Posted on June 01, 2012 in Inclusion
Keys to Inclusion is a great new book written by my talented friends and colleagues, Colin Newton and Derek Wilson. Colin and Derek really “get” inclusion; they see inclusion and belonging as issues that concern all learners, not just students with disabilities. What I love most about the book is that they write just like they present- with passion, energy, and heart. You will exploring the many planning tools they have developed, reading about their many real-life inclusion stories and paging through the many tips and strategies they offer in this user-friendly guide to schools for all.
Keys to Inclusion
This is a book about inclusion – a much used and misunderstood word. Inclusion has been a commonplace jargon word in the world of education and beyond over the last decade but what on earth does it mean?
Question 1: There are so many books about inclusion on the market, but this one is different. It is both inspiring and user-friendly and it offers so many real-world examples from your own work. Why did you write the book? How do you see this book as different from others focused on inclusive schooling?
This book grew out of 10 years of delivering a training day of the same title to many varied audiences across the UK and beyond – Greece, Canada, Czech Republic, USA, Ireland Holland. So it is thoroughly road tested in different cultures. I guess we wanted to get that training day down in print as far as possible and capture the essence of the inclusion message in a way that was available to all whatever their academic background or experience.
We also wanted to create a practical book for those who need to know how to include children and young people they find different or challenging. We were keen that to communicate our core values around inclusion, belonging and being person-centered too!
Question 2: I just love looking at the illustrations and pictures in this book. I especially love seeing all of the colorful visuals you have created in your workshops. This book, in fact, is filled with both artifacts from your trainings and stories from your work in schools. How does your work with teachers inform your writing?
We know educators are busy and find it hard to really read full books so making this book easily accessible was going to be essential! Pictures and images are a great way to engage and simplify texts and reflect the way we train groups too. As one teacher commented, “It’s easy to access- big print- pictures and clearly set out!”
Also, we are constantly on the look out for good stories from the field (like you) and these often make their way into training days. Recently Colin has started getting videos clips of people telling a story and posting on our website. There is nothing more practical than a good story! My most recent favourite is Babu the ‘Birthday Monitor” – didn’t make it into the book but it would have if we’d heard it in time.
Question 3: What sort of feedback have you gotten on the book? How have teachers responded? How about families?
People have found the book practical, useful and straightforward but also inspiring – which is great!
I think they (teachers) especially like the fact it does not look like a ‘heavy’ read because they don’t have time anyway and the fact you can open it and random and might find something you could use immediately.
We have sent some sample copies to local schools with a covering letter suggesting they open the book at -for instance- page 71 and ask if they could see themselves using this approach to planning. That seems to have worked in terms of them going on to buying the book. People have often told us that the book/training day has led them to think as much about their own families and themselves as parents/partners as it has about students with labels. We find this particularly encouraging as the inclusion message needs to be understood as concerning all of us.