Inclusive Mindsets and Behaviors: A Framework for Defining, Understanding, Teaching, and Fostering Inclusion


Authored by Special Olympics chairman Dr. Tim Shriver, Harvard professor Dr. Stephanie Jones, and Special Olympics Chief Global Youth & Education Dr. Jacqueline Jodl, the brief addresses one of the most challenging issues faced by the education community. How do we define inclusion? And how do we teach it?

Released on International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (6 April 2023), the brief is the first in a series that introduces Inclusive Mindsets as a framework for defining, understanding, teaching, and fostering inclusionGiven the potential for impact, not only in education and sports settings but also in a broader set of contexts, Special Olympics and the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education partnered to develop an explicit framework for inclusive mindsets and behaviors that defines the core values, knowledge, skills, and actions that both enable and drive young people to include others, even when it is uncomfortable to do so.

The emerging research revealed that the core elements of such a mindset are universal and teachable. An inclusive mindset motivates people to reach out to others because it equips them with the skills, beliefs, and behaviors that make being inclusive achievable and rewarding. Most important, an inclusive mindset goes beyond how one thinks and feels to empowering the individual to risk their own social standing to be an upstander for others, even though such behavior might lead to stigma or social ridicule.

This framework provides a foundation for the next phase of our partnership, which is intentionally infusing inclusive mindsets and behaviors across Special Olympics programming. 

Download the Brief

Key Area
Disability Inclusion


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