Shelley Moore: Transforming Inclusive Education

Hi, my name is Shelly Moore and I'm a
third year PhD student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. As
Canadians we have a reputation for finding and embracing the strength in our
diversity. This value however hasn't been reflected in our classrooms which still
segregate students by ability, especially students with developmental disabilities.
There's a gap in our understanding about what we know inclusive education to be
philosophically versus what we understand, and the importance of
understanding inclusion in our practice. This is the question I'm trying to answer
my research, is how can we find value in the day-to-day practice in our
classrooms in terms of inclusive education. So how am I going to explain this to you? Now I can sit here and try and describe this or we can have a little bit
more fun. Why don't we go *bowling*? So let's talk about bowling: you have 10
pins, you have two balls, and you have a lane. The goal is to knock down as many pins as you can but if
you don't get them all its ok cuz you have another chance. But when I bowl and roll the ball down the middle and I don't knock them all down… what often ends up happening to me is that there's two pins left standing on either end and they stare
at you. It's the 7/10 split and it's the hardest shot in bowling. How is bowling
like teaching? The ball is the lesson the pins are the kids. We aim for the
middle, we do the best we can… the pins that are left standing we often have another chance to kind of get to them but at the end of the day those two pins that are staring looking at
you are our kids who need the most support and our kids who need the most
challenge. So we end up choosing one and the other one is left standing. I just took all the fun at of bowling. Now I don't know many times you've watched professional bowling, but I spent an afternoon
watching professional bowling, and let me tell you, there is not one bowler who
rolled that ball down the middle of the lane. They threw the ball down the lane
at a curve and I was actually really curious about this, so I called up a professional
bowler. He was so excited–I don't think he gets a lot of calls about education.
He said the reason why the ball has to enter at a curve is because you will knock down more pins and create a bigger domino effect if you enter at that angle.
But in order to do that you have to change your aim. In order to knock down
the most pins with one shot he aims for the pins that are the hardest to hit. Now
let's just let this sink in for a second. We are taught to teach the head pins. We are not
taught to teach to the kids who were the furthest and the hardest to get to: the kids with
autism, the kids with Down syndrome. The part that's critical here… and it really aligns with
Universal Design for Learning… is that so often the supports that we design for those
kids on the outside of the lane are actually supports that all of the kids
need. This is the part we need to understand if inclusive education is
going to move forward in Canada. How can we find this value of diversity in our
classrooms between the students. This is not just important for the outside pins
but it's critical for every single one of us. And just think all we need to do is change our aim. Look how bowling changed education.

34 thoughts on “Shelley Moore: Transforming Inclusive Education

  1. The two pins left standing are inclusion or academics. Do you seriously believe teachers do not default to teaching the most difficult students to teach in the room? They have to, usually because your target students are the ones screaming for attention and derailing the curricular goals. So stop the charade. The majority of students suffer when you attempt to institutionalize equality of outcome. You only lower the standards for everyone and force diligent students to seek their education elsewhere…anywhere but at inclusive (bottom of the barrel) schools. You do not help students who you seek to include, you degrade the environment of everyone else.

  2. I appreciate your concern. On the other hand, I am soooooooo weary of hearing this same diatribe over and over. NO, we were not taught EVER to shoot or bowl for the mainstream….NEVER in my educational background OR in the 16 years that I have been teaching has ANYONE EVER suggested that we try to teach the kids who are mainstream!!! So, please, everyone STOP acting as if this is some brilliant new take on the situation. Both of my parents were teachers. They KNEW that you teach to the kids that are struggling OR you lose everyone in the class to behavior problems (in the 1950s)! WHEN has this EVER NOT been the case??? The technology is new….that is it. AND, so many of you act as though all of us actually have access to technology. WE DON"T. We would LOVE to use it to enhance learning, but we are waiting to find out where all of the technology money went….because it did NOT come to ninth grade Health Ed….I will tell you!!!

  3. Dressed like a male with a voice of a female. I have to listen to you who can't decide, or figure out, who you are? Don't call me ignorant or give me crap about "now-a-days;" successful students have parents who care. Period. Parents who don't care have children who don't care.

  4. I think this is a very helpful analogy, and I believe Universal Designs for Learning is a valid approach. Couple of concerns. How can a classroom teacher with perhaps 180+ students working in four of five different subjects, with no Educational Assistant in most of their classes, and up to nine students with many different special needs in several classes and at least three in every class, and all the usual pressures of their work (prep, marking, reporting, meetings, portfolio maintenance, professional development) and of their personal lives (wellness work, social life, families, and so on), even begin to cope. I have lived this life, but was lucky enough to have a strong student support team in my school — counsellors, EAs, students services teachers, aboriginal education worker, severe behaviour program, youth care worker — and still it was not possible to meet the needs of every child without unintentionally neglecting or not fully understanding the needs of some of those students. The teachers I have worked with over the years in many different capacities have been super conscientious, hard working, and very cognizant of their need to always do their best for the children in their care. And most have found their work completely overwhelming on a regular basis, and have felt guilty about any failure. How do we address the needs of the teachers while also addressing the needs of the children. We are regularly losing or not attracting great people in teaching.

  5. Shelley, devastatingly beautiful and profound….I was sobbing. It's the ones who have, through history, been hidden away and forgotten at best, brutally abused at worst, they are ones we, as a society, really and especially need. Sometimes the "extra challenge" a child needs may just be the challenging of preconceptions about what success actually is. You may know something, but can you share that something in a meaningful way with these peers of yours who have challenges you can only guess at?

  6. I'm a mom of two kids with ADHD and autism and one of them also has Tourette's. I cried when I watched your video because someone gets it. I am doing research for a social work paper as well and it's on inclusion in BC schools, policy versus reality and a reform plan. As a mom, I just cried watching your video because what you said about education and inclusivity is the way it should be. We should be taught to teach to the kids that are the hardest to get to. Everyone wins.

  7. It's wonderful. Thank you for your scintillating interpretation of how to teach students with different levels.

  8. Excellent video…….love the bowling analogy for including all students and teaching to the most challenging.

  9. This is a terrific explanation, Shelley! Thanks for this. (I am Leyton's former university prof. He was bragging about you and sent me this link.)

  10. Great analogy! Very inspiring video for all educators out there who really want to make their classrooms a really inclusive learning environment for all. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Shelley! Best of luck with your PhD program!

  11. SelfDesign is an educational option that allows each individual child's learning and developmental needs to be fully seen, validated and supported. There is a whole other aspect to this revolution that is happening OUTSIDE of the standard school system, and it involves children being with those who love and care for them the most: their family, plus members of the community on a daily basis, being in life, a part of life, selecting mentors, actually participating in daily life rather than just reading about it. Check it out!

  12. Shelley, this is one of the best things I have seen on UDL or differentiation – ever. Thank you for sharing it with the public. I will certainly be sharing it with our staff!

  13. We'll be sharing this via the Inclusive Learning Network of ISTE! Thanks.

  14. Outstanding video, great work Shelley! I shared this with staff and other admin. A true inspiration. We try to reach all learners and your perspective really hit home! Love the curve ball! #reachingalllearners

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