Fostering Inclusivity: Catering to the Psychosocial Needs of Students with Exceptionalities
1:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Mrs. Keisha Smith-Davis
Mrs. Keisha Smith-Davis is a Lecturer in the School of Languages and Literatures at Church Teachers’ College: Mandeville. She is a trained graduate with over 20 years of teaching experience. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in English Language (Distinction), a post graduate diploma in Language Teaching and a Bachelor of Arts in Literatures in English.
Her teaching experience in the Language Arts classrooms in Jamaica and England has led her to believe that differentiation is not just an educational trend, but a vital strategy that should be at the core of teaching in this era. The diverse classrooms that exist globally have made this an essential skillset for every teacher who aspires for excellence in teaching.
At the forefront of the discourse about educating special needs students is inclusivity, granting each student equal access to a quality education. Training the teacher to meet the cognitive needs of the students is indeed a priority, but too often, it is promoted at the expense of preparing teachers to meet the psychosocial needs of students with exceptionalities. Maintaining a healthy psycho-emotional environment is critical in all learning environments and should be a priority, but more so in the inclusive classroom where there may be a predominance of emotionally fragile students. “Negative emotions can exacerbate academic struggles” (National Centre for Learning disabilities, 2017); hence, as teachers strive to unearth the academic abilities in of their students, it is imperative that they exhibit a keen awareness of the importance of promoting a psychosocial atmosphere that is conducive to both academic and emotional development.
This workshop aims to facilitate an exploration of the psychosocial demands of special needs learners, and provide approaches that teachers can utilise in an attempt to address these needs.