Disability Studies Meets Teaching and Teacher Education
Edited By Meghan Cosier and Christine Ashby
Chapter Fourteen: Professional Development in Inclusive School Reform: The Need for Critical and Functional Approaches
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Professional Development IN Inclusive School Reform: The Need FOR Critical AND Functional Approaches
Well, it worked well this year, cuz ya know, the students with IEPs [individualized education programs] in my class were high functioning. Inclusion was good for them, but I don’t think it works for some of the other students who are really low. I don’t think I could do inclusion with one of them in my class. We would probably have to have a special teacher and a separate room for them.
The preceding quote is from a teacher I worked with at an inclusive school. A year after the successful implementation of an inclusive school reform initiative at this local elementary school, I sat down with some teachers to ask them about their experiences teaching in an inclusive school.1 Specifically, I wanted to know their thoughts on the successes of the previous year and whether or not they felt the school would continue to serve students with disabilities by way of an inclusive service delivery model. After the teacher made the above comment, I looked around at the other teachers at the table and saw many heads nod in agreement. Even though this teacher had attended numerous hours of “professional development” on inclusive practices and had expressed that she had a positive experience teaching in an inclusive classroom, her core beliefs related to students with disabilities suggested that...
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