Action research and consultation to promote inclusive practices
A fundamental tenant of inclusive education is that students with exceptionalities have the right to pursue a quality education with supports in a general classroom setting; it promotes diversity, cooperation, and acceptance amongst all students. While Canada has progressed in promoting communities of diverse learners in schools and made advancements in policy, the shift has not been consistent throughout the country. Policies and practices vary from province to province, but beyond this individual schools and communities face a myriad of challenges due to a number of barriers including isolation, personnel, funding, and specialist supports. Schools lacking qualified special education personnel, experienced staff, access to specialists, or facing other constraints must be creative in meeting the needs of their students with disabilities. Small, rural and First Nations schools are some of the most affected by this. Developing capacity within these schools is essential. Models such as action research and directed consultation serve as a means to that end as they enable schools and educators to address issues of interest and concern, with regard to their unique contexts. Through supporting the professional development of educators, the needs of students with exceptionalities may be addressed and their right for inclusion promoted.