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(Dis)ability in the Elementary School Classroom: Embracing an Inclusive Mindset

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Social Justice Instruction

Abstract

Children can learn about diversity and disability by harnessing their natural curiosity. They can become agents of change for the adults who surround them. We must go beyond accessibility and move into an inclusive mentality. Teachers need an inclusive mindset that shapes how they approach all students in the classroom. Thinking about learners rather than impairments is where Universal Design for Learning (UDL) plays a pivotal role in making classrooms more accessible to all. We can teach our students about ableism and ways of viewing the world through the lens of another. Teachers must ensure that the classroom library is representative of all students in the classroom and beyond. Literature has the unique ability to build empathy and nurture social acceptance by allowing students to imagine themselves in the shoes of the character in the story. A teacher can transform their classroom by shifting to an inclusive mindset, helping students develop deep and meaningful relationships with diverse students, implementing UDL effectively, and creating a classroom community where curiosity is encouraged. All students will develop deeper relationships with one another, become empathetic and appreciative of diversity, and will become agents of social change in their communities.

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Correspondence to Danielle M. Eadens .

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© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

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Eadens, D.M., Eadens, D.W. (2016). (Dis)ability in the Elementary School Classroom: Embracing an Inclusive Mindset. In: Papa, R., Eadens, D., Eadens, D. (eds) Social Justice Instruction. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12349-3_22

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12349-3_22

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-12348-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-12349-3

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