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Drivers of Student Learning: Inclusive School

How is it defined?

‘Inclusion is a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision which covers all children of the appropriate age range and a conviction that it is the responsibility of the regular system to educate all children’ (UNESCO, 2009).

Inclusive schools are places in which all students can succeed. ‘All means learners across the categorical boundaries of disability, social class, gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, and religion.’ Succeed means succeeding in terms of learning, as well as in terms of physical, social, emotional, and spiritual outcomes (Willms, 2009).The adoption of inclusive practices is a school’s duty and students have a fundamental right to be included (Katz, Porath, Bendu, & Epp, 2012).

The Learning Bar’s Teacher Survey is a self-evaluation tool for teachers that is based on ‘effective schools’ research, consisting of eight of the most important variables associated with the drivers of student learning, and coupled with the Outward Bound model of teaching and learning covered in John Hattie’s book, Visible Learning (Hattie, 2009).

Why is it important?  

  • Research has demonstrated favorable academic and social outcomes for students attending schools with inclusive practices (Loreman, 2014).  
  • Teachers and students appreciate and value individual differences in schools that adopt inclusive practices (Boyle, Scriven, Durning, & Downes, 2011).  
  • Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards inclusion are related to success or failure of inclusive education initiatives (Avramidis & Norwich, 2002).  
  • Inclusive education challenges teachers to incorporate a variety of strategies to meet diverse learning needs which, in turn, benefits all students (Boyle, Scriven, Durning, & Downes, 2011).

How do we measure it?

In Tell Them From Me, teachers respond to eight items on a five-point scale which is scored as follows: 0 (Strongly Disagree), 1 (Disagree), 2 (Neither Agree nor Disagree), 3 (Agree), and 4 (Strongly Agree). The data are scaled on a 10-point scale and the results are reported as ‘the average score for inclusive school’.

 

References

Avramidis, E., & Norwich, B. (2002). Teachers' attitudes towards integration/inclusion: A review of the literature. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17(2), 129-147.

Boyle, C., Scriven, B., Durning, S., & Downes, C. (2011). Facilitating the learning of all students: The ‘professional positive’ of inclusive practice in Australian primary schools. Support for Learning, 26(2), 72-78.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge.

Katz, J., Porath, M., Bendu, C., & Epp, B. (2012). Diverse voices: Middle years students’ insights into life in inclusive classrooms. Exceptionality Education International, 22(1), 2-16.

Loreman, T. (2014). Measuring inclusive education outcomes in Alberta, Canada. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(5), 459-483.

UNESCO (2009). Policy guidelines on inclusion in education. Paris: UNESCO.

Willms, J. D. (2009, October). Classroom Diversity and Inclusion: The Educational Advantage. Plenary presentation at the Return to Salamanca – Global Conference on Inclusive Education. Salamanca, Spain.