The research is clear: inclusion works. Inclusive programs are the best option for everyone—for kids with disabilities, for all kids, and for teachers, families, the school system, and the community at large. But despite the lack of ambiguity, too many programs are still segregating students based on ability. Educator and researcher Jacqueline Specht knows that the problem isn’t with the findings from education research—which are unambiguous in their recommendations to cease segregation of kids with disabilities from mainstream education—but with the way these findings get implemented (or not) into the classroom. That’s why her research these days is focused on trying to innovate implementation. Individual belief systems, instructional practice, and degree of confidence make a huge difference in how teachers will respond to students with disabilities in the classroom. By ensuring teacher candidates can interact with students with disabilities early in their education, we can empower the next generation of teachers with the conviction to embrace students with disabilities as part of their classroom and with the experience and self-confidence they need to teach them. Jacqueline Specht is a Professor and Director of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education in the Faculty of Education, Western University. Her research focuses on inclusive education for students with disabilities, focusing on parents, teachers, and principals. Even imperfect inclusion—such as programs that include kids with disabilities without enabling their meaningful participation in the classroom—is preferable to full-out segregation. I loved talking to Jacqui about how we’re already on the path toward a more inclusive world; simply acknowledging the desire to get there is an important first step.
Thanks for Listening!
Resources & Links Mentioned:
- Jacqui’s email – [email protected]
- Twitter – @JacquelineSpec9
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Special thanks to Jacqueline Specht for joining me this week. Until next time!