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Narratives of Inclusive Teaching

Stories of <i>Becoming</i> in the Field


Srikala Naraian and Sarah L. Schlessinger

Teachers are increasingly challenged by dilemmas of practice as they negotiate their commitments to equity for students from historically marginalized communities, including students with disabilities, against the demands of their school settings. This book seeks to understand the ways in which teachers’ engagements with their schooling contexts evoke varied forms of inclusive practice. It narrates the experiences of seven novice teachers who entered the field deeply committed to inclusive practice. It documents their conflicts, joys and struggles within the collectivities in which they were embedded. In doing thus, the book discloses the many unpredictable trajectories of practice that encompass the complex work of teaching for inclusion.

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Many people and places must share in the completion of this book. We are grateful that the institutional location of Teachers College was available as a convenient site to meet with our teacher-graduate-participants whose experiences we have narrated in this book. We appreciated the opportunity to welcome them back into this location where conversations about theory and practice could take new form in light of their recent experiences as certified teachers. Our professional roles (past and present) within the Department of Curriculum and Teaching and in the programs for Inclusive Education provided the opportunity to meet students with shared commitments to social justice for marginalized youth. Most importantly, we owe our heartfelt thanks to Taiyo, Rena, Peter, Molly, Jessica, Harley and Adam, without whose generous interest in our research and willing participation in the study, this book would not have been possible. Their words, emotions, musings, aspirations, and commitments have significantly shifted the ways we think about inclusion and teacher education for inclusion. We have been changed because of them.

As I continue to build and grow my understandings and practices of inclusivity, I, Sarah, am grateful to the many teachers and students that I work with who continue to push me to stretch my theory and practice. My perspective grows through our conversations and shared experiences. I am particularly grateful to Celia Oyler for grounding me in the greater purpose of this work and mentoring me into the worlds of inclusivity and academia. Her mentorship...

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