Inclusive Schools Role Model Hanne Rosius

Hi, everyone. My name is Hanne Rosius and I work as a teacher trainer in PXL University in Hasselt. That's in Belgium. And a few months ago I became Teacher of the Year in Flanders
within the theme of giving opportunities to students.

I was very honored because I think that's a very important theme in education. I train my students to teach in vocational education, so they will be standing in front of a very diverse class later on, which is why inclusion should also be a matter of course, in my teaching. “Teach as you preach” like I say.

In terms of diversity, my own classes have changed enormously over the last years. 20 years ago when I started, I had mostly native students from strong socioeconomic families, and they started at 18 years old at our university after a general secondary education. But today that's totally different. I have a lot of students from diverse cultural backgrounds or students from different ages with learning disabilities or students with different life experiences. And you know what? That makes my education much stronger, I think.

PXL school supports the diversity through various initiatives. So, we have, for example, a range of student support like financial support for students who live in poverty, study support, extra language support, and we also collaborate with external tutors, for, for example, students with autism or learning difficulties. So, there is a range of initiatives and as a teacher, sometimes I refer a student to support and I keep a close contact and often I am engaged in discussions
about them or with them to find the appropriate solution for them. But what is most important,
I think, is the role of the teacher who works with students every day, giving opportunities to start with setting higher expectations for everyone. When you set different expectations
through inclusion, I think it's actually an insult to the students. For example, if a student with
a different home language makes more language mistakes, the solution is not to be less strict about it I think. On the contrary, you should clearly tell students to work extra hard on that point and you give them the way to language support.

As a teacher of education, I always try to give my students the following insights: Three things. Look, See and Love your students. I always take the time to look closely at my students in class. What are they doing? What are they telling? How are they behaving? How are they reacting? You can sometimes learn a lot from small behaviors in front of you, while you are teaching. A student who is remarkably quiet in class: That one gets a message from me to ask if everything is okay, or a student who stays very much in the background over all the year, I try to put myself close to him/her/they after class to talk a little bit. A background picture on a computer screen with some kids? I show interest and ask about it. And that way a student feels seen, and I, I get a lot of information about some pieces of diversity that are often not visible. And that's important because that way I learn a lot about the students, about their culture, about even the financial problems at home, or about how hard it is to sit still for two
hours in my class when you have ADHD. And then I try to do small things to make it better
for the students. Students who never had books at home: I take them with me by reading and talking about texts together in which they can recognise themselves. We talk about it in class
and during the talking together, students show their worlds to each other, or for the students who can’t afford books, I make sure that there are always some extra copies in the library. All the insights I gain on my distant travels, which cost a lot of money I take my students also on a faraway trip, and through teams I let the locals show their life in Kenya so they can travel also.

There is not really a recipe for inclusion. Looking closely, really seeing students and loving them, and then showing them the right way with some small adaptions to reach their goals. That's what you have to do.

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