By Jason Newberry, PhD, Taylor Newberry Consulting, Guelph, Ontario
For the past six years I have had the pleasure of partnering with the Community Inclusion Initiative (CI), a national community development initiative promoting the inclusion, full participation and citizenship of Canadians with intellectual disabilities and their families.
The initiative needed an evaluation framework and ongoing support to fully understand the most promising strategies to change and improve organizations, policies, and systems in ways that are supportive of inclusion. I started this work as a researcher at the Centre for Community Based Research, and have continued my relationship with CI more recently with Taylor Newberry Consulting.
There are several priority areas for CI, and a big one has been inclusive education. In my work with the partners, I have heard about amazing innovations and partnerships in the education systems all across the nation. A common thread has been the development of effective partnerships between Associations for Community Living and teachers, principals, and school boards. This has led to a variety of collaborative approaches to teacher in-service and training in which teachers learn effective strategies to promote and support classroom inclusion.
In our work, we have already learned a lot about systems change in education, including the importance of translating values of inclusion into educational practice. Other important factors are understanding school culture, “place-based” training, and gaining buy-in to training at all levels of the system.
We are now embarking on a national research initiative that will directly examine and compare different models of teacher training on knowledge, skills, attitudes, and classroom practices among participating teachers and schools. This new research initiative will help to further illuminate the best and most promising practices in supporting fully inclusive education.
For more information, please contact Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.