Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Can We Learn from the Inclusion Model?

Again I am drawing on the words of Mara Sapon Shevin and her moving and enthralling book Widening the Circle:  The Power of Inclusive Classrooms.  She says"This is an inclusion model; we acknowledge the challenges, and we figure out -- together -- how to make it work."

Let's revisit the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning.  The 4 C's of Learning and Innovation Skills that they have chosen as their focus are:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
If we put the inclusion model into perspective, clearly it needs to incorporate all four Cs to be successful.  Logically speaking, inclusion can only benefit all students, as they would be required to use all of these skills on a daily basis as part of an inclusive community.

How about Project (or Problem) Based Learning?  While true that it would involve some out-of-the box thinking to effectively design a year-long project involving the whole class, the driving question of "How do we, as members of ........class include every member of our learning community in all of our activities throughout the school year?"  This driving question would acknowledge the challenges of including students of all needs, no matter how varied or intense, and the solutions would require ongoing communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity -- there can be no doubt -- and that's before the curriculum even starts.

That simple statement regarding the "inclusion model" has really got me thinking about how I will be approaching my classroom in the fall, and I am so grateful I did not wait until the last minute to start reading it!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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