With a focus on inclusive teaching targeting learners either excelling within a subject or struggling, can students in the middle get neglected?

Tags: Inclusive, learners, teaching

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Hi Ellie,
I think a teacher should prepare session plans with tasks aimed at the 'middle man'. From there they should consider how it could be adapted in terms of extension or simplification. This way wherever a learner stands in terms of their understanding of a topic, they are catered for.
Similarly to the use of terminology and language, a task should be comprehensible for all. E.g. Stanislavski's given circumstances can be simplified to the w's... Who, what, where etc.
Giving learners an option of which level they want to work at can be useful for the learners and a teacher. In college and university dance lessons, my teachers would often say something along the lines of 'add the arms in if you feel ready, if not focus on the footwork'... This allowed the teacher to see where most learners were at and offered the learners an option and an opportunity to learn at their own pace within a class/group environment.
I think the best way to ensure inclusivity has taken place when learning, is to continually assess the learners in a formative style.

When i was at school i was great at be consistantly average in EVERYTHING!! I'd put my head down, try my hardest and come out with a reasonably acceptable grade. Around me, i'd see people with learning difficulties getting extra help or the A* students getting praise and extra info for their superlative work.


There is a definate danger of the medium ability students falling through the cracks because, while they don't present an immediate problem, their grades are satifactory enough to not cause concern.


They can do better if the help is there!!!

Thank you Gina, this is exactly how I feel. As I highlighted to Emma, do you feel that during your time at school if you were given the right guidance and attention you could have excelled within certain subjects?

I really do!


I know it's hard for a teacher to reach everyone, especially if your classes are so giant. But in high school and sixth form, i NEVER had tutorials! Didn't even know what they were until under-grad!


I think this would be a very effective way of keeping up with everyone's track record. Implimenting tutorials from the earliest stage possible.


It might be time consuming, but i think it would work!


Gina :-)

Thanks Emma, I'm not necessarily talking about the content of work provided by teachers, but the amount of progress the learners within the middle of a class gain. For example, those students could potentially become top of the class with the right guidance, but because a teachers view could be that they are where they need to be within the learning, they do not reach their full potential.
It can be seen that teachers always learn the names of the disruptive students first, as they have to focus more of their attention on them, do you agree?

I was mainly a B student at school, so it was ok and not until a friend's parent spoke to the teacher of our Physics lesson and told him that the three of us needed more focus from him and that it was seen he would concentrate on the brightest in the group (liked chatting to them about ideas regarding the subject) and we would be an after thought near the end of the lesson, did he change his behaviour. He would then see how we were getting on and explain things again if we weren't sure and I went to the top of the class, just by him explaining something in a different way, which didn't happen before as there was never any time.

Students don't always know how to ask for help or they can be shy about asking, so if teachers can see all the students, then if a student is doing fine and doesn't need help then at least you know and more time can be spent with students who do need it. 

Hi Ellie

I think that you are right, there is definately a danger in some circumstances of students that are in the middle getting neglected to a certain extent, i also think that in some cases the more excelling students are left out because the teacher will put more time into learners that are struggling in order for them to pass the course. However the use of ILP's (individual learning plans) is a good way to ensure the lessons are made inclusive with basic activities with extension tasks put in place to ensure steady progression for all levels.


Hi Ellie

Here's a link which has some information which looks at ways to involve inclusion for a curriculum for all learners age 3-18 of different abilities.


That's a fantastic link... Thanks for the share Sam
T x
Totally agree!

Students in the middle do get neglected at some point, even by the best teachers, especially when their attention is directed elsewhere. One way to overcome this is to mix up the students so they get the benefit of peer learning from their brighter or excelling colleagues, which works particularly well in small group or pair situations, allowing for extension and differentiation, which equals inclusivity. This also allows the teacher to step back a bit and survey how all the students are doing, not just the brilliant or disruptive!

Granted, group work isn't for every lesson, but I agree with Emma that there are ways to plan lessons to make sure everyone is thriving.

Agreeing with Gina and Andrea, students in the middle can be ignored unless it is pointed out to the teacher, because they are just jogging along, ticking the boxes and slipping through. On a personal note, I was in top sets for all subjects at secondary school, and because I was considered as one of the bright ones, I tended to be left to get on with it, and being shy at school, I didn't always want to ask for help, so just coasted and got B's and C's, when the teachers predicted A's. I think the teacher's perception of their students has a lot to do with whether they think you need extra support or if they think you are ok, especially if like me, you give the impression that you are ok.
Yes I think they can, however with better planning geared more for the middle man rather than those that excel or fall behind would benefit all learners.
I have used in the past lessons those learners that excel to help those that have fallen back. There is nothing wrong with utilising the strengths of our learners, sometimes they can put across the same thing in a different way which is easier to grasp and understand, therefore we as teachers learn something too!!
I am lucky that most of my lessons my learners are paired work so this works a dream.

Hi Ellie, I see what you're saying. I guess this is where ILP's or equivalents come in and as I mentioned before the use of formative assessments. It is important to not only consider the assessment itself but also feedback given to the learners.

Throughout my college and uni education I made tables of aims (what I want to improve upon, how I plan to achieve it, when I plan to achieve it by...) all of which I took from feedback given to me by teachers and peers and my own opinion. They would then be handed and marked.

I too would say I was an 'average' student, and this worked really well for me. Encouraging learners to take on the evaluation of their own progress rather than relying on teachers is something that I think should be more common and start from an earlier age. It may just be a performing arts thing but since college I have considered all of my work from the point of view of strengths and weaknesses and my teachers have done so also.

Do you think this could be an inclusive way of checking on the middle man, and everyone around him?



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