Systemic Barriers to Inclusion: Leadership Practices to Support Inclusion

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Lacourse, Jennifer
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The education system continues to struggle to implement inclusive practices for neurodiverse students. Despite a shift in education from segregation to inclusion, many barriers still preclude inclusion from becoming a true practice of education. In Alberta, Canada, not only are neurodiverse students calling for equity in the classroom, but students from various cultural backgrounds are entering schools, creating diverse and complex classrooms. Teachers attempt to provide individual learning opportunities for all students but as class complexity increases this becomes impractical (Alberta Teachers' Association, 2021). Through the identification of systemic barriers that continue to hamper inclusive educational development, school leaders can find solutions. Regarding special education classes Jenson (2018) believed "special education continues to promote attitudes of disability being tragic and undesirable, consequently further excluding and oppressing these students" (p. 54). Teacher perceptions and attitudes focus on medical label of the child and not the individual nature of the child. The use of standardized curricula and assessments continue to be detrimental to inclusive education, particularly at the high school level (Jurado-de-los-Santos et al., 2021). Teacher and principal leadership, perspectives, and willingness to change practices are important for realizing inclusive education (Theoharis et al., 2016). An extensive literature review outlines promising practices for school leaders to undertake to beat the systemic barriers until a revolution happens within the whole education system.
inclusion , leadership , inclusive education , systemic barriers , school culture , universal design for learning , gradual release of responsibility
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess