After listening to Save the Children and Weishan Bureau of Education’s presentation in the morning, the vague idea about this project I had before the trip became clear and real: we’re visiting Dacang Elementary School in Dacang Town. It’s one of the schools which practices inclusive education.
Leaving behind Kunming, a city with spring-like weather all year round, we started the third day of our journey in the historical town of Weishan in Dali. We had a bumpy ride in the scorching hot weather. I don’t know even what the temperature was!
I sat in the back of the shuttle bus, where cool air from the AC could hardly reach, just bouncing. Even I, someone who grew up in the south of a country of subtropical climate, could not stand it. It was really harsh sunlight! The journey was like a ride in an oven. On top of that, there was also a driving skill-challenging traffic jam and unexpected underground pipeline installation work on the way. The journey suddenly felt so much longer!
“Good morning!” The moment we walked into the classroom of demonstration teaching, all the children who had been waiting greeted us energetically. It just dismissed all the anxiety and apprehension I’d had before the trip. Here, children with special needs study in the same class as other students.
But throughout the class, the interaction among all the children was so natural. Having special needs students in the class didn’t make anyone uncomfortable and no one was ignored. I guess this is another purpose of inclusive education; to reduce, change and even end misunderstanding and discrimination brought about by ignorance.
We are different; we are the same. This is the lesson I learned today.