If you are leading inclusive change in your school, these three questions related to inclusive education will be very familiar.
- Are we there yet?
- Do we have to?
- But how do we?
You’ve maybe even asked yourself these questions a time or two 😜… and while the answers are not always easy to give (or to hear)…the good news is…there are answers!
Are We There Yet? This question is best answered by asking at least three follow-up questions:
- What does inclusion mean to me? To the leadership team? To staff? To families? To students?
- What changes in current practices will inclusion have for our school system and everyone in it?
- Think ahead one year, or even five years. What does a more inclusive system look and feel like?
When you (and your staff) can answer these questions, you are well on your way to knowing where you currently stand, your next steps, and where you will be in the next year or two.
To jumpstart these conversations, we offer our definition of inclusion (click here to read and download).
Do We Have To? This question is best answered by avoiding the trap of offering facts and figures, or operating out of force or fear. We have seen leaders try to convince others of their inclusive why by simply offering up more facts, figures, and information. It makes logical sense—to us. When someone is resistant or hesitant, we tend to turn up the dial by giving them more data, more reasons, more arguments, and even more training to help them “come around.” But believe it or not, this approach can lead to more pushback, more resistance, and thus more inertia. Understanding what triggers those individuals or makes them feel unsafe allows us to address their resistance with more compassion and understanding. The goal rather, is to give people a sense of agency and safety and to reduce barriers and remove challenges in their way. Here are three of our top strategies to do just that!
- Reduce barriers and remove challenges in their way (e.g., ask, How can I help you overcome the challenges you face?)
- Give people a sense of agency and safety (e.g., ask, What resources will you need to achieve your goals?)
- Establish a culture of safety (e.g., ask, What fears or worries do you have about moving in an inclusive direction?)
Need more support? Watch this video on dealing with the complexity of change and read this blog on how to deal with big emotions.
But How do We? The best answer to this question is to register for a FREE webinar where Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak and Dr. Julie Causton unpack 100s of strategies for helping staff co-teach/co-serve, differentiate, and create learning environments where all students feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure.
You’ll receive access to our most popular training and resources to help answer questions about the WHAT, WHY, and HOW of inclusive education.
Register for our free webinar here! You’ll leave with greater confidence and insight on how to navigate the journey toward inclusive education!