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Educating All

Developing Inclusive School Cultures From Within


Christopher McMaster

This book contributes significantly to the conversation about inclusion as a critical component of school culture. Educating All recounts Christopher McMaster’s experience as a critical ethnographer in a school community, given the task of not only studying the institution’s culture, but of creating change as well. The school used a whole-school framework known as the Index for Inclusion, which addressed students identified as having «special» or learning needs. The outcome of this process was the realization that the faculty and the system were not adequately providing optimum services to «special needs» students. By incorporating the special needs unit into a larger department and by utilizing it as a teaching center rather than a classroom, the staff and school leadership were able to produce a better alignment of value and practice and to provide a re-interpretation of just what is meant by «mainstream».
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Chapter 2. What is in a Word? Exploring Inclusion

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Like many special education models in the world, SE2000 created a package of resourcing schemes with the intention of meeting the expectations of parents/carers and students with “disabilities” to attend their neighbourhood school. This linking of inclusion and integration continues to guide government and Ministry initiatives (McMaster, 2013b). Despite the aspirations expressed in the launching of SE2000, the definition of inclusion has been, at times, vague. As early as 1998 SE2000 was portrayed to parents/carers as a resource allocation scheme with more pragmatic aims. Inclusion, in practice or aspiration, is not mentioned in that document (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 1998). There have been periods of practice when the word “inclusion” all but disappears from the discourse. In the summary of the 2006–2011 Group Special Education Action Plan, the word is absent (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 2006a), whereas it appears once in the complete plan (New Zealand Ministry of Education, 2006b). This instance of its usage refers to teachers and providers being “inclusive” in taking responsibility to see that they support enrolment and attendance in accordance with anti-discrimination legislation (p. 12). Inclusion is “about being physically present or ‘in the door’” (p. 11).

← 17 | 18 → How a word is defined reflects how it is understood, as well as how it is practiced in the local culture or society. This chapter examines the concept of inclusion, and links inclusion to notions of social justice. This linkage in turn implies a relationship between inclusion and culture. Inclusive change...

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