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Both Sides of the Table

Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability


Philip Smith

Both Sides of the Table is a set of evocative, heartfelt, personal, and revealing stories, told by educators about how their experiences with disability, personally and in the lives of family members, has affected their understanding of disability. It uses disability studies and critical theory lenses to understand the autoethnographies of teachers and their personal relationships with disability. The book takes a beginning look at the meaning of autoethnography as a method of inquiry, as well as how it has been (and will be) applied to exploring disability and the role of education in creating and sustaining it. The title refers to the context in which educators find themselves in Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings for students with disabilities in schools. There, educators often sit on the other side of the table from people with disabilities, their families, and their allies. In these chapters, the authors assume roles that place them, literally, on both sides of IEP tables. They inscribe new meanings – of relationships, of disability, of schools, of what it means to be an educator and a learner. It is a proposal (or perhaps a gentle manifesto) for what research, education, disability, and a utopian revolutionary politics of social transformation could and should look like.
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Whatever Happened to Inclusion?

The Place of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Education

Philip Smith

Law, policy, and practice in the United States has long held that students with disabilities – including those with intellectual disabilities – have the right to a free and appropriate public education, in a non-restrictive environment. Yet very few of these students are fully included in general education classrooms. Educational systems use loopholes to segregate students; universities regularly fail to train teachers to include students; and state regulators fail to provide the necessary leadership and funding to implement policies of inclusion. Whatever Happened to Inclusion? reports on the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities from national and state perspectives, outlining the abject failure of schools to provide basic educational rights to students with significant disabilities in America. The book then describes the changes that must be made in teacher preparation programs, policy, funding, and local schools to make the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities a reality.