Creating Inclusive Learning Environment At Kabardino-Balkarian State University

Abstract

Modernization of society requires special focus on changes currently occurring in higher education. Some students who enter a higher school can have deviations in health and diseases that affect their adaptation in the learning environment. A tutor assists students with disabilities. Development of barrier-free infrastructure is complicated by funding related problems. However, programs of secondary and higher education are being implemented in the humanitarian, technical and social areas of training, which imply special educational conditions created for training students with visual, hearing and musculoskeletal disorders. To provide social protection, the existing Center for Assistance and Employment of Graduates and Students (CAEGS) interacts with employers in the regional labor market to provide them with work. The cluster model for development of inclusive education for persons with disabilities at Kabardino-Balkarian State University offers a tool for cooperation between institutes, faculties, and other departments of the university and the republic as a whole, which provide inclusive education. The core of this cluster will be the Center for Inclusive Education, which performs coordination that can be effectively implemented through the cooperation of educational organizations. The problem to be faced is employment of graduates with disabilities. The structure of the cluster model of a continuous inclusive learning environment implies cooperation between educational institutions of all levels from preschool educational institutions to higher education ones, which involves organizations providing further professional activities. Subjects of the inclusive educational vertical are students with special educational needs, their parents and teaching and tutoring staff of educational institutions.

Keywords: Interjectionsdiscoursevocabularylinguisticsprosody

Introduction

One of the priorities of the state policy in the field of higher education is to expand the access to quality education that meets the contemporary needs of society and every person, in particular, persons with disabilities.

The history of the formation of a new educational system in the Russian Federation is not long-term, since inclusive education is a recent phenomenon, and the process of its development in the country has not yet finished being at the initial stages of its formation. In Russia, the term "inclusion" became widespread in the 90s of the 20 century, when new international documents were introduced, and that became a guide for action in a number of developed countries. Therefore, one of the primary causes for the occurrence of inclusive education in Russia was the development of legal documents and legislation in the Western world, which included the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, the UN Declaration on Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons, World Program of Action concerning Disabled Persons, and materials of the World Conference on Special Needs Education. Against this background, in 1990 in the USSR they signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1992 the Law "On Education in the Russian Federation" appeared, and in 2008 Russia signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2008, the Recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation for creation of conditions for education of children with disabilities in the Russian Federation were approved. In December 2010, the State Duma of the Russian Federation started practical work on amending Russian legislation in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In 2012, amendments were added to the Law "On Education in the Russian Federation" related to inclusive education of children with disabilities. (Ogoltsova, Timokhina, & Sergeeva, 2017).

More than 350 participants from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan and far abroad countries, researchers and educators from Canada, Norway, Germany, Finland and Spain gathered at the International Scientific and Practical Conference Inclusive Education: Methodology, Practice and Technology held in June 2012 in Moscow to share experience on inclusive education in their countries.

The conference also noted that the development of inclusive education is a strategic trend of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). This topic became central at the International Conference Inclusive Education in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and CIS countries, which was held on September 27–29, 2011 in Moscow under the auspices of UNICEF with the support of the Moscow City Government.

At the conference, the concepts of integration and inclusion, which are often used interchangeably, were clearly distinguished. Integration implies teaching children with disabilities in basic educational institutions, including special classes, until they adapt to these conditions and learn to satisfy their needs. However, inclusive education implies not only involvement, for example, access and issues related to processes such as teacher training, but a shift in the system of fundamental values and perspectives at all levels (Amiridze, 2012).

Figure 1: Cluster model for development of inclusive education for persons with disabilities at KBSU
Cluster model for development of inclusive education for persons with disabilities at KBSU
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Problem Statement

The problems of a person with disabilities in the 21 century have actualized the need for deep understanding of its essence, features and capabilities in society. They have become a general scientific focus of psychology, pedagogy, medicine, philosophy, etc. Scientists analyze new data on various statuses of a person with disabilities. Issues of professional training of future specialists in conditions of modernized society require special focus on the changes occurring in the field of higher education. This needs revision and optimization of the education structure, innovations, which imply health-saving orientation as the main criterion for effectiveness of education system development. These requirements are most relevant to students with disabilities. Students entering the university have health deviations and diseases that affect their adaptation, development of professional competencies and values that should be formed after graduation from the institution of higher professional education (Golikova, & Kozurman, 2015).

Research Questions

The study focuses on the creation of special conditions for increasing the effectiveness of inclusive support for persons with disabilities studying at Kabardino-Balkarian State University (KBSU).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to create an inclusive learning environment at KBSU for persons with disabilities as a tool of cooperation between institutions, faculties and other structural units of the university and the republic as a whole.

Research Methods

Theoretical analysis and synthesis of data from the scientific and methodological literature; survey; pedagogical observations were employed in the study.

Findings

Education of a child with disabilities starts at preschool educational institution (PSEI), whose objective is to adapt the child to new conditions.

The function of assisting a child with disabilities is successfully performed by a tutor. In addition to various technologies used for these purposes by teachers, psychologists and other specialists of the institution, a tutor can use "elements of physical therapy, including focused physical exercises. They develop the child’s will, sensitivity, make him know his own body, and teach him to understand his emotions and emotions of other people. Exercises strengthen and make muscles more elastic and develop joints, and movements become more plastic. Body-oriented therapy helps to optimize the functional state of the child. It is desirable to complete the complex with relaxation sessions that promote relaxation and proper rest of the nervous system and provide a perfect balance of blood circulation." (Ganshina & Lunina, 2017).

Dynamic changes in society and education have led to transformation of biological and psycho-physiological characteristics of a child and conditions for his development. Among the most significant changes, researchers (L.I. Bozhovich, A.V. Brushlinsky, L.S. Slavina, and others) highlight: increased ectomorphy, lag in gaining muscle strength; underdevelopment of fine hand motor skills that indicates the lack of certain brain structures; decrease in cognitive development, including divergent thinking (creativity); decreased desire to be active, etc. (Moskvina, 2010.)

The transition of children to the school educational system implies an increased number of students affected by unfavorable development conditions and, as a consequence, those in need of pedagogical assistance, including help in physical education. The teacher of adaptive physical culture should take into account the state of health of such students and create conditions for joint learning of students with disabilities and healthy students and make them do exercises simultaneously. Inclusion is the development of the potential of each student through the educational program that should correspond to his abilities, when every child with disabilities is accepted and considered an important member of the team, which in turn educates understanding and responsiveness in children without disabilities. For example, in Finland, inclusive education is enshrined at the statutory level. The law guarantees the accessibility of education for persons with disabilities and provides for the creation of a differentiated learning environment depending on the nature of health violation. Special changes have been made in the national curriculum to ensure integrated teaching of persons with disabilities in mainstream schools (Vayrynen, 2013).

The problem of teaching persons with disabilities has acquired particular relevance for higher education in Russia after the adoption of the Federal Law On Education in the Russian Federation (dated 29.12.2012 No. 273-FZ (as amended on March 2, 2016).

Inclusive education implies orientation of educational institutions for the needs of "special" students, which is dictated by the state policy of maximum integration of persons with disabilities into society, the need to change the ideology of higher education with respect to persons with disabilities, and transition from educational services to socialization.

The principles of inclusive learning are individual value, the right to communicate, the diversity of learning, the context of real relationships, etc. (Alekhina, 2014).

The need to ensure the architectural accessibility of the interior, campuses, dormitories, sports and cultural facilities was urgent at KBSU in the creation of the inclusive learning environment.

The development of a barrier-free infrastructure is currently complicated by the difficulties of funding and a relatively recent period of extended access to higher education for the disabled as a social norm. In recent years, curricula and plans have been amended at KBSU. There are opportunities for training according to an individual schedule and distantly, a set of measures is provided for socio-psychological protection (different types of scholarships, financial support, free health care centers, etc.), which is important for successful education of persons with disabilities.

Availability of higher education for persons with disabilities is an important resource for their rehabilitation and socialization. The results of numerous studies show that the chance of successful employment for persons with disabilities who have completed secondary vocational and higher education is significantly higher than that for those who have completed the general education program only.

Colleges and universities in the Russian Federation have currently gained successful experience in vocational education of students with disabilities. The programs of secondary and higher education available in the humanitarian, technical and social areas of training provide special educational conditions for training students with visual impairment, hearing and the musculoskeletal system. Some educational institutions have developed and successfully implemented career guidance programs and graduate employment programs for certain categories of applicants with disabilities.

However, despite the presence of a number of successful practices, most educational institutions have not yet created special educational conditions to ensure educational needs of young persons with disabilities in higher education. All programs of higher education, without exception, should provide special conditions for teaching students with disabilities taking into account health deviations. The problem can be solved through the introduction of the effective model developed and implemented at universities that successfully teaches students with disabilities into the education system in Kabardino-Balkaria as well as through the availability of secondary and higher education for students with disabilities in the region of their residence.

In recent years, the departments of the Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Physical and Sports Education, KBSU have been actively studied the problem of inclusive education in higher institutions. The work is carried out in both research area and personnel training for inclusive education practices.

The experience of working with persons with disabilities has been currently gained: if necessary, a volunteer student is assigned to provide support in learning; for the purpose of social protection, the existing Center for Assistance and Employment of Graduates and Students interacts with employers in the regional labor market to help them in the workplace; monitoring studies of inclusive education at KBSU are carried out.

Despite a number of positive changes, there is a need to unite the efforts of many university structures and to create a separate institution – Kabardino-Balkarian Educational and Methodological Center (KBEMC) – as an innovative platform for inclusive education at KBSU and for inclusive education in the region in the future.

The activities of the Center are based on the project Cluster Model for the Development of Inclusive Education for Disabled Persons at KBSU.

The cluster model for the development of inclusive education for disabled persons at KBSU offers a way of cooperation between institutes, faculties, and other departments of the university and the republic, which provide inclusive education. The core of this cluster will be the Center for Inclusive Education, whose coordinating activity implies effective cooperation of educational institutions (Elementary School – Secondary School – SVE – University).

When creating a continuous educational vertical, these institutions can put into practice a systematic approach to the problem of including children with special educational needs in society. This approach can be implemented through the creation of a team of specialists and teachers from different educational institutions involved in inclusive education.

Researchers note that practical experience in implementing the projects on integration of children, youth and adults with disabilities in continuous education in some regions of Russia (St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, etc.) (Integration of children, 2015) allows identifying a range of common problems persons with disabilities face everywhere. This is the lack of a sufficient number of specialists and programs for specialized and individual support of persons with disabilities in preschool institutions and schools. It is difficult to enter a university because of a low level of general education of disabled persons who study at home. Typical difficulties encountered by young persons with disabilities who study at universities are as follows: not always adequate standpoint of teachers; unsuitability of classrooms and places for recreation, the lack of Braille manuals, digital voice recorders and electronic archive, and commercial training services (transport, dormitory, libraries, Internet access). A separate problem is the employment of graduates with disabilities (Moskvina, 2013).

These persons require special attention from the medical staff. Disabled persons at universities are provided with medical and recreational services of the municipal polyclinic and KBSU polyclinic, including diagnostics of the students' physical condition, health preservation, development of adaptive capacity, and adaptability to learning environment.

Monitoring of health (height, body weight, etc.) and indicators of the development of basic physical qualities (strength, speed, endurance, coordination, flexibility) enables change in the psychophysical state of disabled persons based on adherence to the principles of health protection and adaptive physical education (Thazeplova, 2004).

A special procedure for learning the discipline Physical Culture and Sports is established for disabled persons in higher education institutions: depending on recommendations of psychological, medical and social expertise, a teacher of the discipline designs a complex of special lessons aimed at the development, strengthening and maintenance of health, which employ health protection principles. Unfortunately, the problem of simultaneous development of physical abilities and soft competencies in both students with disabilities and their healthy peers has been poorly studied for the system of inclusive physical education.

The structure of the cluster model of a continuous inclusive learning environment shows interaction of educational institutions of all levels, from preschool institutions to institutions of higher education, with the participation of organizations providing further professional activities.

The subjects of inclusive education are students with special educational needs, their parents, as well as teachers and tutors of educational institutions.

Cooperation between educational, scientific, social, managerial and business structures can effectively solve the problems in inclusive education of students with special educational needs. Interaction with businesses is particularly relevant, since the implementation of the model is often complicated by financial difficulties. Partners who support the subjects of inclusive education play a significant role and are represented by three sectors: state and municipal organizations, non-state commercial organizations, and non-state non-commercial organizations (Martynova, 2015).

In inclusive education, the subjects of the first sector are educational institutions and state and municipal authorities that regulate their activities.

The subjects of the second sector are commercial enterprises that interact with educational organizations as employers that employ graduates with special educational needs, who have received an inclusive education.

The subjects of the third sector are non-profit organizations that provide assistance and support in implementation of inclusive education.

The described cluster model is based on a number of principles of inclusive education, including the principles of the primacy of socialization, individualization and integrative pedagogical support of subjects, and the principle of tolerance and value attitude to the subjects of the integrative structure of a continuous inclusive learning environment (Fig. 1).

Considering the need for training of personnel engaged in inclusive education, an innovative program Actual Problems of Inclusive Education was developed to provide comprehensive fundamental training of highly qualified specialists of special education who are capable of independent research, teaching and practical activities, and innovative development of inclusive education systems in secondary and higher education.

The implementation of the proposed model in many respects will depend on the developed volunteer movement in a higher education institution that helps students with special educational needs and their parents free of charge. Therefore, the volunteer movement becomes the necessity among students of the Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Physical and Sports Education involved in the programs of social and socio-cultural rehabilitation of disabled children, disabled peers and other persons with disabilities.

Inclusion of disabled children in general education institutions requires special educational conditions. One of these conditions is the presence of a specialist who organizes the learning environment so that a disabled child can successfully fit in with a team of the elementary or secondary school (Mikhailova, 2013).

We assume the need to include the experience of unregulated activities in the educational process of the formation of competencies. From our point of view, volunteering practice can contribute to gaining this experience, when students perform tutor functions according to the schedule established and attend students of special and correctional classes of schools in the municipality-controlled schools of Nalchik.

A tutor coordinates the interaction between the main participants of the inclusive process – a child, his peers, teachers and parents. To do this, a tutor purposefully works to achieve the main goal – to ensure the most successful development of a child in the inclusive environment not disturbing the environment itself (that is, not turning an inclusive environment into a correctional one) (Mikhailova, 2013). At the same time, he ensures the development of individual educational programs for pupils and students and coordinates the process of individualization and individual education at school, higher education institution, and in additional education systems ("On the approval of a single qualification manual for managers, specialists and employees, section Qualification characteristics of education positions" dated 02.08.10 No. 761n).

Conducting a survey is a mandatory condition for the formation of a team of volunteer teachers that includes students of the first, second and third courses of the Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Physical and Sports Education. The psychological and pedagogical needs of future volunteers are revealed through a survey. Respondents answer the questions related to inclusive education, as well as the question, "Is there a need for an individual approach to disabled persons?" (Alekhina, 2015; Tkhazeplova, 2004).

Awareness of respondents about inclusive education, as well as a friendly attitude towards students with various physical disabilities, will be the basis for admission of the respondents to a specialized group of volunteer teachers formed to organize activities for socialization and social adaptation of children and students with disabilities (Nogerova, Anaev & Bagova, 2014a; Nogerova, Kagermazova, & Mamuchieva, 2014b)

Several training workshops were conducted as part of the implementation of the educational program for volunteers. In addition, the International Day of Disabled Persons was prepared and held. Accounts have been created in social networks to publish papers about the work done and to inform about the project stages. The relevance of the project was noted by the expert committee of the XV All-Russian Competition of Leaders and Chiefs of Public Associations for Children and Youth "Leader XXI", which was held in Kazan from November 20 to November 24, 2017 (Mikhaylenko & Lesev, 2018; Martynova, 2015).

The Kabardino-Balkaria Republic was represented by the winner of the regional stage, Viktor Kirpa, a 2-year student of the Institute of Pedagogy, Psychology and Physical and Sports Education of KBSU, course Pedagogical Education, specialization Primary Education, Preschool Education.

The competition program consisted of two stages: self-Presentation and defence of a socially significant project. V. Kirpa presented the project Together for Life that implies preparation and subsequent work of students as tutors in special and correctional classes of schools in the republic. The project results in the creation of a team of volunteer teachers who organize activities for socialization and social adaptation of children with disabilities (Mikhaylenko & Lesev, 2018).

Conclusion

Thus, inclusive education in Russia is at the stage of its initial development and requires a comprehensive focus on its problems and possibilities to solve them. To do this, it is essential to review the issues of professional training of future specialists and to introduce innovations that meet the requirements of health protection of students with disabilities, which will ensure the effectiveness of the educational system development.

The study revealed the discrepancy between the need to include students of different health status in various forms of studies at university and the lack of teaching experience and integration programs that allow for pedagogical cooperation.

Findings:

  • The established system of continuous inclusive education for disabled persons does not effectively solve the problems of their preparedness for work and adequate professional self-determination.

  • A step-by-step movement to the modern educational model, in which students with disabilities have equal access to advanced information technologies, will provide an opportunity for the options of educational resources, ensure the variability of educational trajectories at KBSU, and give a new impulse to the creation of a barrier-free learning environment that ensures equal rights and opportunities of disabled persons for higher education.

  • Development of competence of teachers, managers and personnel of secondary schools and universities in the field of organization of educational process, vocational guidance and employment assistance for students with disabilities will ensure a single organizational approach to activities for socialization and social adaptation of persons with disabilities.

  • At Kabardino-Balkarian State University, a continuous inclusive learning environment for persons with disabilities is being formed as a tool for cooperation between institutes, faculties and other structural units of the university and the republic.

Acknowledgments

This research has been conducted in the framework of task № 27. 12834. 2018/8.9 aimed at performance of state works in the scope of scientific activities in the context of the base section of the state task of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation on the topic “Development of the regional innovative inclusive cluster of KBSU as a network society”.

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29 March 2019

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Cite this article as:

Khachetlova, S., Doguchaeva, T. A., Tkhazeplov, A. M., Mikhaylenko, O. I., & Tkhazeplova*, G. N. (2019). Creating Inclusive Learning Environment At Kabardino-Balkarian State University. In & D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1175-1184). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.03.02.136