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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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Part Three: Narratives of Inclusive Education Struggle and Success

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PART THREE

Narratives of Inclusive Education Struggle and Success



Their story, yours, mine—it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them. (William Carlos Williams, as quoted by Coles, 1990, p. 30)

It is not uncommon for books about effective pedagogy to tout a series of instructional methods and then illustrate those teaching activities in the form of descriptive cases or narratives. Typically, these accounts are presented in an authoritative style, as large stone statues built into impressive shrines of professional knowledge. The message is, We have told you quite masterfully what to do, how to teach, and these narrated examples clearly demonstrate the best practices. So imitate the expertise exemplified in these narratives.

Undoubtedly, there is something valuable in reading the stories told by persons who have achieved a fair degree of effectiveness. I do not want to downplay how important it is for teachers to have access to experiential stories told by highly successful colleagues. Often these stories provide both inspiration and illustration, nudging the reader forward to try better practices while offering some element of guidance on that improving path. Often these stories help us to envision what is possible. If those people can do it, why can’t we?

But the typical professional book that provides stories or case studies of effective practice is...

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