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inclusion teacher change pedagogy

Inclusive Education and Pedagogical Change: Experiences from the Front Lines

Monique Somma , Sheila Bennett

Many educators hold beliefs that including students, at least to some degree, has academic and social benefits, however, they struggle with fundamenta.


Many educators hold beliefs that including students, at least to some degree, has academic and social benefits, however, they struggle with fundamental pedagogy. With a global shift from a segregated lens to that of an inclusive lens, special education teachers who once held positive beliefs towards segregated special education are now faced with a new reality of teaching students with disabilities in inclusive classroom settings. This paper highlights the experiences of ten educators who transitioned from teaching in a self-contained class to an inclusive class. Focus group and interview themes indicated that all had experienced a shift in their pedagogy- their overall beliefs and teaching methods- after they taught students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Despite their special education training, these educators were challenged by their own beliefs and expectations, the attitudes of others, and systematic barriers within the education system. Highlights of their change process include the positive performance of students with disabilities, the growth and development of the other students, and their overall pedagogical self-reflection. As a result, a framework, the Inclusive Educators’ Continuum of Change, was developed to highlight the change process and connect this research to the literature on inclusion and teacher change. This diagram can provide teacher educators a framework for discussing pedagogical change. Implications for professional development and teacher training for inclusive practice, as well as maximizing the educator skills in Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and mentorship opportunities will be highlighted.

Keywords: Inclusion, teacher change, pedagogy.

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