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One Without the Other

Stories of Unity Through Diversity and Inclusion

By Shelley Moore
Foreword by Leyton Schnellert
Series: Reimagining Inclusion: The ONE Series
Imprint: Portage & Main Press

Categories: Education, Inclusive Education, Professional Development, General
Paperback : 9781553796589, 90 pages, July 2016
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781553796992, 90 pages, February 2017
Ebook (Mobi) : 9781553797005, 90 pages, February 2017
Audiobook : 9781553799160, April 2021



What Is Inclusion?

Debunking the Myths

You may be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t believe in inclusion and the values of diversity on some level. Plus, it is pretty hard to avoid. Ken Robinson (2009) said it best: “The only thing students have in common is the year of their birth!” The individuals of the world are not packaged into neat little packages of people organized by age or ability, gender, or language (although I suppose there are some who would like to try!). Can you imagine if, when we walked into a grocery store, access to checkout tills were determined by these labels? It would be an absurd idea in every place in society, except in the classrooms of our schools. This unnatural arrangement is where the practical aspects of inclusion get messy, definitions of the concept start to get fuzzy, and our practices become a mismatch to our beliefs about what inclusion means in the world outside our classroom doors. It doesn’t take long to notice how frequently we all, even if in the same school or community, understand inclusion differently.

Early in my career, I realized this discrepancy, and it caused tensions in my quest to understand inclusion in both philosophical and practical terms. My first question was: If we are to believe in and try to move forward in our inclusive practice as educators, don’t we all need to have a common understanding of what it means? The unfortunate reality, however, is that the term inclusion has become contaminated (Thomas and Loxley 2007). A once-powerful word that drove equal access campaigns for students of different abilities, strengths, and challenges, the term inclusion has instead come to be associated with lack of funding, time, and supports – a political playing card that has turned our most vulnerable learners into a burden, defined by ratios and deficits. Further tension emerges when trying to create a consensus of how to enact practices of inclusion across districts, schools, and classrooms, leaving both teachers and students feeling like they are being shuffled around a building without the supports, resources, and understanding behind the inclusive rationale. The reality, however, is that there is no answer. There is no one way of being inclusive. Addressing diversity can be achieved in many ways, depending on the history, experience, knowledge, and philosophies of the stakeholders involved. Somewhere along this quest, however, answers have collided, and where once stood a common philosophy bringing educators together, myths and assumptions have formed about the practicalities of inclusive education that divide staff, parents, and students alike.

Reclaiming the word and concept of inclusive education and calibrating our definitions among teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and students was the beginning of my inclusive journey, and so, I thought, what a perfect place to begin this text. What is inclusion – both philosophically and practically? And how can we align these definitions so that our practices better match our beliefs as individuals, schools, and communities of natural diversity? Part of this reclamation is to simply debunk some of the myths driving the education silos, but also to start to reconstruct the practical realities of inclusive education.

In the following chapters, I attempt to describe these practical implications of inclusive education to help situate the rest of this text and to connect our values of inclusion to our everyday practices.

Table of contents

Foreword v

Introduction 1

Part 1: What Is Inclusion? Debunking the Myths 7

1 Inclusion Is Not Just About Students with Special Needs 9

2 Inclusion Is Not Integration 12

3 Inclusion Is Not a Place and Time 18

4 Inclusion Is Not a Destination 24

Part 2: What Is Inclusion? Telling the Stories 31

5 Inclusion Is Presuming Competence: Under the Table 33

6 Inclusion Is Putting People First: A Gay Danish?! 35

7 Inclusion Is Diversity: A Composition 42

8 Inclusion Is Critical: The Split 48

9 Inclusion Is Learning from Each Other: The “Other” Kids 53

10 Inclusion Is Collaborative: The Bears 59

11 Inclusion Is Multiple and Diverse Perspectives: My Bully 66

12 Inclusion Is Leaving No One Behind: The Sweeper Van 79

Acknowledgments 86

References 88


In this bestseller, Shelley Moore explores the changing landscape of inclusive education. Presented through real stories from her own classroom experience, this passionate and creative educator tackles such things as inclusion as a philosophy and practice, the difference between integration and inclusion, and how inclusion can work with a variety of students and abilities. Explorations of differentiation, the role of special education teachers and others, and universal design for learning all illustrate the evolving discussion on special education and teaching to all learners. This book will be of interest to all educators, from special ed teachers, educational assistants and resource teachers, to classroom teachers, administrators, and superintendents.


Shelley Moore is a gifted storyteller. Her willingness to be vulnerable and share the moments in which she has experienced inclusion and exclusion, power and need, allow all of us to see the connection between our own lives and the experiences of our students. Shelley is passionate and inspirational – she will cause you to think, to cry, to laugh, and to dream.

Jennifer Katz, author of the Teaching to Diversity series

This book is a must-read for all teachers, educational assistants, administrators…well basically anyone who works with and for children. I love Shelley Moore for so many reasons: she is Canadian (and from my hometown!), she is by far the most engaging speaker I have had the pleasure of seeing (5 times and counting…), but most of all, she explains inclusion, and how to do it, in a way that makes everyone want to be a better teacher. [Her book] is a quick and easy read, with tons of humour and analogies that help you remember the important information.

Sarah Holmgren, Learning Leader Blog

Shelley’s voice will move you from raucous laughter to tears in a heartbeat. ..Her inclusive vision, honouring the potential and promise of each person, each strengthened within an interconnected community, becomes our North Star. One Without the Other challenges each of us to value diversity and move beyond inclusive platitudes to action.

Faye Brownlie, co-author of the It's All About Thinking series

Every teacher should read this book. Shelley Moore's narrative flows like she's sitting in the room with you relating her stories. The book is a quick, easy read and a wonderful introduction to inclusion. Moore's message is one that all educators should carry with them. .. kids come first, everything else is secondary.