Teaching in Inclusive School Communities Carrington et al

Questions for Reflection

1. Inclusion is informed by a theoretical framework that informs our understanding of knowledge and difference in society. This framework influences our approach to teaching and learning, and the relationships we develop with students, staff and families. What is your theoretical framework for teaching?

2. Our beliefs and values influence whether we believe all students have the right to go to their local school. These beliefs and values also influence our views about groupings of students in a school. How would you describe your beliefs and values that might influence whether you include or exclude students?

3. Some students are marginalised in their own school community. This may be due to cultural differences and lack of understanding and respect for different religious and cultural beliefs. Some students may be marginalised because of their appearance or how they behave. Who is marginalised in your local school? why are they marginalised? What is being done about it?

Questions for Reflection

1. In Australia and New Zealand we need to only go back one generation to note significant changes in educational guidelings and practices. These educational changes reflect the effects of social movements on government policy and social mores. Schools ar emore than simply mirrors of society. Educational practices, including curriculum and pedagogy, also shape future social movements and government policy. What are some significant differences between your own school experiences and the school experiences of older members of your family? How might these different experiences connect to wider social changes?

2. Dewey (1907) described schools as microcosms of society. Whether teachers provide spaces for discussion of current debates or choose to ignore these debates, we shape students' expereinces of social issues. What do you think are the roles of teachers in social justice and educational change?

3. Social movements arise beause of a desire for social change. Some social movements are able to achieve their aims relatively quickly and are short-lived. Other current social movements have campaigns that are decades old. What are some current movements for social justice that you are aware of? How have you learned about these social movements? What is their genesis? What groups are associated with the social mvovement? Wo are key members of the group and/or movement? What are the different ways these social movements have been portrayed, and by whom? What kinds of effects, particularly on inclusive education, have these social movements had?

4. If you are amember of a social movement, how did you become involved? if you were interestes in becoming a member of a social movement, how might you go about becoming involved?

5. You have possibly noted significant changes in schools and classrooms over your own lifetime, first has a student and now as a beginning teacher. What goals do you think still need to be achieved to have an inclusive education system? What part will you play in progressing the inclusive education movement?

Questions for Reflection

1. Teachers need to commit intellectual eddort to their work. When a teacher, acting in their professional role, makes a statement, they should be able to support this with research or with a theoretical position that helped form the basis of their viewpoint. Choose an issue on social justice that is of interest to you and locate a book or journal reference that you find useful in this regard. Explain how reading this reference has helped you to extend your knowledge of this issue.

2. Violence by men against women is an issue of power, exclusion and social justice. It is seen by the United Nations as a 'serious human rights violation'. As a basis for discussion on this issue, access data on violence against women in your area from reliable sources such as govenement agencies and women's refuge organisations. Discuss how this data reflects issues of power and exclusion. How is this similar to the areas of disability and racism? What implications does this issue have for work on inclusion in classrooms and schools?

3. Neo-liberal policies (individualism, privatisation and the minimal state) are seen as creating 'a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society'. Discuss how an emphasis on the individual may reduce a sense of community and make us less willings to support one another through taxation and collective action. What are the implications for children of siuch contects? How might teachers support inclusion and social justice in such contexts?

4. The New Zealand disabiloty strategy: Making a world of difference: Whakanui oranga (minister for Disability Issues, 2001) says that people are disabled by 'the process that happens when one group of people create barriers by designing a world only for their way on liviing' (p.3). What are they implications of this idea for the work of teachers and for school policy>

Questions for Reflection

1. Inclusive education dilemmas are manifest in the most routine of teachings and learning practices within the everyday life of the classroom. What are some of the dilemmas you have experienced or observed? How could you use te three Nash appracohes and the Kidder tests to help your teacher colleagues to work through these dilemmas?

2. Obtain a copy of the rules of conduct and/or ethical code for teachers in the jurisdiction where you work or plan to work. Consider the extend to which the documentation is of practical help in you attempts to become an ethical inclusive educator.

3. The 'Toward an ethic of inclusive education' section presented three scenarios. What questions can you develop to help you explore why each of the educators believes their approach is the best way to act ethically in the situation?

Questions for Reflection

1. This chapter notes some students face a dilemma in that they require particular assistance with academic work, but this additional help may compromise their social position with peers. Consider what you could do as a teacher, in collaboration with teacher aides and students, to minimise the possible difficulties of this issue.

2. Consider an experiences as a student where you felt more could have been done to promote higher engagement in the class. If you had been the teacher of this class, how would you incorporate elements of 'a pedagogy of hope' into your lessons to encourage students to use their imaginations to gain power over their learning

3. Being an inclusive teacher means you have not only a good understanding of your students as individuals but also a good understanding of yourself. How confident are you in your own sense of self? What areas about yourself and your teaching in an inclusive classroom do you feel are your strengths? What areas do you feel could be stronger? How would you go about meeting the challenge of making changes? What elements are contained in your own virtual school bag?

4. Consider a lesson or unit of study you were required to teach on a recent field experience placement. How would you differentiate this lesson or unit to meet a different group of students? For example, if you were placed in a high SES area school, how would you differentiate for a low SES area school (or vice versa)?

Questions for Reflection

1. What are the dominating values and assumptions that have shaped Indigenous education in Australia?

2. Does the production of knowledge about Indigenous people reflect and/or reproduce ideas about Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships over Australia's history?

3. How might a lack of examination of these ideas afftect how you see your role in redressing indigenous educational disadvantage in Australia?

4. What factors are important to consider when establishing partnerships with indigenous communities, and how could you acknowledge these when developing strategies for indigenous community engagement?

5. What are the qualities of an educator who respects, values and integrates Indigenous knowledge perspectives? How will you make them evident in your practice?

Questions for Reflection

1. Schools inviting partnerships with parents and whanau is a long-standing expectation in the inclusive education paradigm and, as detailed in this and other chapters, provides numerous benefits. What benefits are likely to occur at a school and at national level when the special status of the maori is acknowledged?

2. How might teachers, who are culturally responsive, influence practices within the wider school context to ensure the school culture is also responsive to the needs of Maori students and whanau?

3. Cultural responsiveness and manaakitanga (an ethos of care) lie at the core of inclusive education. Reflect on the concept on manaakitanga, and discuss two specific ways teachers might draw on the concept in order to facilitate inclusive education for Maori students.

Questions for Reflection

1. It is likely some diagnostic labels of children will continue to be used in the future. Our challenge in education is to avoid the negative stereotyping of labels and focus on respectful support for children and families. How can our school systems, schools and teachers work to minimise negative outcomes?

2. In this chapter we discuss how the process of determining who should receive additional support and how they should receive it can lead to 'dilemma of difference', in which students are either singled out or their difference is ignored. In what other spheres of life may a 'dilemma of difference' arise?

3. Frequent reference is made to marginalised groups'; however, seldom is it recognised the periphery is always dependent on the norms and standards that constitute the centre. This is different in different societies; therefore, before we can address marginalisation in our own society, we need to ask: What barriers determine inclusion and exclusion in this society and who is responsible for their existence?

4. In this chapter, we describe a playground intervention one school developed to support students who were having difficulty making and keeping friends. The school focused on the practicalities of games (rules and skills) to support the more abstract principles of friendship, taking turns and being inclusive. What practical things can teachers do when they wish to put inclusion into action?

Questions for Reflection

1. This chapter discusses understandings of 'partnership' and 'collaboration', and highlights differences between inclusive and emancipatory approaches to school-based partnerships and collaboration.Evaluate what you think inclusive and empancipatory approaches to school-based partnerships and collaboration are.

2. Building a positive classroom climate is as an important aspect of collaboration and one which supports inclusive practice within the classroom community. Consider what you could do as a teacher, in collaboration with students, to develop supportive peer networks and build a positive climate in your classroom, ensuring all students feel they are an active and contributing member of that learning community.

3. Parents are important partners in classroom communities and should be actively engaged in this environment. As a classroom teacher you need to consider how you will effectively and collaboratively engage parents in the classroom. Consider what roles parents play within the context of your classroom. How will you effectively communicate with parents about what is happening in the classroom and with their child?

4. There are many skills required to be an effective and collaborative partner. As a classroom teacher you will need to ensure you omplement and practise these skills consistently in your teaching practice. Reflect on what skills you think you as a classroom teacher will need to consistently emplow and practise to be an effective collaborative partner.

Questions for Reflection

1. Theories of knowledge inform the understandings and actions of teachers. Positivist models emphasise children's social 'deficits' and encourage teachers to interpret children's social challenges as coming froma lack of social 'skills', while social models view knowledge as socially constructed and focus on the social contect. What is your theory of knowledge, and how to the theories described in this chapter influence your understanding about isolation, harassment and/or bullying at school?

2. This chapter describes the social experiences of students who are marginalised at school, and considers aspects of school context that contribute to marginalisation. Who is socially marginalised in the schools you are working in? How do those students experience school, and what factors contribute to their isolation? using some of the ideas about context in this chapter, what could you and/or the class etacher do to improve their social participation?

3. Identities can be viewed as contested, multiple, fluid and, at times, fragmentary because indentity is continually formed and reconstructed through relationships with others. What interactions have been part of or observed in schools that could support positive identities for marginalised students? What can teachers do, as staff members generally, to promote positive student identities in a diverse student group?

Questions for Reflection

1. In this chapter we describe social constrcutions on curriculum, pedagogy and learning. Thinking about you own experiences, and the roles of both student and teacher, describe examples of each construction. What learning situations have you encountered where a particular construction of curriculum has been more relevant than others?

2. Describe some of your own experiences of assessment. What views of learning were implied in these forms of assessment?

3. Relationships are complex, but they are also at the heart of teaching, learning and belonging. What things have you noticed in classrooms where you felt there was a culture of belonging? Conversely, what did you think was missing in classrooms where you felt there was not a culture of belonging? How would you start a culture of belonging in your classroom?

4. Think about some reflective questions you could ask yourself about your practice. How could you answer these questions? For example, 'How will I know I'm not replicating segregation in my classroom?', 'How can I tell all learned are engaged in culturally valued learning?'

5. IEPs are not a substitute for curriculum and they are not a form of assessment. IEP meetings can be one oportunity to share what teachers, students and their families have come to learn about a student's strengths and interests, and how a student learns. When would you think it was necessary to have an IEP? How else could you work with students and their families to share what each has learned about a student's strengths and interests, and how a student learns?

Questions for Reflection

1. Studies have shown working in an interprofessional way can break down many of the barriers that impede the creation of inclusive education systems. However, interprofessional practice may not occur naturally within schools, particularly within those schools whose norms, traditions and structures perpetuate segregation (Thousand & Villa, 2005). If you found yourself working in such a school, how might you go about convincing your colleagues of the need for interprofessional practice to facilitate inclusive education?

2. Research suggests students' achievement is enhanced when the education and services they receive are culturally responsive and appropraite. This finding has particular implications for minority-group students within education and health systems that are predominantly based on majority culture values, content, processes and practices. How can an interprofessional approach promote cultural competence and responsiveness amonth professionals who work with minority group students?

3. Think of an educational setting or school context you are familar with and identify the extent to which you think this follows an interprofessional education or interprofessional practic approach. What are the challenges or barriers to implementing an interprofessional approach and what are some possible solutions to these challenges?

Questions for Reflection

1. In your teaching practice in schools, make time to informally meet with a teacher aide, and with a student who has teacher aide support. Focus your interaction on questions and comments relating to the research outlines in this chapter. Consider how the respective experiences of the aide and student relate to and/or contrast with the findings of research studies. You will need to respect confidentiality, and acknowledge individuals' willingness to share their perspectives with you.

2. Some students face a dilemma at school in that they require assistance with academic work (as do most students) on the one hand, but they know having help from a teacher aide might compromise their social relationships with peers. Consider what you could do as a teacher, in collaboration with teacher aides and students, to minimise or resolve this issue.

3. Using the material presented in this chapter as well as other sources of knowledge and experience, develop a set of up to ten practical guidelines that will enable you to work respectfully and effectively with teacher aides for the good of all students. You guidelines should be something people will want to pick up and use, so be creative and present them in an engaging and accessible manner.

Questions for Reflection

1. The Index for Inclusion is based on a framework of inclusive values. Inclusion involves putting inclusive values into action and the Index for Inclusion can help to facilitate that process. Respect for diversity is a key value that should be actioned across all areads of the school community. For example, teachers would be encouraged to develop respectful relationships and communication with other staff, students and parents. Teachers would use respectful language that is non-judgemental when talkimg about families and students in the school staffroom. How would the values of compassion, courage and equality be actioned in a school community?

2. School A in the New Zealand case used the Index for Inclusion initially to review how children with special needs were included. However, the focus shifted to bullying and children's behaviour. Children and parents were involved with the school principal and staff to implement changes to monitor student behaviour better in the playground and improve the playground equipment and environment. Discuss examples of new strategies to improve playgroun behaviour and reduce bullying that you have observed in schools.

3. The Australian case study explores how one school wanted to develop more inclusive ways of engaging with the local community. The school developed a relationship with a local nursing home and used the school bus to bring nursing home residents to the school on a weekly basis to listen to children read and support learning in the classroom. Consider how this type of partnership between community and school can suport the development of inclusive values?