A person who has come up a lot in conversation during the course of this program in Shelley Moore. Now I’ve heard her name, and I’ve heard she’s amazing, and I know her “cause” is inclusion in classrooms and schools, but so far the topic of inclusion has not come up directly in any of our classes in this program. So, I decided to see for myself. Last weekend I attended a keynote talk by Shelley Moore and I now know what all the “hype” is about!
Shelley’s talk taught me that inclusion in education should not be about trying to change people to fit “the norm”, but rather to teach to people’s differences. I learned that compliance with a system should not be the only measure of success; success is measured differently from individual to individual, and changes depending where they are at that point in time.
One thing I noticed about the topic of inclusion is that it lends itself directly to multimodality. When Shelley talks about learning being “less about deficit and more about strength”, I think about how as teachers we must learn to create a space where there are many options for students to learn and be assessed. For example, creating assignments for students where they have multiple options to display their learning would be beneficial for them; instead of every student being required to submit a paper, providing other options such as a comic book, video, poster, or reenactment would allow students to feel more comfortable, and it would serve to increase their self-efficacy if they were given the option to choose and be assessed on something they are good at.
This is not to say that students shouldn’t be asked to sometimes complete work in a way that that they are not strong at. Shelley also speaks about how there is a skill in knowing when to be “green” (AKA “average”), but if we do not give students the confidence to at first be good at something, then it is unfair of us to ask them to always be uncomfortable in their learning and assessment.
There is much to think about in regards to inclusion, but I think the biggest takeaway I had from Shelley’s talk was that we need to look at our students and know who they are and who they identify as. After we know this, we need to teach to their identities in order to create inclusion in the classroom.
I’ll leave you with this short “Five Moore Minute” video, which really gets me thinking about the “adjustability” that teachers need to become familiar with in their teaching practice:
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