Listening and Learning from Children and Youth
How important it is for us to listen and learn from the people around us. I wanted to share something from the SWIFT Website that touched me to offer this entry today. It served as a reminder to me about what inclusion is and what it is not. Too often when I travel to different schools as a consultant, I see children with differing abilities being present in school buildings and present in classes, yet not true members of their school communities. A general education teacher might not speak to the student. Adults talk about the student with disabilities in earshot of them, not recognizing that everyone (other children and adults) can hear what they are saying; that what they are saying impacts everyone around them. Sometimes adults and the classmates treat the student with disabilities like he or she was younger than his/her actual age, like a mascot, not as an unique person with thoughts, emotions/feelings, strengths, gifts, talents, areas for learning, and things that are difficult (like all of us)… Inclusive education is about providing each and every student with an education that is meaningful to them, students with and without disabilities. It is about creating a community where every person (adults and students) feels welcome, feels as though they belong, experiences a sense of acceptance for who they are, that they matter, and that they are valued. It is about creating environments where all people, adults and children, learn, make mistakes, learn from them, make more mistakes, and learn…. Please take a moment to read this entry from the Swift Schools website.