Mini Conference: Inclusion in the Community – Nov 2017

By Plugged In Community Centre 3 years ago
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Inclusion in the Community: Mini-Conference

Inclusion In The Community: Mini-Conference is an important piece of Plugged In’s commitment to impact and connect with the community. Included in our mandate to create inclusion are opportunities to educate, particularly on the importance of the relationship between communities, schools and families.

The general definition of inclusion is “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure,” however this is easier said than done. Many individuals can be indirectly excluded because of barriers or obstacles outside of their control.

By offering programs and events that showcase to the community how inclusion is possible, Plugged In removes these barriers and creates equal opportunities for all.

The 2nd annual Mini-Conference “Shelley Moore: Meaningful Inclusion in Classrooms, Schools and Communities” was held November 27, 2017 at Leo Nickerson Elementary School in St. Albert.

Based in Vancouver, Shelley Moore is a PhD student at UBC who consults and presents throughout North America. Her interactive presentations integrate theory and effective practices of inclusion, special education, curriculum and technology based on contexts of schools and communities. Quickly gaining a reputation as THE best presenter on inclusion, Shelley’s presentations appeal to school staff and administration, parents and community stakeholders.

Shelley’s unbridled passion for inclusion gave attendees the perfect balance of humor on a serious, thought-provoking topic! She quickly had everyone thinking, laughing, challenging their own understanding of inclusion, and ready to take this 50 year long battle for the differently-abled community into their daily lives.

Shelley asked us to consider: “How many of us have refined a practice that we don’t believe in?” This question was posed to her many years early by Barry Bennett and created a mindshift to “How do we bridge what we believe, with what we do?”

Attendees moved through graphic representations of exclusion, segregation, integration and finally to inclusion. We tend to mistake integration and inclusion as being synonymous, and so perhaps this is why we think that inclusion just isn’t working.

What is the difference, you ask?

Integration is simply breathing the same air, being in the same space with NO membership, no sense of belonging. It leaves many students in a situation they would not choose for themselves — a case of ‘I don’t want to be here…. I have to be here.’

Inclusion can’t simply be a place. It must be a place with a purpose, and it can’t just be a purpose without a place for it to happen. Inclusion is not place and time, it is more time doing purposeful activities in specific places. Students need to have a purpose. They need to understand their job in any given space to be successful and to feel a sense of membership. Shelley shared a matrix for creating inclusion. In it students need to have purpose in the following arenas: Personal, Intellectual and Social. It is up to us to create the space to do this in.

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