Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Monday, February 23, 2015

Having an Inclusive Mindset


I have been having trouble with what to write about inclusion and how to incorporate into the classroom and then I came across the following article "Inclusion is Great. Now What?

I would recommend that everyone reads the article.

Here are some key sections of the article:

"Last September, my MATAN colleague Lisa Friedman wrote: “Inclusion is not a program. And inclusion is not something that we do for people with disabilities. Rather, inclusion is a mindset, an attitude, a way of thinking that opens doors to opportunities for meaningful engagement, contribution and belonging .”
So inclusion is more than a what we do or some type of program that we do but it is a mindset a pedagogy of how we relate to the students in our schools. Therefore to be honest it is hard to teach teachers how to do inclusion or what is the best "program" or way to do "it".

We need to have an inclusive mindset

"If we are honest, we’ll admit that there’s room for improvement. After consulting several individuals with special needs and parents of children who have special needs, I’ve compiled a few tips we can all follow to make our world a more inclusive place:

1. When you see a person who is different, a smile or friendly greeting can go a long way toward making that individual and their family welcome.

2. If it is a family member, friend, or community member, let them know that their presence is important to you. If they are not able to participate in some function (services, Shabbat dinner, a family picnic, etc.) because of their special circumstance, ask how you can accommodate them and adjust accordingly.

3. When you speak to a family member of a person with special needs, don’t avoid the topic. Ask about that person, not just about the rest of the family.

4. When you’re at a family or social gathering, in synagogue or anywhere else, and you see someone struggling — don’t stare. Offer a smile, a compassionate glance, and even a helping hand. They may not need help with their special needs child — and you might feel hesitant to get involved — but they might need some support for their other children at the moment.

5. Be a friend. Let the individual set the tone and follow their cues. Listen patiently and be supportive. Let them know you are there for them.

6. Don’t judge. We all have our own battles to fight and everyone is doing their best.
As parents of a 14-year-old boy with autism, my husband and I have experienced many different reactions over the years. We’ve been in situations where people greet us warmly but ignore our son. We’ve dealt with very public meltdowns where bystanders look away or worse, reprimand us. At the same time, we’ve been blessed with family and friends who love our son unconditionally, care about us, and often take the initiative and help us before we even know what we need."

I have often said that creating an environment of inclusion or that inclusion mindset will help all students and all students will gain from it.

Wouldn't we want to incorporate numbers 1, 3, 5, and 6 for all our students in our class or our school

Imagine a school where every student is greeted in a warm friendly manner and we care about our students and their families in a real way.

What is if we truly listened and exercised more patience

And finally what f we created a safe environment in which no one was judged

Not only will we create a this mindset and atmosphere of inclusion but we will create a place that all students call feel as if they matter and are important, and where that can take risks and be themselves without being judged

Wouldn't that be amazing!

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