This article provides the basic strategies to better integration of inclusive approach into language acquisition process, highlighting the applicable techniques and practical advice to assist educational representatives in creation of common notion and essence of inclusiveness within classes. It has been found that student-centered approach in any type of learning empowers students’ communication, collaboration and self-reflection skills. Furthermore, the importance of deep approach, that forms inclusiveness, contributes to the development of problem-solving capabilities and ability to categorize the tasks by their complexity, fosters the recruitment process of a graduate. Finally, the article provides some solutions to the issues related to the barriers to establish inclusiveness imposed by the peculiarities of Uzbek learners within their educational environment.
The integration of inclusiveness into the educational process is a key factor in the development of education sector in developing countries, including Uzbekistan. The echoes of last century’s methodology are represented by a number of approaches, the main focus of which is teaching the masses, which by itself excludes consideration of individual characteristics and aspects of the student’s perception. However, in 1990, under the aegis of UNESCO, the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education has been adopted, which describes the policy of providing the population with quality education, according to which the needs, individual characteristics should be considered and the educational process must be tailored to the needs of each learner. Thus, the “inclusive” approach is a relatively new concept that requires more study and high-quality implementation in the educational system of Uzbekistan.
The interpretation of the term “inclusiveness” implies extensive criteria that characterizes the educational process. The most detailed set of criteria is provided in the Inclusion Index (Booth T., Ainscow M., 2016), and states that inclusiveness allows learners to have greater access to education, motivates them to better and active participation, and directs them to better achievements in education. This article suggests three outstanding approaches of inclusive education and describes a number
of techniques proposed to have potential to contribute to the smooth integration of an inclusive approach in the educational process in the framework of learning a foreign language.
It is essential to mention, that language acquisition classes should be accustomed to student-centeredness and the whole lesson should be designed, so learners interact in pairs and group work, as these settings provide students with the opportunity to practice and exchange their background knowledge and skills. Further students retrieve significant information and mirror the skills of their peers, necessary personally for them. The role of a teacher is to facilitate the lesson, to direct students when required and to provide timely feedback. This way of learning that is called “collaborative” is one of the main features of student-centered approach, as according to some research, learner-centered techniques such as pair work, small group discussions, collaborative activities, and role plays are the main practices associated with student – centeredness (Drotar, 2019).
Another point, related to student-centeredness is the authenticity of materials and topic, as learners should investigate the actual topic that happens in real life occasions. These cases challenge the students to encounter the situation when they will need to apply the skills and knowledge, so the lesson itself must prepare the students to cope with real life issues. It is important to remember that student-centeredness is characterized by the feature when the lesson is aimed at aiding the learners to apply the skills they gained to the real-life context (Doyle, 2011).
Moreover, another very important element of student-centered learning is peer-assessment, when the completed task is provided with a feedback, and every student can comment, discuss within group setting how successful the work has been done. In this way learners enjoy the opportunity to self-reflect, as they could decide how well they did their task and how that effectiveness was reached by their partners. In order to empower student-centeredness, the main figures in the process of learning should be students, who ‘gain insight into the difference between their perception of performance and that of another person’ (Rudland et.al., 2013).
To further discuss the extent of inclusive education it is vital to refer to deep approach in learning. Once deep approach is mentioned, the lesson design should consider smooth complication of tasks, so learners usually start with simple tasks, then they may categorize the information based on gained knowledge. Further, the tasks should be enough complicated by matching and gap-fill activities, that may encourage students to gain new information. Then, should be suggested the task aiming at structuring the content, preferably through authentic materials for further discussions. This progression of task complexity with the contextual implementation of acquired information adapted to social context is one another important feature in deep learning approach (Singh, 2011).
Adding more evidence to the deep approach in learning it is highlighted that the tasks should be aimed at assisting the learners in dealing with real-life situations through problem-solving. The lessons should let students learn about new information and then apply it any case to train problem-solving skills. What is important in this context is that students should be allowed to make mistakes, as later they will reach the correct answer with the assistance of their peers. It is highlighted that the deep approach
is integrated into learning when students gain independence in problem-solving that is the integral part of high-order thinking level (Baeten, Kyndt, Struyven, Dochy, 2010).
Giving the importance to the deep approach in learning low-order thinking skills should be discussed as well, as inclusive approach takes into consideration individual needs of students with comparatively low-order thinking abilities. Within this prism student should be engaged to communicate through the application of WH-questions, as students with high and low critical thinking abilities can participate and make valuable contribution into each other’s learning. It is important to mention that in order to provide deep approach a teacher should keep in mind that in the classroom there maybe also those, who handle low-order thinking assignments (Anjarwati, Chusnul Chotimah, Sa’adah, 2019).
To ensure inclusivity there should be the support by different technical facilities such as visual aids. It is recommended, teachers considered whether any of students handle the information better through variety of communication means: listening, visuals and kinesthetics. Information provided also must be measured, as nowadays there are plenty of learners with poor eye-sight, so they should not be overloaded. Some literature review statements suggest that inclusivity in the classroom is provided when all the participants and learners, even those with some special needs feel comfortable. (Preece, 2019)
Another important aspect of inclusivity that should be considered is some reasonable adjustments to the procedure of lesson plan and assessment tools that are stated in the approved the curricula by stakeholders in educational sphere. Here, teachers should be given some space for adapting the lessons responding particular educational and skills-related needs. It is important to mention, that the objectives of the lesson must stay solid, whereas the design and techniques adaptation should be carried out to let the learners observe their achievements by the end of the class. Some research shows that the measures of inclusivity consider a teacher to be enough flexible and proactive in the provision of multiple means of curricula presentation and assessment modes (Molbæk, 2017).
One more element contributing to inclusivity is the topic selection for Uzbek students, as some topics can be in the list of touchy issues by cultural and traditional means and values. Though, it is recommended to introduce these sensitive topics smoothly, letting the learners get adapted to the real-life issues, outlining that the aim is to provide reasonable argumentation and rational attitude. In this case, when learners get used to experience communication on various subjects it will promote their adaptation skills and once they work both in Uzbekistan and abroad, their cultural identity and customary behavior will not prevent them from quick adaptation and will not affect the level of their motivation. Otherwise the consequences of ‘spontaneity’ and immediate diving into new environments can lead to de-motivation of some students and may be very upsetting to them (Drotar, 2019).
Idea of inclusivity is driven mostly by the attitudes of teachers to every student as if that is the special person with particular wishes and subjective motivation. Teacher should bear in mind is that the his/her role as a teacher is not to teach, tell, give prompt answers to students’ questions, be always there around to help constantly. Teacher should serve the needs of students when witness ‘no-tool battle’ between a student and education, show a reasonably correct direction. As it is highlighted, a teacher should serve rather as a resource, which students may refer only when they need some direction, facilitation and mentoring (Singh, 2011).