Alberta Teachers' Association logo in colour, all one line.
Resources Menu



A female teacher with a group of diverse students.


The Alberta Teacher Quality Standard Competency 4, Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments, affirms that a teacher establishes, promotes and sustains inclusive learning environments where diversity is embraced and every student is welcomed, cared for, respected and safe. The Association Council for Inclusive Education provides further information, research, resources and professional learning activities for its members! Consider joining!

Definitions of Inclusion

Below are definitions and principles of inclusion as defined by Alberta Education. The emphasis is on understanding and valuing the needs of all learners and removing barriers to learning.

Alberta Education defines inclusion as “a way of thinking and acting that demonstrates universal acceptance and promotes a sense of belonging for all learners in Alberta … It is an attitude and approach that embraces diversity and learner differences and promotes equal opportunities for all learners in Alberta. Alberta’s education system is built on a value-based approach to accepting responsibility for all children and students.” (

An inclusive learning environment as defined by Alberta Education “means a classroom, school, on-line learning environment or other educational setting structured to anticipate, value and respond to the diverse strengths and needs of all learners.” (TQS, p 3)

To support children and students in attaining the goals as stated in the Ministerial Order on Student Learning, school authorities must ensure that all children and students (kindergarten to Grade 12), regardless of race, religious belief, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, family status or sexual orientation, or any other factor(s), have access to meaningful and relevant learning experiences that include appropriate instructional supports.” (2015–16 Guide to Education: ECS to Grade 12, p 25)

Principles of inclusive education
  • anticipate, value and support diversity and learner differences
  • have high expectations for all learners
  • understand learners’ strengths and needs
  • remove barriers within learning environments
  • build capacity
  • collaborate for success
Association Upholding Inclusive Learning Environments Principles and Beliefs

The Association believes that, within an inclusive learning system, diversity is viewed as an asset. A school and a classroom are a reflection of society. Students learn to appreciate differences as they contribute to richer learning opportunities. Inclusive education acknowledges those common threads that bind us together. Each learner is its own thread, woven in concert with their peers, forming the communities of our classrooms.

In May 2013, the Association established the Blue Ribbon Panel on Inclusive Education in Alberta Schools which, based on in-depth research, meetings and panel discussions, resulted in 38 recommendations to education stakeholders across Alberta, outlined in the Report of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Inclusive Education in Alberta Schools (2014). Two further publications followed: Inclusive Education in Alberta: Getting it Right (2015)  and The State of Inclusion in Alberta Schools (2015).

Today, inclusion implementation remains a complex, evolving and elusive goal. Although the Blue Ribbon Panel conclusions revealed many gaps in the implementation of inclusive education in Alberta, pockets of success were identified. However, as highlighted in the report, there continues to be a need for comprehensive implementation plans and action at the provincial, jurisdictional and school levels, as well as the need for shared vision, leadership, research and evidence, teacher professional growth, time and community engagement.

The Council for Inclusive Education

As one of 21 Association specialist councils, the Council for Inclusive Education (CIE) is committed to supporting and leading all teachers in building inclusive practices, learning environments and communities.

This council provides teachers with increased knowledge and understanding of students with diverse needs through professional development, communication and policy. Recent publications include Establishing Inclusive Learning Environments (2020). For further resources to develop your professional capacity in this area see, see the resources at this link: (put link here to C).