Inset Days

In the UK, occasionally we would have to endure training days. Someone would be invited to speak, there would be a boring powerpoint, some stupid activities and very rarely would it be useful.

Denmark is no different, you will all be unsurprised to hear.

On the first day of school, a chief bigwig came in and made a speech, the gist of which was

“Inclusion of students with special needs is going to be implemented because it saves money and we have to make a lot of cuts to budgets.”

What stings the hide is that Q8, the petrol company, have not been paying tax for 28 years. How much trouble would Denmark be in if they had paid? How many other companies are not paying? How many other companies have been paying less than they should?
Though, that is a different story.

I have to say, I like the inclusion model. I think the best way to teach students is in mixed ability settings, with proper differentiation for their needs. However, this is necessarily more expensive as it requires major non-contact time in order to plan, prepare and assess properly. It requires tiny class sizes (around 10-15). It requires extra educated and trained adults in the room. It requires a lot of photocopying or buying of different types of resources. It is much more expensive than what we are doing now.

We are not moving to the inclusion model. We are moving to the “haha, teach THAT!” model. Where you get 30+ students of varying needs and backgrounds, maybe one person in the room who might know what they are doing (or might actually prefer to work against you), reduced photocopying/book budget and much less time to actually prepare properly and ensure good progress.

Today, we had a training day. Today, as in Saturday. Six hours, on a Saturday, having training.

The first training session was a woman from outside, who put up text heavy slide after text heavy slide. When it did not have text it had a bullshit “graph” (you know the sort, only pretending to be sci/mat based, using involving a triangle) or some sort of cartoon strip.

She used quotations as the classic method to argue from authority. And what she taught us about inclusion was… nothing. She made a load of sexist observations and put up a slide of sexist jokes, though. She taught us “communication skills”. As in, we had a workshop on “active listening” for no reason. As in, we had different types of criticism stereotyped as idiotic. As in, we were told that the only two ways of dealing with the winds of change were “building fences” or “building windmills”. No other possibilities.

To be critical of change was bad. Whatever those changes might be, no matter how badly thought out.

The second training session was “about” teaching methods for inclusion but instead of training us in teaching methods for inclusion, she instead got us to do a really piss poor written activity about factors we found “most meaningful” related to our teaching practice.
Then some people fed back to the group about their feelings around teaching.

Six HOURS.

Needless to say, not one of the trainers bothered change their communication strategy or teaching method to include me.

Just like integration where it is expected for the foreigners to do all the integrating themselves, it appears the special needs students are now expected to do all the inclusion themselves.

And so this is how all the children of Denmark were sold out to save some money for the older rich people.