After a great deal of reading on the policies and legislation surrounding inclusive education in Australia today, it has become apparent that it is a very contentious issue. I can see true benefits to inclusive education policy and legislation not only for individual students but for wider society as we as teachers and a wider schooling community can show the world that difference is encouraged, accepted and valued. However, it has become clear that the language and labels used in policy and legislation and the implementation of rigid national testing influence the attitudes towards the way society accepts difference.
Ashman and Elkins (2009) highlight the role of education as an agent of socialisation. The practices and learning that occurs within the school environment plays a role in shaping societies values, attitudes and beliefs. I see inclusive education as a positive force in shaping our future citizens to accept and value difference. The classroom obviously plays a leading role in socialising tomorrow’s citizens through modeling and teaching students about what is fair and just. The practices of inclusive education show students and wider society that diversity and difference is a rich resource to be valued and accepted, not feared or ignored and that all students can succeed. This focus on social justice encourages the changing of attitudes towards those that may have once been marginalised from society.
Through extensive reading it has also become apparent that it is society that has labeled those as different and has created the language that has caused individuals to be marginalised and generalised for their difference (Wolfensburger, 2002; Boyle and Lauchlan, 2007 & Carrington, 1999). Boyle and Lauchlan (2007,...
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Shaddock, A. (accessed 2010). Students with a Disability in Australian Schools: Learning and Leading Together. Canberra: University of Canberra.
Wolfensberger, W. (2002). Needed or at Least Wanted: Sanity in the Language Wars. American Association on Mental Retardation , 40 (1), 75 - 80.
Jacobs, R. (2010, February 5th). Teacher union's plan is a drastic step. The Age. Retrieved from https://learning.secure.griffith.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab=courses&url=/bin/common/course.pl?course_id=_78878_1&frame=top