagogie, and then you do the game, and as a re you get certain results. And actually, I would argue that all of those soft nice things about relationship between teacher and child, um, attitudes and culture in the classroom, et cetera, have a very significant impact on what really happens. So I think there is your starting point, and it's something that needs to be continuously nurtured. Speaker 3 00:15:26 There is a broad stroke understanding of what differentiation is, although the word differentiation, I think has evolved. And it, I, for me, it means much more about inclusive teaching. So there is an exclusive teaching style, which is a very much sort of Victorian, uh, or 19th century version, which is, um, you know, the teacher starting at the front, um, speaking at children, right? And it is the responsibility of the children to perform well in the classroom as the teacher is espousing knowledge and that chalk and talk, or there's lots of words for it, but that's the, the essential model. The inclusive teaching model puts the teacher as a facilitator of lots of different types of learners in the classroom. And so I don't think that a label necessarily helps in this regard. I think what the only thing that can help, the most thing that can help is understanding the needs and the abilities of children. And so you can individualize, you can't individualize one person standing in front of lots of children. You can't individualize that way. That's the opposite of individualizing. So it's much more about individualizing, providing learning opportunities rather than the focus being on the teacher and the performance of the teacher. Speaker 2 00:16:46 You're bringing me to my next question. You're, you're giving us the picture of a classroom. Well, I have two pictures in front of us right now. We have one with a teacher in front of a blackboard with austere face lecturing to a classroom with tightly placed rows of students absorbing each word or attempting to. The other is a classroom without any row, with students doing their own thing in front of a laptop or a notepad in groups or alone sitting all over the space and the teachers seemingly being a spectator. Where does inclusion fit in each of these pictures? I'm describing two different classrooms that take place in the present as we speak in different places. Speaker 3 00:17:28 I did an experiment once with a, with a teacher who I was supporting as a, a brand new teacher. I was observing them, uh, teaching. And what I felt that they were doing was just talking so much that they were taking up the space and that the children were sort of losing concentration and they weren't really that interested in what was going on. So I said to them, this, by means of an experiment, I'm going to try and teach this class without saying a word. Let's see if it's possible. Right. Um, so as the children walked in, they're slightly older children anyway, so we were talking about 16 plus. So it was slightly easier, and I'm not suggesting that we do this, but I'm trying to make a point, um, was, uh, as they came in, I, you know, uh, stood by the door and gave them a piece of paper that had some instructions. Speaker 3 00:18:12 I, um, you know, encouraged them into the groups that I'd laid out. You know, I sort of pointed out, here's me, you know, basically giving them instructions, but not, not verbalizing anything. Right. And then sort of, uh, I'd given a role to each person. So you know, that one person was the note taker and one person was the, um, you know, then they can swap these roles. It was quite clear. There were some clear instructions about different cases. The cases were quite interesting. I was teaching psychology classes. They were quite interesting. Right? So the moment you sort of talk about rape and murder and da da, da, and what would you do and how would you say this? Well, suddenly they're interested, right? So you have to make sure the material's interesting and pitched right at the right level for the children. Right. Um, anyway, this sort of continued and I went on and I was just sort of listening and sort of, you know, go around to the group and think mm-hmm. Speaker 3 00:18:58 <affirmative>, that sort of thing. I was like, careful not to try and say anything anyway. I think at a certain point, you know, towards the end of the class, it's, it was, I kind of needed to wrap things up or, or to bring children in. But I think I made at least 30 minutes or 40 minutes without saying a word. And I think the point was that, um, I was trying to say that, you know, in a very simple terms, that good education, uh, isn't about you, the teacher. That's right. It is about the children learning. And I don't think that what I'm saying is original, uh, to the world of inclusion. Um, what I'm interested in is not so much this sort of airy fairy concept of inclusion, which seems to be, uh, like a heavy idea, but, uh, of, or we must do it, or there's some either obligation or a pushback against it, but actually much more simple idea as to whether a child is engaging or, and participating, engaged Speaker 2 00:19:51 And interested Yes. Speaker 3 00:19:52 In their own particular way. And that is as simple as it gets, and they can't engage and participate. If I, the teacher, I'm taking up all the space mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I need to allow them to create the room for them to engage and participate. So that, that was the basic thinking. Um, Speaker 2 00:20:12 And it made a difference from what you're telling me. And you see the interest of the students, even though you were just a facilitator, a a silent facilitator. <laugh>. Speaker 3 00:20:21 Yeah. Well, listen, I also mean, I, uh, I've learnt over the years to describe myself as quite lazy. So, uh, but I mean, I, I described, uh, earlier sort of said that, you know, I work very hard. Well, all I mean is I'm just not gonna do, uh, very boring hard work. So it's a strategy. Speaker 2 00:20:37 It's a strategy. I believe it. Speaker 1 00:20:44 You are listening to the Owlcast, the official podcast of ACS Athens. Speaker 2 00:21:01 In today's outcast, we talked to inclusion expert Daniel Sobel, who was one of the keynote speakers at the recent International Conference on inclusion, organized by the educational collaborative for International schools, E C I S, and hosted by a c s Athens. Stay with us as we discuss the role of education in formulating inclusion minded individuals. The evolving idea of inclusion, the difference between being trustworthy but conservative versus being wacky, but innovative. The notion of schools already producing the most inclusive thinking students and the best way to reach inclusive practices in the classroom that encourages engagement and participation. The discussion has been time and time again with, uh, with visitors and, and parents who are coming to, to talk about international education in general. I mean, the idea that strikes them the most is that the teacher is not the source of knowledge. It's a facilitator. And if it's not making it interesting for the students, then what's the point? Speaker 3 00:22:13 You know, probably when you and I were at school, right? It was harder for us to find information, and the obvious person to ask was the teacher, the teacher, Speaker 2 00:22:20 The teacher. Speaker 3 00:22:21 Whereas now we're dealing with children who ac who have access to Speaker 2 00:22:25 Maybe more information than the teacher has. Yes. Speaker 3 00:22:28 <laugh>, Speaker 2 00:22:28 Because they have also their information from the peers, which is not easy to get to. It is commonly believed that what students are learning in the classroom of a K-12 school, I'm, I'm talking about from our perspective now, we'll follow them through their life as this is their formative years. How about inclusion skills? Are these also part of the mentality someone keeps through their lives? Or do we continually need to be exposed to new and improved versions of inclusivity? Um, I guess my question is, should society dictate what is inclusion or should education lead the way informing inclusion minded individuals? Speaker 3 00:23:06 That's a really interesting question. There's at least seven PhDs there. I'm sure <laugh>, um, <laugh>, some PhD topics. Um, I think in a sort of strange kind of a way, uh, the vast majority of the education that we get at school, we forget. I hardly remember anything from my school day. It wasn't just me. Surely John, surely you don't remember the vast majority of knowledge or information. Speaker 2 00:23:33 No, I remember the impression it made me so, you know, different subjects, different topics, and most of the times I remember the teacher not the topic <laugh> and the way that they were teaching. So what about the inclusion? I mean, right now, this is a topic that is really hot out there. Uh, and we're trying to figure out if the skills that as a teacher who is embracing inclusion, tries to give to the students, do we expect that these students are going to embrace inclusion in their way into life? Speaker 3 00:24:08 Yeah. So I was gonna suggest that the outcomes of the kind of inclusion that we've been talking about, which is about participation and engagement, those things will, um, those are the things that people will remember. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, the relationships between teachers and child, they'll remember those and they'll remember, um, their attitude and feeling in the classroom rather than the content of information. So I think that is inevitably true, but that's, I think, a life thing rather than specific to do with inclusion or even school. It's just what we end up retaining. I I think that inclusion is evolving rapidly. So our ideas of inclusion now are not what they were 20 years ago. And it would be really strange to me, and if fact, I would be probably willing to bet my house that, um, in 20 years time we will look back at this particular period and think, wasn't it strange that we used these terms? Speaker 3 00:25:03 And, you know, we took these sort of attitudes because we are in the process of evolving. And I'm really excited about two things. Number one, um, the idea of trying to sort of seek the forefront of where this evolution is. It's an exciting idea. A lot of education, by the way, is boringly stuck. I mentioned this sort of like this 19th century model. Um, and c and education is extremely slow to evolve and pro mainly because, just going off on a sidebar, um, because the people who we elevate to lead education are people who are very trustworthy and trustworthy. People are very conservative. Hmm. So your school, the school principals, um, of, of our world who then go on to um, lead other sort of education are people who aren't known to be the most wacky and creative and innovative forefront thinking people. They're the opposite. Speaker 3 00:26:04 They're people who are very, very trustworthy and responsible individuals. By the way, I wouldn't take that away. That's not a criticism at all. I would probably be the worst school principal, which is one of the reasons why I realized I've got nowhere else to go, uh, in my senior leadership career. Why would I be a school principal? What a, what a terrible school that would be <laugh>. But, and so, you know, I can do my job at sort of being creative, innovative on the side, sort of to help support. But this is, it sets the geography of, of the landscape, of, of schools is being extremely conservative. Speaker 2 00:26:35 Have you had any discussions with, uh, pa parents or educators who strongly believe in the traditional educational model and which in a sense emphasizes competition, academic achievement above all else? Speaker 3 00:26:49 Only in the very worst of circumstances. Uh, which is, um, when my wife and I are at some sort of like social engagement dinner and somebody starts having a go at me about what they think their education system needs to be and how surely it would be better if we had separate schools for children who da, da da, da da. And then, uh, my wife's looking at me saying, don't respond. <laugh>, <laugh>. It's like, um, you know, only those sorts of circumstances. I mean, what's interesting is that I once had the mistake of getting into an argument on Twitter. Right? And then I realized from that, what's the point? I don't like Twitter. Um, and so I left Twitter. So I don't, I don't have anything to do with arguing. I don't consider myself having the capacity to debate. I just want to come back to the, the other thing I'm excited about <laugh> is the fact that regardless of whatever you think is in the news, the cultural wars, all of these things I frankly don't care about or I think are rather irrelevant and very distracting for humanity. Speaker 3 00:27:55 The argument is already one, our children, <laugh>, our school systems are produced, are extremely inclusive and liberal and forward thinking. The society has already determined its destination to be more and more inclusive. This will, um, be an ongoing generative positive, uh, forward, uh, direction. So for example, the children which are in your school right now, right, are in schools right now. They have grown up in the most inclusive version of that school that has ever been. And, uh, when they will reflect back when they're our age and they reflect back, they'll say, do you know what? It wasn't as inclusive as it could have been, and I really want it to be da da da da da. And they will be leading the next level of evolution that you and I can't yet perceive. And I'm excited or reassured that regardless of whatever sort of, you know, Donald Trump ideas which might be out there, or, you know, uh, hyper right wing, conservative views of, you know, competition in education as as, as kind of where it comes from, the argument is already won. Speaker 3 00:29:07 It's not even an argument. It's, you know, we've produced a whole new generation of very, of much more inclusive people. There was a really interesting, um, comedy film by means of an example, um, called 21 Jump 21 or something, I don't even remember, and I don't remember. There's a very stupid film. But the inter the concept of it was you've got these two detectives who have to sort of dress up as, um, teenagers and go back to school and they're gonna try and work out where the drug gang is or who the drug leader is or whatever. It was a really interesting moment where these now 30 year old detectives went back to school and they started saying, oh, you are so gay, for example, right. As if like, that was like a curse word cuz that's what they knew when they were at school. And the children turned around to him and said, what's wrong with being gay? What are you talking about? Speaker 2 00:30:03 Totally different, uh, mentality. Yeah. Speaker 3 00:30:06 As if like, don't you realize society has evolved? Right. And what you thought was offensive, you know, what you thought wasn't of is now not acceptable in our society. And there was this real clash of generations there. It was a, it was a great, I mean it was a comedic moment mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and there were, there were other examples given, and I've just given that particular one cuz it's, it came to mind of course, but, uh, really love that, um, idea, uh, as it was articulated that our children are far more inclusive than we are just in inherent. We've created that mm-hmm. Speaker 2 00:30:38 <affirmative>. Um, my final question, um, in the recent, uh, conference on inclusion of the educational collaborative for International School Z C I S that took place in our school a few weeks ago, you ended your keynote presentation with a golden rule for getting all inclusive classrooms working. And this is to make sure that it takes teachers we're supporting as a school, less time rather than more time to adopt a new practice, a new class habit, or a process towards inclusion, especially in the professional that is already stressful and time is very limited, as you said. Could you expand a little bit on this? What approach can a school adopt when introducing inclusion practices? And how can a teacher be motivated to follow this approach? I think this comes to the root of the issue. You mentioned it before. Speaker 3 00:31:29 Yeah. I think if you're asking a teacher say, okay, let's be inclusive. Okay, so what does that mean? Well, you have to make these additional, uh, worksheets. You have to do this additional speaking to the child. You have to do this additional this and this additional to that. Then the answer's gonna be no. And it is never gonna be in the shape of, no, it'll always be in the shape of yes. Uh, but what you'll see is resentment. You'll see lack of consistency, um, all of which by the way, I think is completely fair and reasonable. What a reasonable response to somebody. We ask too much of our teachers already. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if what inclusion is doing is asking them to do yet more, then I believe the most moral answer for the teacher is no, I want teachers to be doing, having an easier time, not a harder time as a result of inclusion. Speaker 3 00:32:17 So we already kind of looked at it a little bit before, you know, when we compared these sort of two extreme versions of a sort of facilitated learning model versus the 19th century teacher at the front of the classroom, uh, trying to dominate the classroom. That is already easier. It's already easier to prevent behavior problems than to be continuously reacting to behavior problems. How do you prevent behavior problems? Well, there is lots of individual understandings of children to be able to go into that, but the most, the basic principle of it is that, you know, know your child and what they need. So yes, getting to know ch children, what their actual needs are is possibly, I'm just saying possibly an extra burden of time in a busy school. My argument is that it'll take less time in the end getting to know children well enough to be able to adapt the classroom, to meet their needs in a simple and easy way than reacting to what happens when you don't. And so, you know, for example, if a child has proprioceptive issues, finds it difficult to sit or find, you know, a a way of sitting in their chair and you find them being disruptive in the classroom because they're getting up. And then what you are doing is you're spending time telling them to sit down, right? Sit down, sit still, that sort of thing. That takes up time and also stress it. You're causing them not just the child stress, but your self stress. It's a negative interaction Speaker 2 00:33:48 And disruption to everybody. And Speaker 3 00:33:49 Disruption was actually all that you really needed was a seat cover, is what I mean. And that's a, that's a very simple example, but I think that example in its concept can be replicated in many different ways. And so, yes, of course it takes a little bit of time to get to know individual children, um, and find out what's really going, how can maximize the inclusion and the, by that I mean the engagement and participation. But, um, I think in the end it's a lot easier Speaker 2 00:34:16 And the whole frame of mind slowly changes with these little things. So you don't even have to think about it when, when you try to do it. Daniel Sobel, thank you so much for joining us for the Outcast. It's been really interesting talking with you. You have definitely a, a very, uh, innovative way of, uh, looking at how education can be inclusive and we look forward to seeing you again in Athens. Thank you so much. Speaker 3 00:34:41 Thank you so much, John. Lovely to see you. Speaker 1 00:34:46 You are listening to the Owlcast, the official podcast of ACS Athens. Make sure you subscribe to the Owlcast on Google Podcast, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. This has been a production of the ACS Athens Media Studio.

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