Last week I ran a training day for the college instructors in Special Needs and Inclusion. We talked about the definition of Special Needs and Inclusion and then we considered where the college was in terms of its own development in Inclusion. The college instructors took an active role in identifying a range of Special Needs conditions and then ranked them according to whether or not the need was present in the college. It was interesting to see that their biggest concern was “low academic achievement.” The question might be, is this in itself a Special Need or the result of a teaching process that does not cater to the needs of the students. Two particular areas, that of language difficulties and of gender disprepancies between males and females, created a good discussion and some interesting thoughts about how to help students.
The idea of gifted and talented students was quite a new concept to some of the instructors. There was quite a debate about whether or not there were gifted and talented students at the college.
Unfortunately, as the training had been scheduled to take place on a holiday, only about 50% of instructors attended but thanks to all those who gave up their holiday to take part in my workshop. I hope they found it interesting and worthwhile and I was certainly impressed by their participation, thoughtful questioning and good responses.