Teachers' exec fears inclusion may be hurting some students
In recent years, public schools have adopted a policy of inclusion, a practice that encourages students of varying abilities and differences to study together.
While some applaud the philosophy, it’s not without its critics. The outgoing president of the New Brunswick Teachers Association fears including some students may be costing others.
“We do have some schools that…have some students that, their behavior would affect the learning of others,” says Heather Smith.
Smith isn’t knocking inclusion altogether, but she says it may need tweaking. She says a recent and renewed focus on inclusion by the provincial government may be hurting other students.
She says while resources have been added, there is still a need for more support.
“It goes beyond even the education system. We have to work at developing partnerships with mental health, with social development, with probations and public safety,” she says. “With other community groups who can support those students who have high needs.”
New Brunswick Education Minister Jody Carr says inclusion is about every student reaching his or her full potential, regardless of their differences, and that the province is excelling at it.
“New Brunswick is a world leader,” he says. “In fact, we have visitors from Denmark visiting our schools that are meeting the needs of diverse populations of the 21st century, in an inclusive way.”
Smith says the introduction of an education plan could go a long way to help the situation.
“I’m not saying it’s going to change what teachers are doing but at least they know why they’re doing it,” she says.
Carr says a draft education plan has been presented to the New Brunswick Teachers Association and should be in place before the start of the next school year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell