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Disabled People as Culturally Relevant Teachers

Keywords: minority teachers , marginality , disability , cultural relevance , higher education

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Abstract:

This paper contends that disabled teachers are in such short supply as to be invisible even amongst minority teachers from already vastly marginalised populations. This is not simply because discriminatory practices are embedded within employment policies of educational systems, but deeply held socio-cultural attitudes also prevent disabled people accessing and attaining basic and later, higher levels of academic achievement. The central argument here is a simple one; disabled people as teachers offer a unique knowledge standpoint, challenge the animosity of dominant cultural beliefs around disability as analogous with passivity or non-achieving, and provide a source of resistance, solace and resolution for students they teach. Disabled people as educators enact exemplary pedagogic justice and socially inclusive practice. The aim of this paper is to explore the benefits to students and places of higher education alike of embracing both the person and the role of the teacher with disability as culturally relevant educators.

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