Moving towards inclusive approaches to learning: addressing learners' diverse expectations and needs. International Expert Meeting
Too many children and young people attending school continue to be excluded from learning opportunities. The different needs, abilities and learning expectations and styles of learners should be respected, understood and met through a comprehensive inclusive approach to learning. The main purpose of this meeting is to take stock of the main issues and challenges related to inclusive approaches to learning and teaching and to agree on the main areas/topics that need to be further addressed and documented in order to strengthen the knowledge base for inclusive teaching and learning.
In recalling the commitments made by the international education community to follow-up on the Salamanca recommendations 20 years ago, UNESCO Headquarters and the International Bureau for Education (IBE) are collaborating to convene an international expert meeting to take stock of current reflections and practices in the field of inclusive approaches to learning as well as to identify major challenges and opportunities to inform a robust inclusive social agenda with a focus on learning approaches and processes.
There is increasing awareness that these processes often lack solid orientation and required flexibility to accommodate and respond to the diverse abilities, needs, motivations and interests of a heterogeneous learner population. In many contexts, large part of the instruction and learning is based on rote learning, meticulously following and copying the textbooks and grounded on the role of teacher as transmitting information. It is not surprising that learners with different capacities are not adequately challenged and supported. Personalization of the learning process and the search for multiple ways to develop the potential of each learner remain a challenge across different levels of the educational system.
The objectives of the meeting are as follows:
1. Take stock of current reflections, trends, policies and practices, with regards to inclusive teaching/learning approaches and processes;
2. Strengthen knowledge production/compilation, management and dissemination on inclusive approaches to learning and teaching;
3. Review and update the Chapter on Teachers and the learning environment in the 2009 UNESCO policy guidelines on inclusion in Education in light of latest developments in the field of inclusive teaching/learning;
4. Develop the terms of reference for the thematic case studies to be undertaken as a follow-up to the meeting.
The Expert meeting is expected to come out with four concrete outputs:
(1) A technical report, building on the critical analysis of current reflections, trends and practices on inclusive teaching and learning practices;
(2) A strategy for knowledge management, dissemination and communication for policy advocacy on inclusive approaches to learning and teaching;
(3) An outline for updated version of the UNESCO Policy guidelines in inclusion; and
(4) A common ToR for the thematic case studies on issues identified.