20 SES 08, Young People with Special Needs and Transitions and Subject Teachers' Response to Diverse Students and Index for Inclusion
Inclusive education is an on-going act directed towards quality education for all. Issues around the terminology are challenging, but the description of inclusive education from UNESCO is as follows: “it is an on-going process aimed at offering quality education for all while respecting diversity and the different needs and abilities, characteristics and learning expectations of the students and communities, eliminating all forms of discrimination” (UNESCO-IBE 2008, p. 3).
Inclusive education builds on vision and hope for better school for all and the dimensions are human rights, justice, and respect for differences, democracy and active participation of all students in the public school system. The goal is to reduce segregation that excludes minority groups or groups people by gender, social class, disability, nationality, family background, or learning abilities (Ainscow, 2007). Participation, community and equality are the leading light for decision-making on teaching (Artiles, Kozleski, & Waitoller, 2011; Booth, Nes & Strömstad, 2003; Loreman, Deppeler & Harvey, 2005; Salend, 2001). Integration and accessibility at school is not enough, inclusive schooling means that all students have opportunities to receive education that matters in their lives. Inclusive education develops in an environment that offers common learning community and equivalent opportunities aimed at learning for all students, social participation and personal development (UNESCO, 2008). Thus, a holistic vision of students is presumed, with the notion that each individual is unique and everyone is given an opportunity to bloom in a flexible and various learning space (UNESCO, 2008).
Inclusive schooling presumes that everyone has equal rights and equivalent opportunities to learn. The fundamental theoretical foundation in Icelandic school community involves inclusion, accessibility and the participation of all students in the school environment. Diversity and different needs, students’ abilities and other characteristics are respected and every kind of discrimination and exclusion in schools is eliminated (Icelandic National Curriculum, 2011).
Diverse groups of students call for changes and development in teachers’ work and classroom practices (Day & Gu, 2010). It is important to build the teaching on each individual as well as the whole group (Guðjónsdóttir, 2000; Moen, 2008). The interplay between students and the society is important and the students need to acquire jointly experience that gives them satisfaction. Teaching that is carefully planned and conducted were students can improve their learning is what matters most of all (Arthur, Gordon & Butterfield, 2003; Idol, 2006). It is in the hands of teachers to change and develop pedagogy, curriculum and assessment in a way that it benefits all students. Research has identified team teaching, cooperative learning, and problem solving teams as ways that can support education for all. It is critical that classrooms are diverse but it is equally important that teaching methods and strategies are too (Meijer, 2003, 2005). By drawing on students resources as teachers plan their teaching and provide scaffolding for students, it is possible to include everyone in the general classroom. However it is not only the classroom teacher who needs to be aware of the diversity in the student group, subject teachers need to be aware of that also. As they plan their subject teaching they must take into account that students learn in different ways.
The goal of this research was learn how teachers organize their subject teaching in diverse and inclusive classrooms and to collect examples of innovative teaching. The question that leads the research was: How are teachers responding to diverse students in their subject teaching?
References: Ainscow, M. (2007). Forword. In P. Bartolo (eds.), Responding to student diversity: Teacher handbook. Malta: Faculty of Education, University of Malta. Arthur, M., Gordon, C. og Butterfield, N. (2003). Classroom management: Creating positive learning environments (3. útgáfa). Melbourne: Thomson. Artiles, A., Kozleski, E. og Waitoller, F. (eds). (2011). Inclusive education. Cambridge: Harward Education Press. Booth, T., Nes, K. og Stromstad, M. (eds). (2003). Developing inclusive teacher Education. London: Routledge/Falmer. Day, C. & Gu, Q. (2010). The new lives of teachers. London: Routledge. Guðjónsdóttir, H. (2000). Responsive professional practice: Teachers analyze the theoretical and ethical dimension of their work in diverse classrooms. Doctoral theses: University of Oregon. Idol, L. (2006). Towards inclusion of special education students in general education: A program evaluation of eight schools. Remedial and Special Education, 27(2), 77–94. Loreman, T., Deppeler, J., og Harvey, D. (2005). Inclusive education: A practical guide to supporting diversity in the classroom. Crows Nest: Allen og Unwin. Meijer, C. (2003). Inclusive Education and Classroom Practices. Middelfart: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. Meijer, C. (2005). Inclusive education and classroom practice in secondary schools (11 to 14 years). Middelfart: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. Ministry of education and culture. (2011). Icelandic national curriculum. Reykjavik: Author. Moen, T. (2008) Inclusive education practice: Results of an empirical study. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(1), 59–75. Salend, S. J. (2001). Creating inclusive classrooms: Effective and reflective practices. 4th edition, Upper Saddler River: Merrill Prentice Hall. UNESCO. (2008). Education. Retrived from http://www.unesco.org/en/inclusive-education/ UNESCO-IBE. (2008). Conclusions and recommendations of the 48th session of the internatioal conference on education (ED/BIE/CONFINTED 48/5) Geneva: Wolcott, H. F. (2005). The art of fieldwork (second edition). Walnut Creek: Altamira Press.
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