How do I teach inclusion?
Self & Practice:
Treat everyone you meet like a blank canvas, that is what my credo started as this semester. Overtime when you learn something new about an individual, a quirk or a story, the canvas fills with paint and forms this incredible picture. The colour can be ever changing, blending, contrasting, muted, bright, fluid, monumental or subtle. This analogy helped me to stop making assumptions about my students because I paid attention to my students and not what others said about my students.Every student started with a clean slate.
But this analogy didn’t encompass all my students. It didn’t encompass all my students because before I had even met some of them, I already knew that they had exceptionalities, that they came with IEP’s, that they were different. So my credo evolved. My students with exceptionalities still came with blank canvases, but the canvas came with engravings of different textures and designs. Some patches were smooth, and some were rough, some rigid and un-malleable and some abstract and accessible.
I bounced back and forth with this analogy as I got to know all my students and I realized that by starting each student off with the same uniform blank canvas, I made the assumption that all my students were cut from the same cloth. And so my credo evolved again. As it turns out, there is no typical student, but an incredibly unique and diverse bunch, not one alike another. And so I am challenging myself with a new analogy, that every student has an exceptionally unique canvas because each student is exceptionally unique. Some canvases are smooth, some are rough, some are uneven, some are precise, some are large and some are small…
Context & Conditions:
The first thing I did this semester, before meeting my students for my long practicum, was sit down with my former professor from Douglas. She is an inclusion specialist with education in sport psychology and experience in special olympics. One thing she expressed is for students to first understand what a disability or exceptionality is, then to recognize their comfort level in including students with exceptionalities in sport. Students need to have exposure to different types of exceptionalities and adaptations to push past discomfort. My students took a questionnaire to understand their comfort level with inclusion of all abilities. A program called ‘Sport Ability’ is coming in on March 30th to give my PE 9 Boys class an introduction to adapted sports. This will give my students a new perspective on adapted sport. More to come in the next few days…