What is the evidence about how civil-service trained teachers can best be encouraged to adapt their approach to teaching to be more child-friendly and more focused on and inclusive of the varied learning levels and needs of children in their schools?
A rights-based, child-friendly school has two basic characteristics: it is child-seeking and child-centred. Teachers are the single most important factor in creating an effective and inclusive classroom. Child-friendly schools aim to develop a learning environment in which children are motivated and able to learn. Staff members are friendly and welcoming to children and attend to all their health and safety needs. Teacher training is a central part of encouraging a child friendly and inclusive school environment.
Almost all primary schools are far from being ready to serve the needs of children with disabilities and, until recently, teacher training institutions were not providing courses in special needs education. There is also a need to encourage established teachers to reconsider their perceptions of children coming from rural and remote communities. The more teachers believe they are able to implement inclusive practices on a concrete and pragmatic level, the more positive their attitudes towards inclusion are.
Evidence from ongoing programmes suggests that teacher attitudes towards child friendly and inclusive education can be altered with training and support. A programme in Nepal found that teachers request regular training and follow-up update sessions. Teachers also suggested that parents should be invited to some sessions on the training programmes in order to increase support within the community.
Foster, G.; Thompson, S. Helpdesk Report: Improving teacher training methodologies to encourage child-friendly learning. Health and Education Advice and Resource Team (HEART), Oxford, UK (2013) 13 pp.