Define Inclusion in Three Words or Less



Lack of universal definition of inclusion; Removing the Stumbling Block

I began a workshop for Educators to make their classrooms and schools more inclusive with the following request: Define inclusion in three words or less. 

Here were their responses:
Not so simple to implement
Future of Judaism
Not always appropriate
Kindness and support
Essential to figure it out
Good intentions, uneven outcomes
Kavod and Kavanah- respect and intention
It takes a village
True community
Together happily
Meeting multiple needs
Understanding assumptions
Impact on others
b’zelem Elohim
Really, really important

This was my starting point for three reasons: 
1. To get a sense of where these educators were (are) in their thinking about this issue.
2. To frame our conversation.
3. To recognize the real challenge we face as there is no universal definition of inclusion.

The lack of a universal definition of inclusion places the obligation on individual school districts to determine what they will or will not do to include students with disabilities. And while they are legally obligated to accommodate all students, accommodation isn’t inclusion, and there is tremendous variation from state to state and district to district. 

It’s gets even more complicated for us in Jewish education. There are no legal mandates binding us to be inclusive – and yet we know that we have a moral obligation to include every learner. Just look at the list above.   

Our obligation and our challenge is to figure out how to successfully include every learner meaningfully in the short amount of time we have with them. It's possible. No one has to have all the answers, you just need to know who to ask for help. 

**Colleagues have chimed in on social media with their three word definitions of inclusion: 
Together we're better
Tent opened wide
Acceptance for all

And then I led this workshop (with a teen from my congregation) for a standing-room only group of Jewish teens:

Inclusion in 3 words or less, Removing the Stumbling Block


Let's keep the conversation going. How would you define inclusion in three words or less?

 
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