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18 Inclusion Strategies for Student Success


If you are a teacher of students within an inclusion classroom, then you are probably a creative, caring, patient, innovative, resourceful, structured, and flexible person. Whew!


The Many Facets of Inclusion Teaching

The many hats that you wear on any given day depend upon the students, subjects, and topics you teach. Schools and families collaborate to assist students of all ability levels to achieve many skills, while co-teachers and all staff collaborate together to teach and reach each student. Planning for successful inclusion includes allocating the time, resources, strategies, interventions, appropriate student supports, and of course, can do attitudes!


At times, inclusion teachers work with the whole class, small groups, and individual students. Baseline levels inform teachers which students need direct skill instruction, practice, remediation and/or enrichment. Inclusion at its finest involves general and special education teachers and related staff forming collaborative respectful partnerships that honor all students’ levels. Overall, the most important thing to remember is to always have high expectations for your students and to highlight their strengths.


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Here are 18 practical strategies to turn your inclusion experiences into award winning classroom performances.


18 Surefire Inclusion Strategies

1. Establish prior knowledge.


2. Pre-plan lessons with structured objectives, but also allow for inter/post planning.


3. Proceed from the simple to the complex by using discrete task analysis, which breaks up the learning into its parts.


4. Use a step-by-step approach, teaching in small bites, with much practice and repetition.


5. Reinforce abstract concepts with concrete examples, such as looking at a map while learning compass directions or walking around a neighborhood to read street signs.


6. Think about possible accommodations and modifications that might be needed such as using a digital recorder for notes, reducing the amount of spelling words, and having enrichment activities prepared.


7. Incorporate sensory elements: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic ones, like writing letters in salt trays or creating acute, right, and obtuse angles with chopsticks.


8. Teach to strengths to help students compensate for weaknesses such as hopping to math facts, if a child loves to move about, but hates numbers.


9. Concentrate on individual children, not syndromes.


10. Provide opportunities for success to build self-esteem.


11. Give positives before negatives.


12. Use modeling with both teachers and peers.


13. Vary types of instruction and assessment, with multiple intelligences and cooperative learning.


14. Relate learning to children’s lives using interest inventories.


15. Remember the basics such as teaching students proper hygiene, social skills, respecting others, effectively listening, or reading directions on a worksheet, in addition to the 3R’s: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.


16. Establish a pleasant classroom environment that encourages students to ask questions and become actively involved in their learning.


17. Increase students’ self-awareness of levels and progress.


18. Effectively communicate and collaborate with families, students and colleagues, while smiling; it’s contagious


Remember, always keep learning more about your students’ abilities and the many ways you can reach, teach, and of course INCLUDE!


How do you practice inclusion in the classroom? Share in the comments section!


For additional inclusion insights and resources visit Toby’s website at: or email her at

Source: Karten, T. (2010). Inclusion strategies that work! Research-based methods for the classroom (2nd ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press

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