The theory says that schools should tackle inequalities and provide all learners with the key competencies they need to flourish. In practice, school leaders are often burdened by managerial duties and administrative tasks, and lack the time to access the multifaceted training that their increasingly complex role requires.
However, making schools more inclusive remains a priority for all educational systems. This requires school leaders to be able to set a strategic vision and face resistance to change in the school community by attending to human, pedagogical, and organizational development.
This course will help school leaders acquire the strategic managerial tools necessary to promote inclusion in their schools for the benefit of the whole community. Accordingly, the course is particularly indicated for school principals and deputies, who want to increase the capacity of their whole staff to bring inclusion in the school’s everyday life.
Supported by the facilitator, participants will review fundamental research, and discuss with fellow colleagues the findings of the Supporting Inclusive School Leadership Project. The project builds on work by the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education and aims to develop and promote inclusive schools.
Participants will also analyze a variety of case studies to find out paradigms and strategies (e.g., the Low Arousal Approach) on how to shape an emotionally caring environment in their schools to support both the learners and the staff in adopting behavior that promotes inclusion at all levels.
Participants will also discuss the roles and responsibilities of school leaders in shaping an inclusive environment in their schools. Accordingly, they will realize how three approaches to leadership can help school leaders support the whole school system to change and adapt:
- Transformational leadership aims at empowering and motivating individuals to grow personally in order to achieve exceptional performance and realize significant long-term results for the greater good of the group or organization.
- Distributed leadership (also known as “shared” or “collective” leadership), recognizes that leadership can emerge from anyone who possesses the necessary knowledge, skills, and expertise. Accordingly, it shares authority, decision-making, and responsibility across a broader network of individuals within an organization or a team.
- Instructional leadership, which focuses on improving instructional strategies, curriculum design, assessment practices, and professional development initiatives to enhance the quality of the teaching and learning environment.
Finally, course participants will refer to all the tools acquired during the course to assess the degree of inclusivity of their school, and define a concrete plan to improve it.
By the end of the course, participants will be empowered in their role as leaders and promoters of inclusive education. Through practical activities, they will have gained fundamental tools to transform their school community and make them really inclusive.
The course will help the participants to:
- Focus on the core functions of inclusive school leaders;
- Monitor classroom practice assuring high-quality inclusive education for all;
- Shape school spaces to increase inclusion;
- Motivate and support teachers for a strength-based education;
- Develop a culture of collaboration in their school;
- Assess how much their school is inclusive;
- Plan specific steps to increase inclusion in education.
Day 1 – First steps in inclusive education
- Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
- Icebreaker activities;
- Why learners’ variability matters;
- Inclusive education as a flexible system.
Day 2 – The ecosystem of inclusive education
- The Project Supporting Inclusive School Leadership;
- School leadership as a crucial factor for inclusive education;
- Roles and responsibilities of inclusive school leaders.
Day 3 – Shaping school spaces to monitor and support inclusive education
- Creating an emotionally caring school environment for learners and teachers;
- Supporting teachers in implementing best practices for inclusion;
- The Low Arousal Approach.
Day 4 – Inclusive school leadership
- Transformational leadership;
- Distributed leadership;
- Instructional leadership.
Day 5 – Take action and plan the future
- Assess your school’s rate of inclusion;
- Plan your vision;
- Creating an action plan for inclusive education.
Day 6 – Course closure and cultural activities
- Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
- Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance;
- Excursion and other external cultural activities.