Inclusion of Learners with Exceptionalities in the Regular Classroom: Implications for School Culture, Leadership, Models of Inclusion, Policy and Teacher Education

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Past studies have examined the complexity of the inclusive school community (Carrington and Robinson, 2006), the challenges of inclusive policy making (Vlachou, 2004) and the implications for managing change, developing professional development models and supporting schools, such as through the Index for Inclusion, in their process of inclusive school development (Carrington and Robinson, 2004). Joining these international studies are theories, models and strategies drawn from a diverse range of literature that address teacher education in general as well as school culture, inclusive practices and aspects of leadership and change theory (Barth, 2007 and Fullen, 2007). Canada now has almost 100% of children receiving their education in regular classrooms (Evans, 2004). This shift as noted by MacMillan and Meyer (2006) and earlier by Sarason (1993) challenges the structures surrounding the educational enterprise, the structures that prepare teachers and the structures that support educators in their day to day work. This paper draws on new data being gathered from a group of public school teachers at the elementary and secondary levels in Nova Scotia, Canada as well as recent data collected in 2007 (French and French, 2007) to further explore the issues of inclusion and its implications for practice, school culture, leadership policy, teacher education and models of inclusion.

Keywords: Exceptional Learners, Teacher Education, Policy, School Culture, Leadership, Models of Inclusion
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Frederick French

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Mount Saint Vincent University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. French is a member of the Faculty of Education at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He has held various administrative appointments at his university including Chair of the Education Faculty, Head of Education Graduate Studies and is currently Head of the Graduate Program in School Psychology. His research interests lie in the area of learning disabilities and in inclusive educational policy development, school culture and at risk youth. In addition to his current faculty appointment, he remains active in private practice. He has worked as a school psychologist, school and district administrator, and has held a senior management appointment with a provincial department of education.

Ref: D08P0438