A stop in the study tour focused on inclusive education in New Brunswick

To read on Inclusion International website:

Participants from eight countries take part in study tour

Study Tour Successfully Completed: Participants from Eight (8) Countries Take Part

Karin Marques, Czech Republic, Prague and Gordon Porter of Inclusive Education Canada

Karin Marques, Czech Republic, Prague and Gordon Porter of Inclusive Education Canada

Inclusion International sponsored a successful study tour focused on inclusive education in New Brunswick, Canada.  The event was the latest in several arranged in the last few years.  It was led by Dr. Gordon L. Porter, Director of Inclusive Education Canada and Inés E. de Escallón, Inclusion International (II) Regional Coordinator for the Americas. It was held from October 5-10, 2015 with participants based in Fredericton, the capitol of New Brunswick.

The OECD, as well as UNESCO, has recognized New Brunswick, for the systemic implementation of inclusive education. Law and policy has mandated inclusion since 1986 and a new policy was issued in September 2013 to focus and enhance practices in schools and classrooms. The New Brunswick Ministry of Education received the 2013 UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize which cited the province

… for its long-standing commitment to a systemic approach to inclusive education for learners with disabilities and for its vision of education as a catalyst for social justice and equity.”

Participants in the study tour visited several schools in three different communities and had the opportunity to observe and discuss strategies and approaches with school leaders and teachers. The tour also included sessions with senior officials, parents and parent advocacy groups. Participants were from 8 countries: Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, China and the Czech Republic.

The participants found the school visits and information sessions very helpful and appreciated the hospitality and insights shared by their hosts.

One participant wrote:

This study tour was a great opportunity to see the inclusive education in practice. It is a big eye-opener when you have a chance to see the theory becoming reality. To see how policies and practices come together in everyday life in the best interest of each child was truly overwhelming. In every school, we could feel the team spirit of teachers and other staff to make inclusion work.

Inclusive Education Canada is an initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living, the national member of Inclusion International. It promotes inclusive education in Canada through information sharing, training and collaboration with educators and family organizations. More information is available on the IEC website – www.inclusiveeducation.ca

Feedback

The feedback for the study tour on Inclusive education in New Brunswick,
October 5 – 10, 2015 Inclusive Education Canada and Inclusive International

This study tour was a great opportunity to see the inclusive education in practice. It is a big eye-opener when you have a chance to see the theory becoming reality. To see how policies and practices come together in everyday life in the best interest of each child was truly overwhelming. In every school, we could feel the team spirit of teachers and other staff to make inclusion work. The tour was organized so well that we had an opportunity to meet and to speak with every stakeholder in the system: we spoke to students, to teachers, to support teachers, to principals, to regional school administrators, to agency workers and parents. The belief in the moral of inclusion has been persuasive and contagious. I found it very authentic and empowering to here all of the voices who participate in the inclusive system sounding as one voice. I personally visited six schools and saw classes in progress. I appreciate that in discussions afterwards, we were able to get down to details of everyday teacher´s life and how to make inclusion work in the schools and we received a lot of handouts and practical material. I learned not only that inclusion is possible but also the specific ways hot to achieve it in the system and in school.

Professionals from schools and from the district described how the system works today in practice; how the inclusion is framed by policies and agencies. The extra added value was the long time experience and professional insight of our trainer on the spot Gordon Porter, who was able to immerse us into the historical context of transition from segregated education into the inclusive education in NB.

Last but not least, it is important to thank the organizers for treating us not only like professionals but also like people and making slots in the schedule to show us the beauty of color changing leaves of New England and let us explore the local heritage of New Brunswick. Inez and Gordon, good job and thank you!

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