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UK Policies on Inequality And Inclusion

This essay will identify one UK initiative within Early Years that aims to address issues relating to inequality and inclusion. It will discuss the inequalities and the subsequent negative effects that this initiative aims to address. It will analyse the potential impact of the initiative. ‘Removing barriers to achievement’ was a Government initiative in 2004 to enable children with additional needs to reach their full potential, by giving opportunities to play, learn and develop. It promoted the importance of involving children with SEN in making decisions about their own learning through communication with them. It had a vision to support early years’ settings, schools and local authorities in making improvements in provisions. It built on the Every Child Matters outcomes and using integrated services to improve inclusive practice.
It covered four key areas; early intervention through providing access to suitable childcare for children and families; removing barriers to learning through inclusive practice in every setting; raising expectations and achievements, through improving teaching skills and strategies for meeting the needs of children with SEN; and delivering the importance of partnership through an integral approach so parents can be confident that their children will get the education they need. (Lloyd ) Dewey described how a balanced curriculum of children’s active learning and high quality teaching of knowledge was needed for experimental education.
It is necessary to understand what is meant by equality and inclusion and this essay will aim to clarify this.
With regard to inclusion the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework (9:1.13) suggests:
“providers should deliver individualised learning, development and care that enhances the development of the children in their care and gives those children the best possible start in life”
Through the EYFS practitioners use the four themes of unique child, Positive relationships, enabling environment and learning and development to enable inclusive practice. It is each provisions responsibility to remove barriers to inclusion, be a positive role model for valuing diversity, challenge children and be alert to signs of exclusion. The National Children’s Bureau and Early Years Equality Organisation have proposed a sixth outcome, namely to be equal- feel you belong. The benefits of inclusion for children in Early Years are immense. Children learn to value others and in turn they too are valued. Their individual needs are catered for and they are able to play in enriched environments, where they can learn about others backgrounds and cultures. Early Years settings need to have commitment to inclusive practice to enable children to achieve.
Inclusive practice takes into account the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child, which stated that all children and young people have the right to say what they think about matters that affect them and that they are taken seriously. ( )
Equality in Early Years is concerned with meeting the needs of individual children. It includes everyone regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, family background, home language, learning difficulties, disabilities, gender or ability. (MacLeod-Brudenell 2004:257) Children are influenced by their home environment, family values and social factors. Vygotsky described that a child’s development is embedded in society and that they are a meaningful member from birth. (Fawcett 2009:49) Bruner developed a scaffolding approach based on Vygotsky’s zones of proximal development, he believed children learnt within their cultural environment. It is important therefore to value children’s culture so that they develop. Bronfenbrenner’s ‘systems’ suggested that not only was the child influenced by immediate family (micro), the wider social context of school (meso) and parents work places and Government (exo) also had an effect on them.
Research into the benefits for children attending a high quality preschool provision was completed by the 2004 Effective Provision of Preschool Education (EPPE) Government project which stated the importance of inclusion and recognised the significance of the Early Years. It stated that with regard to SEN settings should provide different learning opportunities to meet the needs of individual children. (Fawcett 2009:93) EPPE concluded that early intervention was a key factor in improving children’s cognitive development.
This essay will highlight learning difficulties and disabilities and the Governments strategy to address inequality and inclusion. Children who need extra support in areas such as behavioural or emotional, physical or sensory, speech and language are said to have a Special Educational Need (SEN).
The SEN Code of practice (Dfes 2001) is used by providers to ensure children with SEN are given support that is required to meet their specific needs. Guidance on how to identify, assess and ) provide help is contained in the code which should be used in conjunction with the provisions policy for SEN. If a child had been identified within a setting as having SEN they are entitled to having additional programme of support described as Early Years Action. Parents are informed throughout and if it becomes necessary to involve professionals, such a speech and language therapists or child psychologists the child is then entitled to a programme described as Early Years Action Plus.
Individual Education Plans (IEP) are devised for children with SEN in settings to support and develop individual learning. These often highlight specific areas of concern or developmental need. Close partnership with parents and professionals impact on children’s learning and development often resulting in better transitions to other settings or school entry. Observations and assessments are valuable in early intervention. However, would it be more valuable for IEP’s to become integral to planning for all children, having regard for Every Child Matters outcomes and the Early Years Foundation Stage framework, which valued individualised learning and development.
Funding for SEN has increased from £2.8 billion to £4.1 billion in the last four years, a Parliament publication described, however there are still children being let down by the system which causes frustration to parents, children schools and local authorities. The Education and Skills Act of 2008 stated it was the duty of local authorities to promote young peoples’ participation in education and training.
The Warnock report in 1978 introduced the integrated approach, now known as inclusive approach and statements of SEN. This report was similar to ‘removing barriers to achievement’ and Every Child Matters because it put the child at the centre of its agenda and used a team work approach. However, Warnock suggested in 2005 that unless there was a change in priority given to children with SEN the initiative would not achieve its aim. Warnock was described by the Disability Rights Commission as stating section 8 of the Human Rights Act which announced children have
“the right to personal development and right to establish relationships with other human beings and the outside world”
She suggested that the importance for the child was that they were able to achieve this, not particularly where they achieved it, she believed special schools were the way forward for some children with SEN and not others.
Inequalities and neg effects this initiative aims to address……..
The challenges facing children who have Special Educational Needs (SEN) are that too many children are waiting too long to have their needs met. Early intervention is hindered by lack of funding or poor coordination between professionals.
Mainstream settings are unsure how they will manage, they may feel ill equipped, so children may be turned away. Developing staff skills needs to be a priority.
Special schools feel they may have an uncertain future.
Families face variations in levels of support that is available to them within their Local Authority. The ‘postcode lottery’ that exists needs careful consideration and change.
The ‘removing barriers to achievement’ initiative aims to raise expectations and achievement through personalised education, building on what children already know and can do. It understands the need for children to be active learners.
Every Child Matters believed that early intervention was the key to supporting children with SEN. Using an integrated approach such as Common Assessment Framework (CAF) the team of preschool, health service, parents and professionals assess the needs of individual children through careful observations. Because it is important to note that children behave differently in different situations the CAF would prove useful for putting all relevant observations together to produce an assessment.
Potential impact of initiative…
The inclusive approach to promoting the potential and welfare of children with SEN will provide better outcomes for children. High quality, flexible provisions who value parental involvement would lead to early identification and intervention. It was hoped that the ‘removing barriers to achievement’ initiative would provide training and academic support for staff.
The ‘removing barriers to achievement’ initiative believed that over time the number of children attending special schools would fall. Increased knowledge and capabilities in mainstream settings would enable this to happen, however the Government still accepted some children needed the education provided by special schools.
The University of Cambridge reported in a Parliament publication that there was evidence that children who would have previously attended special schools were thriving in mainstream education. However it also reported that some teachers and schools felt ill equipped to cope with children with SEN.
OFSTED, 2004 described there to be a significant lack of progress in provisions concerning SEN. A Parliament publication suggested OFSTED had commented
“progress in learning remains slower than it should be for a significant number of pupils”
Although OFSTED stated the programme raised awareness of the benefits for inclusion and had made some improvements to practice, it also suggested this was only in a minority of schools it visited.
A Parliament publication described how Lord Adonis, the Under Secretary of State for schools and Minister with responsibility for SEN commented “the current system is not working perfectly” he suggested that some families were still not receiving adequate support, causing frustration.
Research into how the programme has progressed is still only on a small scale, little has been produced to consider the social impact of inclusion on SEN children and their peers in mainstream schools. A study by Education Exeter in 2010 will look at friendships and social interactions with regard to inclusion. This will prove useful in understanding how much children are affected by the programme aimed at removing barriers to achievement.
A key priority is training of the Early Years workforce in recognising SEN and intervening early, however is increasing funding enough to make this happen. According to Dyson (cited Lloyd ) is the programme more concerned with improving National Standards rather than the participation and inclusion of children with SEN? Would a change in the curriculum better suit removing barriers to achievement through developing it to reflect the holistic approach rather than children achieving on a scale? P scales are a compulsory part of educating children with SEN that are working below level 1 of the national curriculum.
The Inclusion development programme which was launched following the ‘removing barriers to achievement’ is guidance for provisions focusing on specific areas of SEN. It gives useful information and guidance for provisions to improve inclusive practice through training materials, information concerning where to find specific help and advice. It is an invaluable learning resource to enable quality improvement. Through continuing professional development Early Years practitioners work to identify discriminatory practice for example stereotyping, ignorance, prejudice and fear. (Jones 2004:15) Through identifying factors which may deter inclusion practitioners can evaluate practice and make improvements.
In conclusion the initiative ‘removing barriers to achievement’ aimed to address issues relating to inequality and inclusion. Although the principles of the strategy are clear to help children to reach their full potential, in reality some children with SEN are still failing to achieve this. The Every Child Matters personalised education approach to SEN and a quicker system of assessment and support will be required to achieve the strategies aims. It maintained that early intervention was the factor that would determine its success as the Surestart programme outlined in the Children’s Act 2004. Other factors that need to be addressed are bureaucracy and paperwork, making sure schools and teachers are equipped to meet children’s needs through training and support. It also needs to evaluate resources and increased funding in order to provide high quality early years practitioners that value and promote equality and inclusive practice.

Teaching a second language

Teaching Second Language Abstract
Language is basically a speech. Its written form developed later on. It is universal among human beings who use it for carrying out various activities of life. It is such a common phenomenon that we always take it for granted. We never bother to think about it. We never try to into the depth of the meaning of this word.
The first school of the child is his home. A child starts the learning from his home. A teacher can make this learning process very easy. In this paper we will discuss about the learning processes of a second language.
Definitions of language are not difficult to find. Almost all well-known linguists have tried to define language in their own way. A simpler definition may be:
According to (R.H. Robins, 1979), “Language is a system of arbitrary symbols which help the people of particular community to communicate and to interact.”
It means every language operates within its own system. Every language has its own arbitrary symbols. The words “communication and interact” mean to understand and speak.
Learning is a very common phenomenon. Everybody, whoever he may be or wherever he may be, is learning something. Even animals are no exceptions to this observation. Learning or development is a continuous process. Throughout the life man goes on learning and development.
One of the famous definitions of the learning given by (Robert Burns, 2002) is “A relatively permanent change in behavior with behavior including both observable activity and internal processes such as thinking attitudes and emotions.”
When a teacher teaches a second language to his students, he uses the prescribed text books, different methods and techniques. Students belongs to different ages, different gender. This act of teaching a new language is quite clear. But what about a child who is learning his mother tongue. Nobody consciously attempts to teach him. He himself does not consciously attempts to learn his mother tongue. Some psychologists have given theories about the language development and teaching lets discuses these theories in detail.
It says language development is a matter of behavior. According to (Watson and Skinner, 1920), the learning or development refers to a persistent change in behavior and it is a response to a given stimulus.
So development of a language must be explained with reference to change in behavior.
The behavioristic view of development of a language was strongly challenged by Noam Chomsky who is exponent of Mentalism. Mentalism refers to something which involves the mind and the process of thinking. According to Chomsky, language is not merely verbal behavior; it is a complex system of rules. The knowledge of these rules is our linguistic competence.
A child is born with a mental capacity for working out the underlying rules of language. This means that the child’s language development is not being simply shaped by external forces: it is being creatively constructed by the child as he interacts with those around him.
How a child (any person) learns second language is still not completely certain. More than fifty theories have been presented by the psychologists. But by our observation we do know that there are three different kinds of language learning. These are learning a language by heart, forming habits, and acquiring rules.
Development by Heart:
Many people still attempt to learn a second language by learning set sentences, dialogues, and texts by heart. It is useful in learning things which are fixed and limited, and it is often found to be useful way of mastering certain fixed items in a language. Learning set sentences by heart may enable us to give a few fixed responses, but it is not likely to prepare us for this great variety of language that we need to understand and use in life.
Forming Habits:
A second language can be taught by developing a set of habits which we learn by imitation and which gradually become automatic. Central to this view is the belief that children learn their first language by imitation their parents (family) and by the reinforcement on the part of the parents.
Research has suggested that that children do not learn their first language only, or even mainly, by imitation; they frequently produce sentences which they could never have heart from adults and so must have developed independently. A simple example of this is children’s use of a plural nouns: when English speaking children first begin to use plurals, they often say phrases such as ‘two mans’, ‘three sheeps’. It is clear that they have not learnt to produce these by imitation; rather it appears that they have acquired a rule of the language, which at this stage they are applying to all plural nouns.
Acquiring Rules:
This suggests a third view of second language teaching process, which sees language as a system of rules. Teaching a second language is involves being expose to samples of language that we can understand. From this we can acquire the rules of the language and apply them to make and unlimited number of original sentences.
During a process of development of a language, it is possible that we may apply a rule wrongly. This will lead to errors. In this view, therefore, errors are natural part of the acquisition process and need to be completely avoided.
When we discuss different methods of teaching, we come across terms like approaches (theories, philosophies), methods and techniques which are used usually interchangeably. We must be clear what these terms means. According to (Edward, 1963) an approach to languages teaching is a set of beliefs about language which underlines or prescribes the use of a certain methods. Different approaches prevalent in teaching are: classical approach, structural approach, situational approach, communicative approach, natural approach.
If we believe that language is primarily concerned with speaking, we will follow a method of language teaching which concentrates on developing the spoken skill. If we believe that language is a set of rules, we will adopt a teaching method which lays emphasis on the rote learning of grammatical structures.
The methods of teaching in schools in Pakistan are traditional. They emphasize grammatical forms. The result is that even after so many years of learning, their students cannot express themselves correctly and effectively in English. The Communicative Approach is an attempt to meet this challenge. According to Brian Seaton it is approach that aims at developing the practical knowledge of how language is used. The Communicative language teaching attends to meaning more than to grammar.
Teaching English to speakers of other languages is both difficult and worthwhile. Many internationally minded people are deciding to teach English as a Second Language both in the United States and abroad. While teaching English as a second language in USA of any other country around the world, teacher should keep in mind the following simple guidelines.
Facial expressions, hand gestures, and other non-verbal indications are an immense way to overwhelm the language barrier. For instance, when clarifying the idea of tall, raise your hand high into the air. When clarifying the idea of cold, shiver and chatter your teeth.
If the teacher constantly talks in the class then learners of English as a second language will never find an opportunity to practice. Working in a group gives students a chance to practice the language. Groups work the best with 2 to 6 learners; with any more people, not everyone gets a opportunity to contribute. It is also a good scheme to group students with dissimilar first languages together when possible.
If the teacher speaks the similar language as the students, the condition will be very much simplified. But not many teachers have the lavishness of speaking the similar language of his students. Bi-lingual resources can facilitate a teacher of English as a second language to sketch on a student’s native language devoid of knowing him.
Teachers of a second language have to repeat everything at least three times. They should also differ the wording of their explanation. A student may be familiar with one set of expressions but not another – even when the subject of discussion is the similar. Even if the student does recognize an idea upon first clarification, he will get help from the repetition and disparity of language. It will expose him to innovative words and expressions.
The first duty as teachers of English as a second language is to correct student language mistakes. Over-correction, though, can make students unwilling to exercise the language. If scared of being corrected every time they speak, students will basically discontinue speaking and consequently learning the language. Of course, there are suitable times to correct language errors. If an idea for instance the past tense has been talked about at length in class, it is suitable to correct students when they outline the past tense inappropriately.
Learning English as a second language is not an effortless thing expressively. Students will feel uncomfortable about their lack of English capability and will thus be unenthusiastic to use the language. The duty of the teacher of English as a second language is to form a secure and helpful atmosphere, one in which the student will be relaxed experimenting with the language.
Teaching and Learning a second language both are difficult jobs. If learning a second language demands extra efforts then on the other hand teaching a second language is a challenge for teachers. In this paper we have discussed theories about learning a second language and duties of a teacher for teaching a second language.
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