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March 22 and April 5, 2021
Remote Workshop via Zoom – Quarteira, Portugal
Due to the current situation in Portugal, the schools are still in lockdown and we had to prepare the workshop online. We use Zoom Meetings and other collaborative platforms: Miro and Mentimeter.
We sent invitation to a large group of teachers that we selected according to different school projects. It was the end of the school term, just before easter break, so many teachers were unavailable due to their tight schedules during this particular time. Despite the situation, we manage to involve a group of 10 teachers from different backgrounds.
The first session started with a brief presentation of the project ALL IN SCHOOL. Some of the participants already knew about the project, because it was presented before in a school board meeting. For the presentation of the Index for Inclusion, we approached the key elements of the Index: Structure, Dimensions, Indicators. It was explained to a certain level of detail and some participants already knew about this tool. Afterwards, there was a debate about the concept of inclusion according to the Index and current Portuguese legislation.
The second session was meant to be more interactive, an hands on approach on the topic of Inclusion. We started with a question “When you hear about inclusive education what comes to mind?” to promote critical thinking and awareness. We build a wordcloud with keywords from each participant, which lead the discussion to the following topics: a) What does inclusion means?; b) Barriers and resources; c) What does support consist of?. The group was dived in three separated Zoom rooms in which they elaborate their ideas directly on our Miro board (https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_lLusocc=/).
In the end of the group work, all the participants return to the main room in Zoom to present their thoughts and debate with their peers on all the topics presented.
Inclusion is a very passionate topic in our school and the participants were very happy to continue the debate after the sessions. All the participants are aware of the inclusion in the school, but because of the new inclusion policy of our education system, everyone is somehow with new expectation on how to proceed from now on.
The number of participants and the nature of the workshop (online) were both a constraint that we had to face. Because it was the end of the term, and due to the pandemic situation, most of our teachers were quite busy with online classes and evaluations.
All the concepts that we intended to share during the 1st session were presented and transmitted. Being a more theoretical session, it did not allow great interaction between the moderators and the participants. The 2nd session took place within what was planned, reaching the proposed objectives through the realization of the interactive/collaborative activities.
In the end, the participants have a clear understating about what inclusion means in education and they consider that at some point, the students in their school career may need special support appropriate to specific needs that they may present. We were able to identify several obstacles to the inclusion of our students and suggest new ways to overcame it.
The participants consider the Index for Inclusion a tool that can be used in the near future, in several areas of assessment in our school. Some of the ideas from the Index are already implemented in the school, but there is space for improvement.
10 participants: teachers, managers and inclusion experts.