Shaping Perspectives on the “Culture of Disability”: Lessons from an Australian Online Role Play

Christine H. Kilham (University of Canberra, Australia)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 140
EISBN13: 9781609606817|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-989-7.ch006
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Reflecting a more inclusive ethos, teachers in Westernized countries today work with students with diverse needs. Mainstream classrooms may include students with a range of disabilities and/or those from disadvantaged backgrounds including single parent families, rural/remote locations, and lower socio-economic status. How might pre-service teachers be encouraged to see the potential of these students, rather than categorizing them unidimensionally as problems to be solved, or cases to refer? This case study investigated how an online role play could assist Australian pre-service teachers to adopt the perspectives of different stakeholders and develop a more holistic approach. The role play took a constructivist approach to learning and encouraged participants to apply legislative frameworks, work with students’ strengths, and devise solutions to scenarios where there was no single, correct answer. Exposure to multiple viewpoints through the role play helped participants to develop inclusive strategies, rather than marginalizing pupils with additional needs into a special education “culture of deficit”.
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