The second day of teacher trainings in Inclusive Education are going on in seven regions of Kosovo. The participants who are taking part in the trainings are teachers or MED representatives from all seven regions. STE Mrs. Marja Matero are leading the trainings. This time also our intern Helga Himberg from Finland took part in one of the training days in Prizren on the 23rd of April.

 

The day begun by revising what the participants had learned in the first day of training. It is crucial for schools to understand what inclusive education means, and what the difference between inclusion and integration is. When schools integrate students, the school expects the student to get adjusted and the school is not doing much about welcoming the student. Inclusion means that pupils with any disabilities are equal with the other students; schools provide equal access to school, provide support to the student and welcomes each student in classes. There has to be cooperation with parents as well.

During the day the discussions were lively, and it was positive to see that participants had understood quite well what STE Mrs. Marja Matero was looking after. Some interesting stories about students with special needs came up, and according to the participants discrimination has decreased at least in the municipality of Prizren. However, changes in schools are needed in order to develop inclusive schools. It has come up during these teacher trainings that work of resource centers, municipality assessment teams, and the work of support teachers is unknown for most participants in most parts of the country.

In the day one of the trainings, STE Mrs. Matero gave the participants homework. Their first task was to develop a SWOT-analysis, and with the help of that they were asked to prepare an action plan with practical examples from their school. In the action plan they had to mention how to improve the school to become more inclusive, and what are the elements schools need when they develop into inclusive schools. In order to do so, schools need elements such as: awareness, support, resources, changes in the classroom, changes in the school, knowledge, commitment, community involvement, access to school and identification. If a child does not fit in the school, it means that the curriculum does not work for them; each individual have their own needs.

STE Mrs. Matero talked also about differentiation in the curricula. The curriculum in the inclusive class in always individual, and the individualized plans are made to evaluate pupils’ goals. When making differentiations in a subject, the teacher needs to be familiar with the content and know where the student fails. Often the problem in Kosovo has been that classes have too many students. To make it easier for the teacher to focus more on individuals, large classes can form small groups. Also, in groups the results are better. Learning is socially constructed; pupils learn from each other.

In inclusive education assessment practices vary, and the assessment need to be focused more on the individual gifts and challenges. According to Mrs. Matero, if the assessment is mainly based on tests, it is guaranteed that the same students are always with the worst grades. Therefore, ongoing assessment is needed. Also, it is good to have a continuing assessment and a student portfolio. This gives the teachers, pupil and the parents a chance to see the progress of the student.

The feedback has been very positive, and teachers have felt privileged to be part in the trainings. The teacher trainings for inclusive education will continue in autumn again together with STE Mrs. Marja Matero. All the materials for inclusive education can be found on the Twinning project’s website. In addition, some extra videos which were also shown in these trainings are uploaded on the website.