Saturday, July 2, 2016

One Without the Other, by Shelley Moore

Canadian educator Shelley Moore has consulted with schools, school district, and community groups in the U.S. and Canada about her passion and specialty: inclusion.  She has gathered some of her wisdom and experience in a new book, One Without the Other: Stories of Unity Through Diversity and Inclusion.  Her goal: to make inclusion a natural part of all education.  Whereas attempts to "homogenize and standardize our classrooms and learners" may have marked education in the past, homogeneity "is no longer our vision of education (thank goodness)."

She writes that "inclusion means everyone--but actually everyone, even our students who ned the most support in our classrooms, schools, and communities."  Realizing the realities of needed support, she says, "The goal is not inclusion 100 percent of the time, but that 100 percent of the time we are striving to be more inclusive."

In her extended discussion of "what is inclusion," I appreciated the fact that she started out with presuming competence.  For example, some might have assumed that her student with Down syndrome was not paying attention while she was showing him addition flash cards.  He seemed detached, flipping through pages of a dictionary.  Finally, she noticed that he was turning to the page number of the correct answer!  20 + 40, he turned to page 60!  Presuming competence means that from the start, teachers engage students as if they understand and hear it all, because they almost always are hearing, understanding, and learning more than we might have thought.  She goes on, "unless I presume competence in all people, I am the one who is disabled."

Teachers who are unfamiliar with inclusion ought to pick up Moore's book.  There are probably more technical and comprehensive studies of inclusion, but Moore's experienced bird's eye view will serve as introduction and inspiration to teachers and administrators.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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