Article #7


Morningstar, M. E., Shogren, K. A., Lee, H., & Born, K. (2015). Preliminary lessons about supporting participation and learning in inclusive classrooms. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 40(3), 192-210. doi:


The purpose of this study was to examine how inclusive classrooms support participation and learning for all students.


This was a descriptive study that looked at observational data in inclusive classrooms from six schools that have schoolwide inclusion policies and practices in place, and that have also, been identified as exemplars of inclusive school practices.

Supports for participation were observed in the following domains:

  • Instructional staffing arrangements and roles
  • Methods of instructional groupings
  • Peer-supported learning
  • Access to academic curriculum

Supports for learning were observed in the following domains:

  • UDL
  • Behavioural interventions
  • Accommodations and modifications


  • Co-teaching was a big factor leading to high levels of student participation.
  • Student supports were available in a many learning arrangements.
  • Whole-class instruction and flexible groupings were observed.
  • Learning technology was used by educators to support learning.
  • High rates of planned peer-supported learning were observed.
  • Access and alignment with classroom content was observed 60% of the time.
  • Multiple means of accessing instructional content was observed.
    Students were provided the opportunity to share their knowledge in multiple ways and were provided with multiple methods for engaging in learning.
  • School wide and classroom behaviour expectations were clear and evident.
  • Individual behaviour support plans seemed to have positive effects.



The outcomes of this study highlight important practices and methods that influence an inclusive approach to education; one that encourages social role valorization for all learners, and that goes beyond students all simply working in the same space. The study highlighted the benefits of students given the opportunity to engage in learning in multiple ways as well as share their learning through multiple methods. I believe that implementing the Respecting Diversity program will help to encourage this as well.