New book captures critical voices on special education – TRU Newsroom
Kim Calder Stegemann and Nan Stevens’s new book, The Journey from Institution to Inclusion: The History of Special Education for Children with Differing Abilities in the Kamloops-Thompson Region 1800-2021, takes an important look at how the education of students with diverse abilities has evolved over time — from institutionalization to an education system that meets kids’ diverse learning needs.
Impetus for the book
“The grain of an idea started about three years ago,” says Calder Stegemann, TRU professor emerita. “Associate Professor Nan Stevens, my colleague at the time, and I were in the School of Education, and we were both involved in special education and presenting and writing papers about inclusion. At the time there was a really strong push for the full inclusion movement, which is the placement of every student with a disability or diverse ability in a general education classroom. While inclusive education is important, it might not work for all students, all the time.”
While the full inclusion movement was gaining ground, school districts across Canada were also closing their resource rooms: designated spaces where a special education program could be delivered to a student with a diverse ability, either individually or in a small group.
“Nan and I have been in classrooms, so we know what the realities are. One size doesn’t fit all,” says Calder Stegemann. “We also both have personal experience with kids with diverse abilities, so we felt that alternative methods of education need to be available for students who struggle in general classroom settings.”
Despite decreased budgets, several schools in the Kamloops-Thompson School District continued to provide resource rooms, preserving the levels of service needed for students with special needs.
“Our district was one of the only school districts to retain resource rooms where students with severe impairments or behaviours were able to learn in an environment more suitable for their needs,” says Calder Stegemann. “So, we thought we’d do a book that looks at the history of special education right across our area, to culminate with what is still happening now in our district. We wanted to be able to highlight or showcase how unique our district is.”
To gain perspective on people’s experiences in special education, TRU alum Lena Stengel interviewed local members of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association, school administrators, teachers, educators, teaching assistants, parents and students. Stengel was awarded an Undergraduate Research Experience Award program scholarship in 2019 to work on the project.
“We’re really grateful for Lena’s work,” says Calder Stegemann. “It’s labour intensive to interview people, but we felt really strongly we wanted those voices in our chapters. We’ve included the list of contributors in every chapter so the people who were interviewed, even if their quotes didn’t make it into the text, were listed along with their role.”
Unfortunately, due to the challenges caused by COVID-19 and other unforeseen circumstances, the writing team wasn’t able to speak with Secwépemc community members about special education.
“We wanted to include an Indigenous perspective, because we strongly wanted to know how special needs, or individuals with different abilities, are dealt with in Indigenous communities,” says Calder Stegemann. “We hired Indigenous students from TRU to interview Elders and other community members, but unfortunately we couldn’t get that perspective.”
Instead, SD63 District Principal of Aboriginal Education Mike Bowden provides some insight in the book’s foreword.
“Mike talks a little bit about some of the challenges and issues around special education in Indigenous communities, but our hope is that at some point the Secwépemc community will tell their own story,” says Calder Stegemann.
The book is available at the TRU Bookstore.
Thu, May 19, 2022 at 12:37 pm - David Suzuki posted on their blog: Will Canada finally stem rising aviation emissions in 2022?
Tue, May 17, 2022 at 9:00 am - Doug Smith posted on their blog: Wandering on Dewdrop Ridge – Kamloops Trails
Sun, May 15, 2022 at 8:00 am - Doug Smith posted on their blog: Six Mile Thrice – Kamloops Trails
Sat, May 14, 2022 at 6:10 pm - Bill Sundhu posted on their blog: There is no Peace without Justice! »
Thu, May 12, 2022 at 10:13 am - David Suzuki posted on their blog: Green living is good for you — and the planet
Tue, May 10, 2022 at 7:45 am - Doug Smith posted on their blog: Early Hiking in the Frederick Bluffs
Sat, May 7, 2022 at 9:00 am - Doug Smith posted on their blog: Up the NE Mara Route
Thu, May 5, 2022 at 11:18 am - David Suzuki posted on their blog: Suppressed science shows fish farms endanger wild salmon
Tue, May 3, 2022 at 9:00 am - Doug Smith posted on their blog: A Moderate Hike on the Uplands Trails
Sat Apr 23 to Sat Jun 18 Sailing Pretty Close to the Wind
Sat May 7 to Sat May 21 Barb’s Used Book & Music Sale
Thu May 12 to Sat May 28 WCT: The Wizard of Oz
Thu May 12 to Sat May 28 The Wizard of Oz
Tue May 17 Tuesday Night Trivia at Carlos O’Bryan’s
Wed May 18 Wednesday Night Trivia at Fox’N Hounds Pub
Thu May 19 Thursday Night Trivia at Tumbleweeds Pub
Thu May 19 Thursday Night Trivia at Rick’n Firkin Pub
Fri May 20 to Sat May 21 Paule Kype & Texas Flood
Fri May 20 Eric Johnston Run With The Bull Comedy Tour
Fri May 20 Film: The Last Tourist
Fri May 20 Film: Bootlegger
Fri May 20 The Olivia Show: A Tribute to Olivia Newton-John
Sat May 21 Eamon McGrath and his Electric Band with St.Arnaud