Why should I want my child to be educated with yours?

Why should I want my child to be
educated with yours?
Dr Margo A Shuttleworth
• My history
• Basis for paper
• The Stories
• A Parent for Inclusion: Diane’s Story
• Social Exclusion: Jessie’s story
• Facebooking: Notes of a parents on her experience of the
assessment process
• Feelings of a teacher: gender identity and issues relating to
• Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
• The stories, issues and areas to explore
• Closing thoughts
My History
• Masters and Doctorate in UK, focus on
inclusion and life history research
• Taught, advised and worked in mainstream,
PRUs and special education schools
(behavioural disabilities) for 10+ years in the
• Moved from UK to Calgary, Canada in 2007
• Athabasca University
• Writings and advising on inclusive issues
Basis for paper
Inclusion should not only involve people with
disabilities but also those who are viewed as
different. This paper will look at the
influences and impact exclusionary views have
on human rights recognising the importance
of promoting the differences that denote our
unique cultures, learning styles and
Basis for paper (cont’d)
CAST’s Universal Design for Learning and its quest
to eliminate unintentional barriers created in
learning will also be examined and related to
This paper is still in its preliminary stages. I am
still in the process of the discussion of issues with
friends and colleagues, both locally and abroad. I
hope through this seminar I will gain more insight
which will aid in the final development of this
The path to becoming diverse is not a straight
one. There are many bumps and potholes to
negotiate and twists and turns that can, and
sometimes do, take you off the right path....
inclusion and diversity are not a destination
you reach, they are the journey you take
(Harris, p. ix, 2009)
None of Us is as Good as All of Us, 2009, Patricia Sowell Harris.
Within your sphere of knowledge is your life.
Everything you have learned, everything you
have participated in, everything you have
come to understand is within your sphere.
Everyone has one. Some things in it are
positive, some negative…. Once outside your
sphere you are in danger of ramming into
another sphere, potentially causing damage to
both spheres (Hayden Taylor, p73-74).
Me Funny (2004), Drew Hayden Taylor.
• These are four stories that have spurred my
decision for writing this piece:
1. A Parent for Inclusion: Diane’s Story
2. Social Exclusion: Jessie’s story
3. Facebooking: Notes of a parents on her
experience of the assessment process
4. Feelings of a teacher: gender identity and
issues relating to education
1. A parent for inclusion- Diane’s Story
Diane arrived at preschool with her two year old
daughter and told us all it would be her daughters’
last day at preschool. Being curious we asked why,
and Diane told us that her daughter was just too tired
as she was in this preschool for two days and another
preschool for the other three days. It was just
proving too much. The other preschool was a school
that included children with Downs Syndrome. The
immediate reaction from some of the parents was
shock and surprise. ‘Why would Diane send her
daughter there? Her daughter is clearly ‘normal!’
1. A parent for inclusion- Diane’s Story
In talking with Diane as to why she chose to keep
her child at other preschool, she said that it was
both from the learning perspective as well as
atmospheric. Her daughter didn’t see any of the
children as ‘different’ and was happy to engage
and learn alongside all of the children regardless
of their ability. She also thought that really at that
young of an age, there really isn’t that much of a
difference between her daughter and her
classmates that had Downs Syndrome.
2. Social exclusion: Jessie’s Story
Jessie called the director of the preschool to let her
know that her 4 year old son would not be attending
after the end of the month. When asked why, Jessie
told the director that she felt her son was not happy
with some of the children in his group, not being able
to relate to them as they were ‘different’. She felt that
the parents of the children at the preschool were
‘colourful’ and not necessarily the type of people she
was comfortable with and that some of the teachers’
aids (who were from Central America) were not
proficient in English and unable to relate to her English
3. Facebooking: Notes of a parent on
her experience of the assessment
• is wondering at what point you are officially allowed to start
your day over again????
• is wondering if you how can be hopeful yet sad and scared at
the same time......
• Wishes tears wouldn't come at the drop of a hat...
• is so unbelievably frustrated with the provincial government.
You think you have a plan worked out and their farking
hoops and red tape get in the way of getting the help he
needs as quickly as possible. 6 -8 weeks more of waiting is
great - if it's not your child!!!!
3. Facebooking: Notes of a parent on
her experience of the assessment
• was talking to the neighbour down the street. We were
talking and I was able to say "he is on the autism spectrum"
without bawling my eyes out! Progress baby!
• has a cramp from filling out 3 different waiting list forms. If
these are just to get on the waiting list, I don't want to see
the forms for when he actually starts a program !!!
• is getting really, really frustrated with people not returning
my phone calls!!! I will be calling them daily until they get so
pissed off that they actually call me back!!
• didn't want to go to Holland.... (Check out the new "Note"
on my page).
Welcome to Holland c1987
by Emily Perl Kingsley.
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child
with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared
that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it
would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a
fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide
books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The
Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn
some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.
You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the
plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed
up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've
dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in
Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a
horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and
disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must
learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new
group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less
flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and
you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to
notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips.
Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...
and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they
had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's
where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...
because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But ... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't
get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special,
the very lovely things ... about Holland.
4. Feelings of a Teacher : gender identity
and issues relating to education
My first year back in Toronto, in 1998, I was
working in a high school, with kids who have
global developmental delays, and was told by a
colleague, with a look of disgust on her face,
that if I told people, it would be my own
Other educators have warned me early on that
if I divulge my sexuality, I will be viewed by
students and their families as a predator.
However, a wonderful moment happened last
June. a student of mine asked me why I chose to
be gay. I responded by asking her, if she chose her
gender, skin colour, family, the fact she was a
brunette as opposed as a blonde. she said no, I
told her, that just like her, I had no choice. I was
gay, and just like the fact I am male, and have
blue eyes, it had nothing to do with my choice.
this is just who I am. she looked at me, smiled,
and told me, I get it.
That being said, regarding
exclusion, I don't feel as
though there is still an
environment that exists
which is truly inclusive. as
much as I have rights, in
general, its ok to speak
out against racism,
sexism, and anti
Semitism/ Islam, but
queer issues still have
many major leaps to go.
this I feel is primarily
based in the fact that
many people are still
trapped in using religion
as an excuse to cover
hate, homophobia.
Universal Design for Learning
• Recognises diversity as the norm
• Addresses a disabled curriculum
(responsibility shift)
• Provides a blueprint for flexibility of goals,
methods, materials and assessments of
diverse learning
• Looks at multiple means of
» Representation ( ‘what’ you are leaning)
» Expression (‘how’ you are learning)
» Engagement (‘why’ you are learning)
The stories; issues of inclusion; areas
to explore
• Social as well as educational inclusionattitudes towards it, institutions who promote
• Perceptions, knowledge rather than ignorance
• Parents influence on children
• How are these issues being tackled within
education and how can this be extended into
• What barriers do differing populations encounter
within the educational system
• Visible vs. invisible minorities
‘Often, it is more about finding solutions to make
all students fit into the prescribed model
developed by school administrators and policy
makers than about finding solutions to
accomplish the type of inclusion beneficial to
students from diverse racial, ethnic and linguistic
• We must examine how and when difference is
produced and treated
Closing thoughts
Social justice must go hand in hand with Inclusive
Education. It is not only the education system
that is involved it is the cultures that exist within
schools, communities and the exclusionary
beliefs that are embedded within society .... How
is it that we are going to tackle these issues?
Historically there have been 5 responses to
suppression of difference;
insisting on difference,
denying difference,
inviting difference and
critiquing difference
(Harper, 1997)
All humans are sacred, whatever their race, culture or
religion, whatever the capacities or incapacities and
whatever their weakness or strength may be. Each of
us has an instrument to bring to the vast orchestra of
humanity. Maturity comes from working with others.
Human beings need to be encouraged to make
choices… we humans need to be rooted in good earth
to produce good fruit. We need to reflect to seek truth
and meaning together.
Vanier, J (2006) Becoming Human, 1998 Massey Lectures, Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation

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