Access to Academics for All Students

Access to Academics for All Students

Access to Academics for All Students

Access to Academics for All Students

Synopsis

The authors of this book join a growing number of voices calling for teachers in diverse, inclusive schools to move beyond facilitating social participation in classroom activities and consider ways to intellectually engage ALL learners. They draw on emerging work linking critical theory with disability issues; work being done in curriculum studies around issues of social justice teaching, authentic instruction, service learning, and critical pedagogy; and the movement in the field of special education away from a deficit-driven model of education to an orientation that values students' strengths and gifts. Access to Academics for ALL Students: Critical Approaches to Inclusive Curriculum, Instruction, and Policy: examines the perceptions teachers hold about students with disabilities, students who are racially and ethnically diverse, students using English as a second language, students labeled "at risk," students placed in both "high" and "low" academic tracks, and students in urban schools; highlights how students who traditionally have been denied access to challenging work and educational opportunities can be supported to participate in academic instruction; and provides ideas for recognizing and challenging inequities, offers a framework for fostering access to academics for students with a range of strengths and needs, and explores pragmatic ways of increasing academic success for all learners. This volume is appropriate for both undergraduate and master's level courses in curriculum and instruction, methods of teaching (special and general education), inclusive education, multicultural education, and cultural foundations of education. It will serve as a resource for elementary and secondary teachers, for school administrators, and for parents.

Excerpt

In this text we join with a growing number of voices in suggesting that teachers in diverse, inclusive schools move beyond participation and consider ways to intellectually engage all learners. It is critical to stress that this book is not just about disability. Access to Academics for All Students is designed to examine the perceptions teachers hold about students with disabilities, students who are racially and ethnically diverse, students using English as a second language, students labeled at risk, students placed in both high and low academic tracks, and students in urban schools. The chapters are designed to highlight how students who traditionally have been denied access to challenging work and educational opportunities can be supported to participate in academic instruction.

Early texts on inclusive education suggested that teachers find opportunities for students with disabilities to meaningfully participate in class activities. They did not typically propose, however, that the participation be linked to content directly or that it meets any standards of complexity or rigor; this is especially true for students with significant disabilities. In fact, many of the texts on inclusive schooling in the 1980s and 1990s were focused on including students socially in schools and classrooms and on facilitating the participation of students with disabilities in lessons and classroom activities. In the past few years, however, educators and researchers have become increasingly interested in the ways in which students with disabilities are intellectually and academically engaged in the classroom (Bottge, 2001; Crossley, 1997; Falvey, Blair, Dingle, & Franklin, 2000; Fisher, Sax, & Pumpian, 1999; Jorgensen, 1998; Kliewer, 1998; Kliewer & Biklen, 2001; Kluth, 1998; Kluth & Straut, 2001; Udvari-Solner, 1996; UdvariSolner, Villa, & Thousand, 2002).

As we began generating ideas for this book, we explored ways in which many different populations of students are underchallenged in our schools. Students may not receive the education they need because of teacher or community expectations, school culture, mismatch between a teacher's teaching style and a student's learning style, inappropriate curriculum, lackluster instruction, or inadequate resources. Access to Academics for All Students examines these issues and offers both a progressive ideology and practical suggestions for those struggling to provide appropriate educational experiences for the diverse population of learners in schools today.

One of the primary reasons we decided to assemble this text was to promote a broad definition of inclusive education that incorporates and attends to all learners. Inclusive schooling, we feel, can be a catalyst for critically examining the education of all students, for interrogating the perceptions and assumptions . . .

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