Ethics, Equity, and Inclusive Education: Volume 9

Cover of Ethics, Equity, and Inclusive Education

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xviii
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Abstract

This chapter explores professional ethics within inclusive education. The conceptualization of inclusion is founded on ethical principles, as it concerns issues of equity, access, justice, and care. Many would argue that inclusion is a fundamental right, supported by the Salamanca Statement (1994) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006). Internationally, educational systems have adopted inclusive education in varying capacities and structures. Nevertheless, the ethical dimensions of inclusion are often absent in theoretical and practice related discussions of inclusion in teaching and learning. The nature of professional ethics within inclusive schooling is presented, with an examination of ethical dilemmas, challenges, and tensions, grounded in empirical data, that occur in the nuances of a teacher’s work.

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The situating of pimatisiwin as a framework for spatial justice and self-determination aids educators in strengthening their understandings of Indigenous knowledges to support an authentic inclusion of Indigenous students with disabilities. Through the sharing of Canada’s colonial history, and by critically examining the principles of care within special education, the author exposes its relationship with ableism, normalcy, eugenics, and white privilege to show how Indigenous peoples continue to be marginalized in the twenty-first century. This justice work asks educators to shift their perspectives of inclusion and wellness through the insertion of an Indigenous lens, one to help them see and hear the faces and voices of disabled Aboriginal children and their kinships. The chapter discusses the social model of disability, the psychology of Gentle Teaching, Indigenous ethics, and principles of natural laws through the voices of Nehiyawak and other knowledge keepers, in order to suggest an agenda for educators to come to an understanding of an emancipatory and gentle education. Spatial justice and Indigenous epistemologies merge as synergistic, inclusive, and holistic entities, to support Aboriginal children and youth as both they and those who teach learn to celebrate disabled ontologies. The chapter concludes by presenting how Gentle Teaching and Indigenous ways of knowing should be honored in this quest of creating an equitable, caring, and inclusive society for all disabled Indigenous children and youth.

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The origin of this chapter lies in a presentation by a colleague whose work I admire. Drawing on their extensive experience, they have developed guidance for schools to support children with special educational needs. Their conclusion was that teachers could adopt an eclectic approach, utilizing and combining different interventions as appropriate. The notion of utilizing different teaching approaches to facilitate inclusive education seemed accepted as unproblematic. However, I began to wonder about what happens when teaching approaches are based on conflicting views about the nature of how children learn. This led me to consider a more fundamental question. Do teachers’ own beliefs about how knowledge is created and how children develop (their personal epistemological beliefs) have an impact on their practice and children’s experiences in inclusive classrooms? Answering this question leads to the ethical issue of whether all ways of thinking about how children learn are compatible with teaching in inclusive schools, and the consequences that arise in seeking an answer.

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This chapter provides a framework for ethical decision making related to inclusive educational opportunities for secondary students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) based on policies and practices in the United States. Relevant research findings are utilized to explore ethical principles involved in educational decision making for secondary students with I/DD, with discussions on how these are intertwined with U.S. policy. I/DD and inclusion, as described in the research literature and U.S. policy, are defined and the current status of inclusive practices are described. Next, an exploration of the rationale, as supported by empirical evidence, for educating students at the secondary level with I/DD, primarily with their peers who do not have identified disabilities, is shared along with the counter-narrative. Connections of inclusion to post-school outcomes and the lived educational experiences of students with and without disabilities and educators are considered, including ethical dilemmas and conflicts. Finally, factors influencing the application of inclusionary practices are provided.

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The purpose of this chapter is to examine what it means for students with extensive support needs (ESN) to have opportunities to learn (OTL), why OTL is inexplicably tied to inclusive practices, and the in-school and post-school outcomes when students have OTL. Research will be provided that supports positive in-school and post-school outcomes, when students are provided equitable learning opportunities in inclusive contexts. Given the difference in possible outcomes for students with ESN when they do and do not have OTL, excluding them from general education contexts, where they have the best access to the intended and enacted curricula, is both unethical and limiting to society as a whole.

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The purpose of this study is to explore the intersection of literacy, technology, and pedagogy and how it can address ethical challenges in schools related to providing inclusive educational experience for all students. It examines a reading intervention program that combines technology (retrofitted routers and laptops), teacher training, and high-quality educational resources (levelled digital books) to support 40 high school students who are reading 4–5 years below their grade level in two rural Jamaican schools. Drawing on an ethical framework of rights-based education which focuses on inclusive education as a dimension of education quality, the study explores how technology, teacher training, and high-quality educational resources can scaffold the development of inclusive learning environments for struggling readers in Jamaican high schools. Findings reveal that digital tools and technology, along with high-quality resources, improved students reading abilities and confidence as readers; however, it was the relationship and rapport that students developed with the reading teacher that had the greatest impact on students’ engagement and motivation to read. These findings suggest that the ability to work with students who have special needs is an essential skill for all classroom teachers to begin addressing some of the ethical challenges of inclusive education among struggling readers in high school in Jamaica. It also highlights the need to embrace diverse models of inclusive education when working in the global South.

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This chapter considers teacher learning in inclusive co-teaching contexts, specifically the moral dimensions embedded within it. The chapter draws data from a study focusing on teachers’ perceptions of their learning during co-teaching in inclusive classrooms, and salient moral features embedded in co-teaching situations. Data from joint stimulated recall interviews conducted with three co-teacher pairs illuminate that teachers perceived both possibilities and challenges in key learning situations during co-teaching in inclusive classrooms. In these situations, it is possible for teachers to articulate and extract their guiding beliefs toward salient moral aspects in inclusive teaching in order to extend their understanding and revise their inclusive teaching practices. This chapter suggests that co-teaching is a promising practice for promoting inclusive classroom communities where teachers and students can learn together.

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Illustrated through ethnographic data drawn from a case study of a full-day kindergarten in Ontario, Canada, this chapter argues for an approach to inclusive curriculum that places the ethical relation at the center and promotes children’s rights through opportunities for multimodal communication. Theoretically, this case drew on multimodal literacy and ethical curricula. The study used ethnographic tools such as class observations, semi-structured interviews, and collection of children’s work. Findings indicate that responsive, ethical curricula through multimodal pedagogies were intrinsically inclusive of all children’s funds of knowledge and encouraged children to become curricular informants and take control of their choices of meaning making.

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This chapter explores underlying ethical tensions and dilemmas that arise through assessment practices used by teachers, specialist teachers, and other educators in determining a child’s learning. An ethical dilemma arises when teachers are aware that an assessment is not the narrative that best represents the child, and in doing so, further perpetuates the deficit orientation toward learning. While the policy context may reflect a strong commitment to inclusive classrooms and communities, assessment policies and well-intentioned school practices can marginalize students with high needs, simply because the assessment tools are not suitable. Ethical issues in the day-to-day formal and informal assessment practices used by teachers are explored; practices that serve to reinforce for learners who struggle what they “cannot do” or “do not want to do.” Ethical assessment practices that allow the dignity of the learner to be upheld through a celebration of learning, however incremental, are needed. As outlined in this chapter, some decisions made by teachers are not their own, as pressures from outside their control influence the decisions they make. Policy directions can influence the focus of assessments, and unwittingly create the ethical dilemmas teachers face. When teachers question and challenge assessment policies and practices, they can initiate change for all learners. This might include challenging the status quo and finding other ways to include students, more visibly, in their own assessment. In these ways, ethical dilemmas can be addressed and new understandings of assessment emerge.

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Inclusion, defined as nondiscriminatory education for all, involves embracing gifted students whose special needs should be considered in curriculum planning and in the teaching methods used. However, inclusion has often been connected with disability and special needs education. It has been claimed that inclusion neglects the needs of the gifted. This chapter identifies ethical challenges in inclusive education, with gifted students as a case example. Several critical misconceptions about gifted students and gifted education are identified as leading to ethical challenges for teachers. These misconceptions are discussed in the ethical framework of distributive justice in teaching, and recommendations are given for ways to support teachers in meeting the needs of gifted students in inclusive educational settings.

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About the Authors

Pages 259-260
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Index

Pages 261-274
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Cover of Ethics, Equity, and Inclusive Education
DOI
10.1108/S1479-363620179
Publication date
2017-05-09
Book series
International Perspectives on Inclusive Education
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78714-153-7
Book series ISSN
1479-3636