Community, Research

Video series promotes inclusive education

January 26, 2022

Researchers, advocates and educators are talking about inclusive education.

In fact, they’re taking their conversations online with the ‘Let’s chat about inclusive education’ video series. It highlights the positive experiences that parents and teachers are having with inclusive education. They’re also discussing how it works and how it should be applied to the education system.

The goal is to show audiences that inclusive education gets the best results for students, parents and teachers, said Education professor and Director of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education, Jacqueline Specht.

The videos, which launched this month, are posted on Inclusion Canada’s website, a national federation that works to advance full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. The first two videos have been recorded and there will be in total thirty videos that will be posted weekly throughout the year.

The videos are aimed at parents, graduate students, teacher candidates and researchers and they will touch on topics, such as fostering inclusive school culture, the importance of inclusive education, how to collaborate among groups of people to support students with disabilities and educating the next generation of teachers.

Specht said these videos are important because inclusive education hasn’t been implemented throughout the education system. Simply, many policymakers and educators don’t think it works. As a result, many children with disabilities don’t have the best learning experience due to inadequate classroom support as well as students not feeling valued for their contributions.

She added education needs to do more to equip and empower educators with the skills and confidence to teach students with diverse learning needs.

“We have lots of research that says inclusive education works,” Specht said. “We’ll talk about how it works and looking at the positive issues around inclusive education so that people can hear why it works.”

Inclusive education is a win-win for everyone at school. It benefits students with disabilities because they enjoy coming to school and they feel they belong while developing real friendships. Teachers also benefit when they reach those students who are hardest to reach – those who are struggling with learning or behaviour – which makes them a better teacher, Specht said.

Each video is accompanied with a two- to three-page guide that provides speaker biographies, a conversation overview that can guide a meeting or classroom discussion about inclusive education. In addition, three webinars are also planned as part of the project.

The online chats and additional materials can be used for university education programs, professional development sessions for educators and support groups for parents who have children with disabilities. These resources provide the knowledge and skills to foster inclusive school environments, Specht said.

“The classroom is a microcosm of society,” she said. “To create a society where we’re all valued, we must work to ensure that our classrooms and schools provide learning environments that promote diversity. ‘Let's Chat about Inclusive Education’ is a resource that will support that work.”