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What it LOOKS like

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Started by Greg Carroll 15 Aug 2012 4:18pm () Replies (8)

One of the challenges in special education is knowing what real inclusion looks like.  What does a school do that is truly inclusive that is different from one that isn't?  We all know what the extremes are - the schools where the principal nicely points out to the family coming to enrol their child that perhaps this is not the place that "can best meet their needs".  Conversely the school where it is simply irrelevant whether you are white, brown, wear glasses, are in a wheel chair, or struggle with your school work or relating to others  ... everyone is involved in all activities to the highest possible level.

At the Engaging level of the e-Learning Planning Framework it states:

"TEACHERS:  Teachers trial technologies to deliberately help diverse students understand the content in  learning area(s)."

So what does this look like?  Really?
What are the DELIBERATE things a teacher can do that ARE inclusive?
What does it look and feel like to be part of this culture?
If I was looking through your school/classroom to conduct an "Inclusive Audit" what would I say about your room/school/practices?  What evidence or actions are there we would see so we know that this assessment is true?

Apparently there is an online tool coming, commissioned by the MoE, that will support schools in making these decisions.  It will be released towards the end of this year I am told.

SO ... what would the survey find in your classroom?  In your school?

If you are someone who does have an inclusive culture in your school what things show this?  How do you know?  What do you see?  How do the students and teachers interact that is different?  What structures are in place?  Lots of questions .....

It would be great to have examples of what it LOOKS like in real life to share.  Please add your ideas in the comments.


  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2012 9:24pm ()

    Brilliant - isn't it great how fast kids pick things up compared to the adult brain with language.  There is a great NZSL app for the iDevice too - http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nzsl-dictionary/id521076445?mt=8

  • Danielle Heares-Farry (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2012 8:34pm ()

    I have found the New Zealand sign langauge website very helpful: http://nzsl.vuw.ac.nz/

    During form time we do not have a teacher aid, the students take turns reading to one of their classmates who only communicates in sign. This wonderful website allows us to workout what she is trying to say.

    As a results many of the members in the class are slowly starting to learn sign langauge. It really is an amzing tool.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 27 Aug 2012 11:47am ()

    Thank you for sharing this example of how e-learning can be infused into teaching and learning Chrissie. Suzie Vesper has also collated some New Zealand Voicethread examples, if anyone is interested in seeing more of this in action.

    On another note, I see that NZC has very recently published a video of Juanita Corbett (Arohanui Special School) talking about the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication - when engaging with students who have special education needs.

    There are some fantastic tips for us as teachers here and I'm wondering what these strategies might look like, if we were using e-learning tools to facilitate effective communication as well?

    Screen shot of video in NZC

  • liz Stevenson (View all users posts) 16 Aug 2012 1:28pm ()

    Nice story Kathe. Greg, you got me thinking about changed perspectives as well as practice when you asked, What does it look like and feel like to be part of this culture?  

    First thoughts are around how appropriate technologies help empower changes in teaching style, in teacher-student communication, and in what teachers believe their roles to be. In inclusive classrooms, the learning looks and is great - and it feels good too because of a host of intangibles that emanate from a belief in real equity.

    I know you asked for classroom examples but I can't resist sharing this from The Charter for Compassion as it's a nice example of some global collective work about equity and cultural diversity (via some creative technology). You'll see that a student says its about transcending selfishness and the major theme is treating everyone without exception with absolute justice, equity and respect. (2mins)

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2012 10:25pm ()

    I know some teachers have deliberately trialled and then chosen to use Voicethread as it provides many options for both sharing information in a range of formats, e.g images, text, video etc and also options for expression and participation.

    For anyone who is unfamiliar with Voicethread or has given it a whirl in a workshop but not explored it more fully with students, it is well worth another look. If you have a student in your class who has a number of people working in a team alongside them, using a Voicethread enables both the learner and the team members to build conversations around a subject in one place.

    I have often used a Voicethread embedded in a student's blog to share something that happened in the classroom and then the family and team members of the student can share their comments and feedback with the student in text, audio or video.

  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2012 4:52pm ()

    Thanks Kath - love that story!

    Many schools are doing very well in terms of being culturally inclusive but (and not to detract from that at all!!) I wonder if they could say the same about other 'differences' in their communities?

    As you say too .... who wants to be identified as non-anything?  And many adults are quick to point out if they are being excluded from the things they they want to be part of. 

    Again like you say having things close to home changes your perspecitive ay.  Like being a parent yourself changes your perspecitive on being a teacher :-)

  • Kathe Tawhiwhirangi (View all users posts) 15 Aug 2012 4:43pm ()

    What a greeat way to kick start a conversation off Greg. I agree, there are schools out there that irrelevant of size, colour, capability etc....they are purely intent on being as INCLUSIVE as possible in their learning environments. A gold star to them!

    I wonder how many of our schools however, could boast that sort of attitude, inclusiveness and invitation to take part in their learning spaces?

    This 'tool' (that by all accounts, is not too far way from landing on evey schools doorstep) will be a welcome component to some whānau as this may well highlight, expose, bring to the forefront 'blindspots' (or ignoring ones?!) to deepen awareness as to schools own positioning in regard to being an 'inclusive' site.

    I am pretty certain that there wil not be any schools out there who will want to be identified as being 'non-inclusive'.

    I wonder how non-inclusive schools would be if their own chn (as oppsed to chn they are teaching) were in the category of being classified as being Special Education Needs?

    So to a story I heard the other day.....

    A visitor asked: “How do people in this school treat others that are different?”

    The answer that was given : “There is no one here that is different….actually there is, he’s Australian” (responded the child in a wheelchair J)

    On a slighlty different note...

    Neil Jarvis: Keynote at the InternetNZ conference in Akld earlier this year

    "There has never been a better time to be blind"

    Neil was using braille to deliver his keynote speech and spoke about the wonders the technologies had afforded him in staying connected in this world.

    Accessibility to the information? Right there!

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