Inclusive educational practices vary across Canada, and perhaps most especially in secondary schools. Researchers use the term authentic inclusion to describe exemplary inclusive educational institutions. Using an appreciative inquiry framework, two such high schools were identified and profiled within the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Students with and without disabilities, parents and/or guardians, teachers, educational assistants, and other school-based personnel were interviewed using semi- structured protocols. Data were analyzed and two main interrelated themes emerged; the first, authentic inclusion: “the full meal deal—it’s everywhere”; and the second, inclusive pedagogies. Several sub-themes provide greater detail, namely: a) a broad and infused inclusive vision, (b) leadership: implementing the vision, (c) pushing all students beyond comfort zones, (d) no to the new exclusion, and lastly, (d) rejection of false dichotomies: specialized care vs. social inclusion. In the final section, the notion of hope is taken up, as it hearkens back to the appreciative methodology, and more generally, to the promise of authentic inclusive education. We explore the notion of hope-filled schools, and students’ hopes for the future. Hope may be a critical element in the practice of authentic inclusion for students with disabilities.
Thompson, S., & Timmons, V. (2017) Authentic Inclusion in Two Secondary Schools: "It’s the Full Meal Deal. It’s Not Just in the Class. It’s Everywhere.". Exceptionality Education International, 27, 62-84. Retrieved from https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/eei/vol27/iss1/4