04 SES 11 A, How do Teachers do Inclusive Education? Different Perspectives
Italy has been broadly recognised to be a leader in Europe and all over the world for its inclusive school system (Kanter et al. 2014). Having the highest percentage of student with disabilities attending regular schools (OECD 2004, Santi 2014, Ianes et al. 2014, Anastasiou et al. 2015) the Italian school system is regulated by laws and norms that support the right to education of every student, independently from any disadvantage, i.e. disabilities, cultural difference, socio-economic. The history of integrazione scolastica (school integration) started in the early ‘70ies and is now facing the challenge of change towards inclusion, requiring support from research on this issue. Although teachers' attitudes towards inclusion have been largely investigated (Avradimis & Norwich 2002), Italy counts a lack of studies on this topic, therefore, research on inclusive attitudes needs to be increased within the Italian background, where the concept of inclusion is still mainly related with disability and special education (Camedda 2015). Literature shows that, despite the experience of inclusive good practice during almost 40 years of integrazione scolastica, there is a perpetuation of micro-exclusion (D’Alessio 2012) of some students in the Italian school settings. The investigation proposed focuses on teachers’ inclusive attitudes, exploring their understanding of inclusion in education. Specifically, this study aims to identify the relations between inclusive values and practice adopting a critical approach, in order to find significant elements involved in the traditional ‘inclusive’ Italian school system and the perpetuation of intra-exclusion of some students. The research questions are:
- how teachers understand inclusion?
- which are the significant relations between values, teacher education and teaching practice in developing inclusive attitudes?
- which are the elements that promote or impede the passage from attitudes to practice?
Underpinning a theoretical framework connected to the concept of inclusion and the Education for all movement (UNESCO, 2000), Index for Inclusion (Booth & Ainscow, 2011) and Inclusive Pedagogy (Spratt & Florian, 2013), the main questions of the research are focused on critical elements involved into the development of inclusive attitudes, exploring the relationship between values, teacher education and practice (Forlin et al., 2011). The concept of inclusion is thus interpreted as a right-based process in order to guarantee a basic quality lifelong education for all the people, independently from any individual, social or economical disadvantage (i.e. disability, cultural diversity, socio-economic status). Reducing and eliminating barriers to participation is a key principle for an inclusive teaching approach (Santi & Ghedin, 2012), as well as putting inclusive values into action against every kind of exclusion within the classroom or within the school (Booth and Ainscow, 2011).
The inclusive pedagogy approach (Florian & Black-Hawkins, 2010), remarked in this study, focuses on the important role of the teachers that could be inclusive in their classroom using a vary range of strategies in response to the students’ difference. To do this, teachers have to adopt and develop, during their education, inclusive attitudes based on the respect of diversity as a natural human beings features (Florian & Linklater, 2010). In Italy, the idea of inclusive education is often translated into differentiation for some students that can’t follow the main lesson; the inclusive pedagogy’s perspective considers that approach not really inclusive but still belonging to a special education style. Inclusive pedagogy’s perspective proposes a wider meaning of inclusion that is not only related to include students with disability in a regular school system (special education), but concerns the response to every kind of differences of the students avoiding to mark or label the single student because of his/her diversity.
Furthermore, the research here presented aims to study the inclusive attitudes of teachers through the guide of six aspects of understanding, developed within the backward design model (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005).
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