Let’s make the classroom more inclusive, together!
A key part of ICCan’s mission statement is to empower community members to celebrate differences. To many children, teachers are some of the most influential members of their community. Children spend the majority of their days in the classroom and it is so important that children feel a sense of belongingness and inclusion when they are at school. Here at ICCan, we recognize the important role classrooms and teachers play in ensuring communities are inclusive as a whole. For this reason, we created the Inclusive Teachers Webinar Series and Certificate Program.
The Inclusive Teachers Webinar Series took place from January-March 2021 and was hosted by our Brock Unviersity Student Chapter. This webinar series was designed for teachers from all backgrounds and experience levels ranging from no experience in inclusive education to individuals who specialize in inclusion. Each webinar was thoughtfully crafted in collaboration with experts in the field and provided information about different sectors of inclusive education. We are excited to share that 480 community members registered to take part in one or more webinar on inclusive education. That is 480 present or future leaders in the field of education that have taken it upon themselves to learn about how they can better support the needs of their students. In addition, we acknowledged 98 participants with a certificate of recognition for attending all three webinars and completing an associated consolidation activity for each. Of those who registered for the certificate program, the majority were current teacher candidates (about 80%) and the rest included current teachers, coaches, early childhood educators, educational assistants and kinesiologists.
Creating communities that are truly inclusive takes time and effort. How exciting it is to see so many folks making the choice to continue or start their journey in inclusive education.
THANK YOU to each and every one of you who joined us, to our Brock Chapter Inclusive Teachers Coordinators, and to our wonderful speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise in the field! Below we recap each of the three webinars of the Inclusive Teachers Webinar Series. Be sure to check out the links provided to learn more about our speakers and panelists!
For our first webinar we were fortunate enough to have Andrea and Laura from Play Beyond the Label lead a workshop on Inclusive Physical Education. Together, Laura and Andrea bring a large breadth of knowledge and lived experiences in the field of inclusive education. The Play Beyond The Label: Setting the Stage workshop delivered as part of the ICCan Inclusive Teachers Webinar Series focused on strategies for educators to support meaningful integration opportunities in physical education classrooms while providing the appropriate accommodations and modifications necessary to ensure learning and growth for all students. We encourage you to check out the Play Beyond the Label Website for more learning opportunities and resources for your classroom!
Following the #PlayBeyondTheLabel workshop, we heard from Robin White, Kate Tuff and Rose Monacelli from Bloorview School Authority. Bloorview School Authority is uniquely situated on the same grounds as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and provides innovative and inclusive programs to children and youth with different abilities. This webinar focused on strategies to support children of all abilities in the classroom and how teachers can work with other professionals to support learning in their classroom.
As part of ICCan’s mission and purpose, we hope to serve as a way to bridge research and practice. Given this, our last webinar consisted of a panel of distinguished researchers conducting novel and innovative research on disability and inclusion in education across Ontario, Canada. We were fortunate to hear from Dr. Jessica Whitley from the University of Ottawa, Dr. Jordan Shurr from Queens University, Dr. Kathryn Underwood from Ryerson University and Dr. Chelsea Jones from Brock University. Topics presented during this talk included how to support the psychosocial and mental health of children and an in-depth look into the experiences of families with young children with disabilities navigating the education system. This webinar highlighted the important research being conducted in the field of education and inclusion and allowed participants to ask questions regarding how to apply evidence in their classrooms.
Whether you took part in one, all three or none of the Inclusive Teachers Webinars, we want you to think about the following questions:
- How are YOU ensuring the needs of all of your students are being met?
- Is your classroom fostering a sense of belonging for ALL children?
- What can you do BETTER to provide meaningful opportunities to all children?
- Is there representation of all students in the media (e.g., books, posters, movies, pictures) used in your classroom?
- How are you creating change in your school community to ensure that everyone is welcomed and celebrated?
Let’s make the world a more inclusive place, together!