Shogren, K. A., Gross, J. M., Forber-Pratt, A. J., Francis, G. L., Satter, A. L., Blue-Banning, M., & Hill, C. (2015). The perspectives of students with and without disabilities on inclusive schools. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 40(4), 243-260. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1540796915583493
This study looked at the experiences of students with and without disabilities in the context of inclusive education.
The study analyzed data from 11 focus groups (6 students without disabilities and 5 with disabilities) and two individual interviews with the students with disabilities. The participating schools were identified as exemplars of inclusive schools. Multiple forms of data collection were used.
- Students’ perceptions of inclusion varied.
- Perceptions on their experiences of being educated with students of all types of abilities varied as well.
- Different perspectives on what structures and practices worked well were also noted.
- Students reported feeling a sense of belonging and positive school culture.
- Participants described their schools as “inclusive schools.”
- Students were aware of behaviour expectations and that some students required support to meet expectations.
- Students identified having two teachers in the room as helpful (co-teachers). The teachers were described as supports for all students.
- Students described elements of instructional practices that they found helpful (self-determination, student direction, frequent feedback and re-teaching, multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement, and technology).
IMPLICATIONS FOR CHANGE PROJECT
This study identifies several common characteristics of inclusive schools. Many of these characteristics are touched on in some shape or form in the Respecting Diversity program, specifically, the following:
- Multiple means of representation, expression and engagement
- Valued diversity
As similarly indicated in Article #7 clear behaviour expectations were observed in the inclusive classrooms in both studies. This is not directly addressed in the RD program, but is something to consider for my implementation project. It will be important to clarify behaviour expectations with students before getting started, as well as throughout the program.