Lumping everyone together doesn’t ensure an equal education.
Inclusive classrooms and separate classrooms for enriched students each have their merits for providing a good education. But neither one is never going to leave a student behind.
A new inclusive education model in New Brunswick has sparked concern among some students in the province. The policy requires that all students, excelling and struggling students alike, are taught in one common learning environment — it’s a model that critics claim fails to focus on each student’s unique strengths and learning pace.
On the one hand, drawing a line between enriched classrooms and mainstream classrooms does more than benefit students with higher grades. Specializing spaces based on different learning styles and strengths can also allow teachers to focus on struggling students who are at risk of falling through the cracks.
There’s a wide range of learning styles, learning habits and paces of learning — not all of them fit in one classroom.
On the other hand, segregating classrooms based on grades has long-lasting social implications. Especially at a stage like high school, where young people are still impressionable, separating classrooms may socialize students into believing that if someone doesn’t fit into a certain definition of success as you do, it’s not valuable to interact with them.
What’s more, splitting classrooms may be an oversimplified and temporary solution for what needs to be an ongoing effort to accommodate all learning styles and different strengths in the classroom.
Inclusive learning may be a temporary fix to a much bigger problem within our education system, in which students are treated as a mob rather than complex individuals with an array of strengths and weaknesses.
Either way, inclusive classrooms and split classrooms both solve and create problems. If this proves anything, it’s that learning isn’t as black and white as inclusive classrooms — the solution is a lot more gray than that.
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