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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 7. Our School: A Place for Every Learner

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As the research that makes up this book was a project that ideally involved the whole school community, the school selected would of necessity be one that had a strong desire to reflect on its own values, develop more inclusive practices, and minimise barriers. During my first meeting with the principal, William, I outlined the nature of my project. The phrase that won him over was, “This is something that I would like to do with you, not to you.” He accepted the copy of the Index for Inclusion I offered and agreed to work with me. Over the following weeks we met one more time, a meeting in which I was introduced to a dean and was able to elaborate on the Index process. In the month prior to the beginning of the new academic year in which I would be researching in the school William and I met twice again, meetings that established his and the school’s commitment to work with me and provided early insights into what he expected to achieve. In this chapter we meet this school as it was found at the beginning of the project.

McLean High School was created in the 1960s in response to the desire of the community to continue the tradition of co-educational schooling. Previously, the city had one co-educational high school which was then divided into two single-sex high schools. The popularity of co-education schooling in the community was reflected by the school roll, which reached a...

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