I'm not going to lie. Trying to navigate having "my" students in three different schools in the first months of this year has been tough. There have been times where I've wanted to throw up my hands and move them all back in to the self-contained world we used to have that was so much easier to manage. Although I believe in this in theory, there have been times when I've questioned if we can actually make it work in practice. Those are two different things.
But those are just fleeting moments as most of the time I can see the advantage and/or potential to each of them to the programming they have now in comparison to the programming we had before. Ultimately, this is moving towards truly personalized programming for these students.
Which brings me to my thought on shifting gears. For a while now a lot of the focus of this blog has been on the concept of inclusion and some of the philosophies that sit behind it. As Simon Sinek says "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it" and that has been what this blog has been about. But thing evolve and in this situation I'm seeing that the what actually is part of the why.
Inclusion for my students begins with presuming their competence. If we authentically do that the question of where they should be fades away and the question of how are we going to do it starts to drive you. You begin to think in terms of what are the barriers to engagement and learning that exist for this student. And you begin to understand that the education of these students is actually just ongoing process of asking and problem solving around how you break down the next barrier. Each barrier you break down equates to a better quality of adult life for these students. And shouldn't quality of adult life be the ultimate goal of education? This is not a soft statement. It is actually a lot harder to think to in terms of qualty of adult life then it is to think just of the skills we want a student to learn. Quality of adult life is defined by relationships, social interactions, authentic contribution, self-awareness and self-determination, ability to communicate effectively, literacy skills, purpose, interdependence...etc.
It seems it is time for the focus of this blog to shift again as my own professional learning is shifting. It is time to start digging in to the what and the who in regards to those things that project students towards that increased quality of life.