Welcome to ‘The inclusive English classroom’ (Idiom Vol 54, No 2). In this issue, we hear from English teachers about the ways they define the inclusive English classroom, and how they design, implement, assess and reflect on their work within these classrooms.
There is no doubt that inclusivity, differentiation and diversity are key concepts driving educational policy and directives. These are inherently valuable and positive ideas, but they are also not new in any real sense. Teachers have faced diverse classrooms from the time ‘the classroom’ came into being, and have worked with incorporating and developing all students at all times. Ideas like personal learning plans and individual goal setting are a more formal way in which to articulate the strategies teachers have employed over many years.
We were interested in how this works in our classrooms at a micro level. We wanted to hear from English teachers about their thinking, planning and practice in mixed ability, diverse and inclusive spaces.
Our voices, the voices of practising teachers, are crucial to both our development as a profession, and within the larger debate around education policy and direction. We are so grateful to those teachers who found time and energy to contribute their teaching and learning strategies, and their personal and professional reflections. We have organised the issue into four sections. The first articulates some theory around inclusivity and teaching. The second section contains papers that share classroom strategies for inclusion in our classes. We hope readers will find inspiration and support in these pages for their own practice. The third section has reflective papers—pieces that grapple with the implications, ramifications and consequences of inclusive teaching and learning. The fourth section shares with readers the achievements and milestones of VATE members, and a paper from the VATE archives that demonstrates the longevity of the debate on inclusive classrooms.
We, as teachers, are not static individuals delivering a fixed curriculum. We are critical theorists, and problem solvers, and creative thinkers. We are human beings who are emotionally and intellectually engaged by our work and our students. As such, we consider educational policy and frameworks through these prisms, and it is this work—this on-the-ground, daily work—that makes great education experiences.
Idiom is committed to providing a forum for teachers to share what we do, and how we do it, and why it is valuable. We seek to highlight the vision and the work of teachers, and this issue is another example of this commitment. We hope you enjoy this as much as we have enjoyed hearing from you and putting this edition together.
Contributing Editor, Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School, member of VATE Council