Love is a Classroom: Steps Toward Inclusive Practices with Andrew Goff

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About the Guest(s):

Dr. Andrew Goff was an educator of children with and without disabilities for twelve years before transferring the knowledge and skills he developed as a teacher to his work as a researcher, author, and college professor. He holds a Bachelor’s in child psychology and a Master’s in early childhood education/special education from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He earned his doctorate in leadership for educational equity with an emphasis in early childhood special education from the University of Colorado Denver. 

Episode Summary:

In this enriching episode of the Think Inclusive podcast, host Tim Villegas welcomes Andrew Goff, an advocate for inclusive education and an author who reflects deeply on his transformative experiences in the classroom. Goff reveals his insights on why the classroom should be a place of love and growth for all children, regardless of their abilities. He shares a powerful narrative centered around his experience with a student named Javon, illuminating the challenges and triumphs of creating a nurturing learning environment. The discussion delves into the complexities of advocacy within an often rigid education system and the transition to leadership roles that can influence change. The episode is a testament to the profound impact that educators like Goff have on shaping inclusive schools, delivering poignant reflections that will resonate with teachers, administrators, and advocates alike.


Key Takeaways:

  • Inclusive education benefits all children, those with and without disabilities. Goff underscores the importance of creating a classroom environment where each child is given the opportunity to thrive.
  • Goff’s journey to inclusion involved a shift from viewing specialized support as necessary for some students to seeing inclusion as beneficial for everyone. This was particularly evident in the growth and kindness exhibited by children without disabilities.
  • Leadership plays a crucial role in educational advocacy. Goff discusses his move from classroom teaching to instructing future teachers, emphasizing the value of leadership in fostering inclusion.
  • Goff also talks about the tensions between being an educator and an advocate within a system resistant to change, sharing strategies for advocating for inclusion while navigating professional survival.
  • The episode also highlights the importance of compassion and humanity, advocating for a future where all individuals, particularly children, see each other as equals deserving of respect and friendship.


Love is a Classroom (Book by Andrew Goff):

Inclusive Schooling (Website):


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