Beyond Inclusion: The Science Behind Belonging
Inclusion isn't really what we should be working towards! Although we have made significant strides towards inclusion over the past 30 years, it isn't all that we had hoped for. For example, you can be “included” in a classroom and still feel isolated and alone; you can be “included” on a team and still never have an opportunity to play the game; you can be “included” in a school community but still be treated as an outsider. We all want more than this: we want to contribute and be seen as an integral part of the group. What we really want is to “belong.” In this presentation, we will explore the social science of belonging and the measurable social and health outcomes of belonging. This presentation will explore how we can use this emerging scientific evidence to move beyond inclusion toward creating classrooms and communities where people actually belong.
Dr. Matthew Wappett is a researcher, a writer, and an educator in leadership, stress management, and inclusion. His approach to “compassionate leadership” has been implemented in many organizations and classrooms. Dr. Wappett is the Executive Director of the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. His teaching and research on the effects of stress on learning and behavior helps individuals and organizations understand how to become more resilient and inclusive. Dr. Wappett is committed to providing educators, social workers, and other human service professionals with the tools they need to manage their stress, and the skills they need to become more resilient. He is committed to creating inclusive environments that foster a sense of purpose and belonging.