Socially Just, Inclusive School Environments in the United States: Creating Spaces for Dialogue

  • Courtney L. OrzelEmail author
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 29)


High standards and expectations for all students drive current school reform efforts in the United States which target accountability measures and focus on standardized tests, leaving many American students, particularly those who have been traditionally underserved and marginalized, feeling excluded and silenced in school. Thus, it is important for school leaders to look to dialogic relations and democratic practices as a means for educational inclusion. Using research grounded in inclusive leadership practices and principles of social justice, this chapter examines the journey from exclusive, hierarchical structures to inclusive, democratic schools. In particular, the chapter examines the relationship between dialogue and inclusive leadership practices from a school principal’s perspective, including conceptions of an inclusive school, obstacles encountered when creating spaces for dialogue to occur, and strategies used to create democratic, socially just learning communities. The chapter suggests that a relationship between dialogue and inclusive schools exists in schools where the principal views dialogue in an ontological sense and as a way of life and provides practical suggestions for school leaders to intentionally create spaces for necessary dialogue to occur in their schools. The chapter calls upon all educators to rethink such practical application practices in their own school contexts and to have the moral courage to stand up to marginalizing structures and practices in schools in order to meet the needs of all students.


Social Justice School Leader Faculty Meeting Educational Leader Suicide Bomber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ChicagoUrbanaUSA

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