Campus Life

Inclusive education marks a key ideological shift

Inclusive education is generally understood to be the practice of placing learners with special educational needs with non-disabled students.

"It is not meant to be about diagnosis and placement," emphasizes the Honourable Dave Hancock, Minister of Education.

"Rather, it refers to an education system where every child has access to what they need to succeed. The fundamental questions are, "how do we provide adaptation to the curriculum so teachers don't have to do it on an individual basis and how do we ensure that school boards are appropriately funded for the students they have?""

Policy makers, educators and parents have long been wrestling with the issue of how to better deliver inclusive education. In 2007, Alberta Education conducted a review of its existing practices, leading to the creation of a proposed framework for replacing the special education system with an inclusive education system.

It was an important ideological shift because until recently, there had been little or no consensus on these matters.

"Although there has always been a strong philosophical push towards students with special educational needs spending most or all of their time with non-disabled students, implementation of this practice has varied," explains Dr. Nancy Grigg of the Faculty of Education.

Support for inclusive education is strong on all fronts.

"Every teacher needs to have some understanding of how children learn and I'm not surprised that the U of L, a leader in teacher education, is moving in this direction," says Hancock.