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Inclusive Teaching Strategies

My name is John Heneghan and I developed this inquiry project as part of Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project. The importance of collaborative inquiry in identifying issues, developing potential solutions, and problem solving cannot be overstated. Through my participation in this monthly professional development, I met some of the most dedicated educators around the city. As a group we supported, challenged, and questioned each other’s projects to strengthen them and the experience left me excited to bring a similar approach and level of enthusiasm to the school where I work.
This particular inquiry was designed to provide teachers with streamlined examples of various strategies they can use in their classrooms right now. In my experience, many teachers are searching for ways to improve their practice, but lack the time to read and apply current educational research. Therefore, this inquiry was designed to provide a few examples of what worked for my colleagues and myself throughout the year-long development of this project.
This inquiry was developed at a 9-12 public secondary school in the Bronx. The population is 58% African American, 41% Latino, 1% other and has a special education population of ~15%. Teachers within the school feel overwhelmed by the prospect of inclusive classrooms; in such enviornments, all students are in general education classrooms and there is no longer the option placing students in a self-contained classroom. Therefore the Special Education Department Chair and myself, the Science Department Chair, collaborated on creating a series of teaching strategies that could be used by teachers within our school and other schools to allow all students access to quality literacy instruction in their classrooms. We wanted to provide teachers with time to apply these strategies in their own school context to increase the relevancy of the work.