Inclusive Education   |   Collaborative Behavioural Support   |   Friendship & Benevolence   |   Rethinking Disability

ABILITY AND OPPORTUNITY IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR: Two Insider Perspectives on Inclusive Education
The last three decades have seen a huge proliferation of information and research on strategies that can be used to successfully support disabled children in regular classrooms. Most of these strategies, however, have come from educators and other non-disabled people, leaving the perspectives of disabled students either unnoticed or ignored.
In this provocative workshop, filled with humour and personal anecdotes Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift will draw on their experience as two adults with different disabilities who experienced the school system in different ways and with different degrees of success. They will argue that there is an ongoing confusion about the relationship between ability and opportunity that we must grapple with in order to ensure that inclusive education truly lives up to its promise.

Type of Presentation: Keynote or Workshop  
Length of  Session: 75 - 90 minutes  
Max. Audience Size: Unlimited


Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift’s work on inclusion and belonging continues to be a cornerstone of the Harvard Principals’ Summer Institute. The power of their argument for inclusive learning environments comes from their ability to summon our principals to think globally about the learning and social needs of all students, not just those with disabilities. They always receive rave reviews.
— Millie Blackman, Director The Principals' Center Harvard Graduate School of Education

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INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: Rediscovering Our Right to Belong
In a fast paced and challenging presentation, Norman Kunc maintains that inclusive education is not simply something we "do" to students with disabilities, but involves a school  making an intentional commitment to build and maintain a sense of belonging for all students and adults in the school.  He maintains that our current emphasis on achievement, tracking, and segregation leads most, if not all students to see their membership in school and their "sense of belonging" as something which must be earned. 

A central tenet of inclusive education is that belonging is an inherent need of all people and must not be reserved solely for the "best of us."  Learning to value and work with a diversity of people is the first step in building an education system which fosters a sense of belonging among students and staff.  Inclusive education may prove to be a vital catalyst in this process. 

Type of Presentation: Keynote or Workshop  
Length of  Session: 75 - 90 minutes  
Max. Audience Size: Unlimited

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In the space of one afternoon, Norm and Emma changed the world view of two hundred Herzlia teachers, and inspired them to become excited about the potential of inclusion. They were a tremendous impetus in generating a school-wide commitment to make Herzlia a truly inclusive school.
Since then, the extent of teacher buy-in to the programme has increased greatly, and is now, I think, well past the point of critical mass. Like so many things, when one has lived with inclusive education for a while, it simply becomes part of the furniture, part of the language, part of the culture — and life without it becomes unthinkable. We shall never look back.
— Jeff Cohen Principal - Herzlia High School.. Capetown, South Africa

View Excerpts of this Presentation (6:34)

As an increasing number of students with disabilities are being included into regular classes, there is growing consensus among teachers about what supports need to be in place for inclusion to be manageable and successful. Based on personal experience and the input of classroom teachers throughout North America, Emma Van der Kliftand Norman Kunc examine five areas of support which need to be present if teachers are to welcome students with disabilities into their classrooms:  
- Information
- Collaborative Planning  
- Shared Agreement on Goals and Expectations  
- Classroom and School Based Supports  
- Classroom Assistants  
This session also addresses the question of fair and appropriate evaluation and briefly describes some ideas for supporting students with atypical or disruptive behaviour. 

Type of Presentation: Workshop  
Length of  Session: 75 - 90 minutes  
Max. Audience Size: Unlimited



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HELL-BENT ON HELPING: Friendship, Benevolence, and the Politics of Help
Many of us have created friendship circles and buddy systems in an attempt to help students with disabilities feel more included in their neighbourhood schools. In spite of genuine efforts and admirable intent, these supports have often perpetuated traditional attitudes of charity and benevolence. In this presentation,  Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift examine the issues of friendship, help, respect, and benevolence.  They suggest how teachers can support a student with a disability in their class without turning him/her into the "poster child" of the school. 

Type of Presentation: Keynote or Workshop  
Length of  Session: 75 - 90 minutes  
Max. Audience Size: Unlimited

View Video of Entire Presentation