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Becoming a Great Inclusive Educator

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Edited By Scot Danforth

Inclusive education continues to grow in popularity and acceptance in the United States. However, most teachers – general and special educators – are poorly prepared to be successful in inclusive classrooms and schools. Undoubtedly, the challenge to professionals involves the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. But inclusion requires far more. It calls upon educators to trouble everything they think they know about disability, to question their deepest ethical commitments, to take up the work of the Disability Rights Movement in the public schools, and to leap headlong into the deepest waters of the rich craft tradition of inclusive teaching. This book offers educators the guidance and resources to become great inclusive educators by engaging in a powerful process of personal and professional transformation.
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Chapter 3: Teaching for the Disability Rights Movement

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CHAPTER THREE

Teaching for the Disability Rights Movement



Guiding Questions

• What are the ethical goals of the disability rights movement?

• How is the disability rights movement like or unlike other civil rights movements (e.g., African Americans, women, Latinos, LGBT community)?

• How can knowledge of the disability rights movement inform the actions of inclusive educators today?

Disability studies scholars David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder (2000, p. 3) observe, “One might think of disability as the master trope of disqualification.” A disability places an individual in unending jeopardy of social exclusion. Students with disabilities receiving instruction in general education classrooms might be viewed as having trapdoors beneath their desks. At any moment, the educators can pull the lever. The door flops open, and the student drops down a shaft leading to a segregated special education setting.

If inclusion is an overly optimistic classroom placement for an individual who is viewed as lacking qualities of normality, then this scenario makes sense. If inclusion is a reluctant social experiment, then retreating when challenges arise is understandable.

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