Theme: Promoting Inclusion and Educational Opportunity
“How can we help students with special educational needs thrive in the classroom?” This question, asked by Professional Exchanges and Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) Program alumni from Ukraine, grew into the winning #AEIF2018 project titled “A World of Possibilities for Every Child.” The #ExchangeAlumni team created an inclusive classroom by combining an education campaign for students, parents, and teachers with support and training for children with special educational needs. The results of this project proved that student success in the classroom translates to positive results outside of school. Beyond the classroom, extracurricular activities curated by A World of Possibilities for Every Child has helped develop a culture of communication and improve interpersonal relationships, reduce bullying, and facilitate mutual understanding.
In Ukraine and in all parts of the world, the need for education for children with special needs at the secondary level (who attend regular, and not specialized schools) is increasing. In order to facilitate this, A World of Possibilities for Every Child provided a training to teachers on inclusive curriculum development. The project also held workshops and conferences in three regions of Ukraine, and the ideas were shared with alumni from 25 European countries at the October 2018 Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (TIES) held in Kyiv.
In November 2018, this project was presented at the Odesa EFL Educational Forum for teachers of the New Ukrainian School, and forum attendees were receptive to the project’s mission.
As the project was launched in Kherson for its inaugural year, the leaders of the project are planning to expand its reach to more cities in Ukraine. The founders know that facilitating a more inclusive environment in the classroom is not unique to Kherson, and they have identified the potential for this project to grow on a large scale. One way that the project is growing is through its social media platforms, with members and followers from different regions in Ukraine and other countries. The lessons posted to the Facebook page and YouTube channel are free for members to adapt to their home communities.
Though inclusivity in the classroom can be a tricky problem to tackle, A World of Possibilities for Every Child is facing the challenge head-on and paving the way for inclusive classrooms in Ukraine and other parts of the world.
Are you inspired by the A World of Possibilities for Every Child project? Now is the perfect time to sign in to your alumni.state.gov account, find your AEIF team and submit a project on Promoting Inclusion and Educational Opportunity. Don’t wait! Applications can be submitted starting on February 1.