Create a More Inclusive Classroom

I have written a number of practical “how-to’s” to help create more inclusive classrooms and schools. Top Five Strategies for Your Inclusive Classroom and Ten Things to Know About Jewish Special Needs Education are terrific starting points.

Inclusion is belonging; Removing the Stumbling Block


However, there are two significant concepts at the core of creating inclusive learning environments that I would urge you to keep in mind:

First, accommodating isn’t the same as inclusion. Don’t get me wrong, making appropriate accommodations is an essential strategy in working with students who have unique learning needs. But there’s more to becoming truly inclusive. Inclusion is about belonging. It is about every student being fully integrated into the life of the classroom and the school. Making accommodations will be an integral part of the process, but it is not sufficient in and of itself. I share a great video to illustrate an activity that was beautifully re-framed in order to be inclusive in A Powerful Example of Inclusion.

Second, inclusion and disability awareness are NOT the same thing. Teaching a lesson or leading a conversation about disabilities does not mean that you are inclusive. It means you have taught a lesson about disabilities. It is important in its own right and a valuable component of inclusivity, but quality awareness-raising is only one aspect of inclusive practice.

Where and how you begin is far less important than just getting started. Trial and error is necessary. It really is ok to figure it out along the way.

Some additional resources for you to consider:

10 Reasons for Inclusive SchoolsThe Inclusive Class – A wonderful website rich with tools and strategies for secular classrooms that can be easily adapted and used in faith-based schools. I urge you not to shy away from secular resources “just because” you teach in a Jewish school.

Think Inclusive – Another exceptional website rich with content to support you at any place along your inclusive journey.

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