The Evolution of Inclusion: The past and future of education

The Evolution of Inclusion: The past and future of education

September 7, 2019 15 By Ronny Jaskolski


Welcome to Five Moore Minutes! Useful videos
in five minutes or less that support the teaching and learning of ALL students. I am your host
Shelley Moore, and today’s topic is The Evolution of Inclusion! OK, so remember the dots, I know, I have shown you these before. BUT, one colleague of mine
actually suggested to me once, “what if we didn’t look at them as different concepts
that we compare to each other, but instead, as an evolution of time!” it was totally brilliant Now, we could look at this timeline through the lens of any marginalized population – but
to understand this timeline from the inclusion and disability perspective, we have to go
back in time a bit. Many of us know or are connected to someone who experienced institutionalization because
of their disability. It was even often RECCOMENDED BY DOCTORS! Although British Columbia was
actually the first province in Canada to close down their institutions, there are
still individuals living in these conditions across Canada today!
The institutionalization movement is an example of exclusion. It separated individuals with
disabilities from their families and communities, without choice.
BUT, the disability rights movement over the past 50 years, with the hard work of some
incredible self-advocates, their families (and a little help from Geraldo Rivera), pushed
communities to shift, so that individuals of all abilities were welcomed, and living
in the same settings as their family and friends! This shift from institutions to communities
was the start of the inclusive evolution. We have movement!
BUT can we do better??? Although many individuals are no longer excluded
from their families and communities, they were (and often still are) expected to attend
segregated schools or self-contained special education programs that are totally separate
from the rest of the school community. And so!!! Parents began to ask some good questions!
You see…children with disabilities have siblings without disabilities, and families
wanted all their kids to have equitable access to a community based education…together!
Kids started to be integrated into classrooms with their peers! They are in math together!
and gym classes together! They’re eating lunch together! Kids are together! This is
better! This shift from segregated to integrated schools
and classrooms, is the next step of the evolution of inclusion. We have movement!
BUT can we do better??? Well…Integration, becomes tricky, because
it doesn’t take long to realize that just being together is not enough.
Although in the same classroom, students with disabilities, are often just that…physically
in the classrooms with sometimes parallel activities, loosely connected to classroom
tasks. Now, you don’t need me to tell you that
just physically sharing space and time is enough to make you feel like you belong in
a community – I mean come on, there are Disney movies made about this. Breathing the
same air is not enough! do you remember the Titans? I do… The evolution from integration to inclusion
is the topic of many current conversations in communities and schools around the world.
How do we support individuals to be meaningfully included, rather than just physically integrated?
It’s not just about “where” kids go in their day, but “why?” What is the purpose
to the places they go?! School based staff are now asking questions
about how classroom and school placements can become meaningful and purposeful for students
with disabilities. In inclusive classrooms and schools, students
are not just present, but they have purposeful roles & responsibilities in their classrooms
while meaningfully connecting to their peers. This is inclusion!
So, there you have it, my friends! – a brief history of inclusion in less than 5 minutes!
If this is interesting to you, definitely investigate your local history as well, because
every community is in a different place on this journey, and it is so valuable to know
where we have come from! Looking at these visuals as a timeline really
helped me to shift my thinking from, “which bubble is my school at/or not at?” and to
more of “Where are we in our inclusive journey now, and what is our next step?”
All of a sudden, the goal of inclusion becomes action oriented and feels so much more possible!
We may not all be at the same place in the journey, but we can all move forward…and
do better! And so, the question I am going to leave you
with today is, can we still do better? Do you think there is another evolution that
is happening in inclusion? What might that be? how can we inch even more forward to make inclusion even better? Thanks Geraldo!