SKILLS NEEDED BY PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS FOR INCLUSIVE TEACHING (CASE STUDY OF EKITI STATE)
Background to the Study
Education of persons with special needs is going inclusive after several years of exclusivist and separatist paradigm. The change in approach came as a result of a number of influence. Chief among them were the paradigm shift from defect to social model and the UN education programmes (Ozoji, 2008). The defect or “within-child model” is based on the assumption that the origin of learning difficulties lie largely within the child. The social model on the other hand is based on the proposition that society and its institutions account for the child’s impairment (Okeke Oti, 2010). The social model posits that society and its institutions are oppressive, discriminatory and disabling and that if any change is to be effected, attention needs to be focused on the removal of obstacles to the participation of people with disability in the life of the society and in
changing institutions, regulations and attitudes that create and maintain exclusion (Mittler, 2000).
Inclusion is educational arrangement that deemphasizes exclusion and emphasizes the restructuring of instructions (schools), classrooms, and approached to instruction to address and meet diverse needs of all children (Okeke-Oti, 2009). The broad definition of inclusion was that given by UNESCO (2005). It defined inclusion as: A process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision which covers all children of the appropriate age range and a conviction that it is the responsibilities of the regular system to educate all children
This implies that inclusion accommodates all learners whether such learners are disabled or not Inclusion is the process of addressing the diverse needs of all learners
through increasing participation of all learners in neighbourhood schools with matching support (Okeke-Oti; 2010). Okuoyibo (2001) asserted that inclusion means bringing students with disabilities regardless of the nature and severity of their disabilities into all placement activities of general education such as schools, classrooms and the surrounding communities.
Further, Okuoyibo explained that the thrust of the matter on inclusion is that children with disabilities should be unconditionally mainstreamed into the regular education system without regard to the nature and severity of their disabilities.
Statement of the Problem
In spite of the general global yearning for high quality education for inclusive classroom, there is an apparent realization by stakeholders that the quality of instruction has declined considerably especially in the primary school classrooms. The quality of training and retraining provided for teachers were not adequate to ensure optimum service delivery as an assurance to nation building and the realization of the vision of inclusive classroom. Similarly, the quality of instruction of teachers in primary school
was out of sync with the objective of inclusive classroom. Inclusive classroom, concerned with a system of education which offers every member of the society an equal opportunity to acquire basic education in the regular school environment is not achieving the expected objective as a result of poor teachers’ instructional skills.
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