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Becoming a Great Inclusive Educator


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 10: School Reform


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School Reform

Guiding Question

• How can you participate in a school-wide inclusive education reform effort?

“But how do I get my whole school to do inclusion—together?” I have heard this question many times from valiant teachers who have labored in the hidden shadows, who have tried to create more inclusive classroom opportunities for students in a school where resource rooms and self-contained special education classes are still the customary location for disabled students. Often one or two general classroom teachers pair up with a special education colleague to do some co-teaching, creating a countercultural, mini-inclusive revolution (almost) beneath the radar of colleagues and administrators. There are also countless special and general educators who advocate fiercely for inclusive placements at IEP meetings, often volunteering their own time and classrooms to make it happen. In schools where the overall commitment to inclusive education is ambiguous, half-hearted, or altogether absent, there are small bands of ambitious, progressive educators who want to change the world. Or, at least, change their school.

Many inclusive education researchers contend that inclusion can only be truly successful and sustained over time if individual schools go through a process of ← 159 | 160 → dramatic change, involving a transformation of the principal’s responsibilities, school policies, curriculum, and the daily practices of teachers. “Comprehensive school change is required to develop effective, inclusive schools” (McLeskey & Waldron, 2011, p. 54).

Inclusion, when viewed...

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