Inclusive education rose in the 1990 s. It advocates accommodating all students, opposing discrimination and exclusion, promoting active participation and meeting different needs (Salvia et al.
, 2012). It is an educational idea without exclusion, discrimination, and classification. Inclusive education is a new educational idea put forward at the World Congress on Special Needs Education, held in Salamanca, Spain, on June 10, 1994 (Mittler, 2012). Since then, inclusive education has become a hot issue, which has aroused the attention of society and spread rapidly, becoming an essential thought of education for all. The central element of inclusive education is that education should meet the needs of all children, whether they are physically deficient or from vulnerable groups and marginalized groups.
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Every general education school should receive all children in the service area and provide them with all the resources to enable them to participate in education for all. In other words, regular schools should not only serve normal healthy children but reject special children. In order to better implement inclusive education, according to Ainscow and Fong’s articles, it can be seen that in the process of implementing inclusive education, the principal and leadership are the keys to the success of inclusive education.By reading these two articles, it can be found that although the overall viewpoint of these two articles was aimed at discussing the vital role of principal and leadership in inclusive education, there were some differences in content and perspective. Firstly, from the content of the article, in the Fong’s article, the author was more inclined to face the challenges faced by the principal when implementing inclusive education. By interviewing ten school principals who were very experienced practitioners, the article found out the difficulties and measures faced by the implementation of inclusive education and how to solve it — for example, dictatorial decision-making and employee participation.
The article mentioned that 80% of principals decided to carry out inclusive education without consulting the teachers, but the teachers were not prepared to accept the change, including the teachers’ attitude, values, and teaching ability. Conversely, in Ainscow’s article, the author focused on the relationship between culture, leadership, and inclusive education. In this article, the author mentioned that culture will affect the development of principals’ leadership, and principals’ decisions will affect the implementation of inclusive education. The author believed that inclusive education cannot be separate from its developing environment, and it also cannot be divorced from its developed social relationship. Inclusive culture and environment meant the reformation and promotion of tolerance. In other words, Ainscow believed that the principal as the bridge for cooperation between schools and community and the key to integrating students and teachers into an inclusive environment of the school.
Through these references and data, it can be seen that the two authors discussed the significance of the principal and leadership in promoting inclusive education from different contents and aspects, so that readers can think more deeply about the role of the principal and how to use effectively the functions and powers to guide teachers and help special children enter regular schools.On the other hand, the perspectives of the two articles were also different. The scope of Fong’s article was very limited because the author refers explicitly to Hong Kong. The author mentioned that inclusive education was introduced in Hong Kong in 1997, the reform that affects teachers and teachers’ performance directly affects students’ performance. Therefore, the author believed that Hong Kong is more suitable for applying transformational leadership to inclusive education. According to the characteristics of transformational leadership, the principal changed the teacher’s belief and consciousness by communicating and establishing the common goals with the teacher.
At the same time, principals provided teachers with opportunities for professional development and work together with teachers, which will enable teachers to have more confidences and actively cooperate with the principal’s work, thus providing students with better opportunities for inclusive education. However, Ainscow’s article showed that the author was discussing the role of leadership in inclusive education from the global perspective. The author held that inclusive education is not only a new educational concept but also a kind of international diversity support and human rights reform.
The author thought that from an international perspective, distributed leadership should apply to inclusive education. When distributed leadership was applied in inclusive education, it meant an emphasis on leadership practices than on leadership power and rights. In other words, the task of the principal was not to directly improve classroom teaching and student performance but to establish goals, foster common beliefs, and develop shared values, by distributing the tasks of teachers and managers throughout the team so that can improve classroom teaching and student performance. Although the two authors had different perspectives and ideas, the characteristics of transformational leadership and distributed leadership were very closely related. The authors’ purposes were to demonstrate the important role of leadership in inclusive education.Although the angles and contents of the two articles were different, the authors’ views and beliefs were the same.
The similarity of the articles was that both authors pointed out that the principal and leadership were the most important factors. The authors agreed that every child is the special individual and every child needs inclusive education. In other words, inclusive education is no longer a patent for disabled children, but a manifestation of a fair view of education. Besides, the authors believed that society needed to pay more attention to inclusive education, cooperate with the media, and promote people’s understanding and support of inclusive education.