Do I know you?

Kia ora tātou.

Chris & I about to present a paper at the 2014 NZEALS conference
I've just finished feeding my pigs this afternoon, my wife has fed the calves and our daughters have stoked up the fire. We're settling in for the evening and are looking forward to watching the All Blacks.

So, over a nicely chilled beer I thought I'd sit down to read a paper written by my friend Chris McMaster. The paper is entitled "Elements of Inclusion: Findings from the Field" and has been published in Volume 15 of Kairaranga an academic journal out of Massey University.

Why am I wanting to blog about inclusion? What's inclusion? What's so important about inclusion?

Well, let me just say that if you had asked me two year ago these very questions I'd have had great difficulty in replying with any real clarity or understanding. I just didn't know, my knowledge was limited to the sparse literature from the Ministry of Education at that time.

Two year later, our school has as its first Strategic Goal the following "A 21st Century Curriculum is in place that is responsive and inclusive for all students." Chris has written an incredibly useful paper on inclusion. He's a gifted writer and very studious with his research.

I think his identification of five essential elements when looking at inclusion is a real winner! As a practitioner in a high school I found his paper very illuminating and therefore unreservedly recommend it to others. Understanding and therefore taking action around inclusion is not easy, it's complex.

In my own and shared learning with colleagues, we've found inclusion to be so much more than the 'participatory' guidelines given to schools which in reality appears to more of a compliance process then one of genuine inclusion.

In a previous blog I've mentioned Rita Pierson and her rallying call that every child needs a champion. Our plans for 2015 see us introducing Learning Advisories and this paper written by Chris will act as a litmus test when examining the five elements of inclusion. The first of these elements is Relationships, which Chris breaks down to the fundamental question "do I know you?" So simple yet very profound.

Thanks Chris.

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