ERG SES E 13, Inclusive Education
Inclusive education is a way of guaranteeing equal access to education. Schools with inclusive practice respond to the demand for respecting diversity as an essential part of democracy (Halprin 1999). It supports social cohesion and leads to higher equity. Inclusion in school means the participation of all children and adults regardless of their social status, gender identity, culture, faith and religion. Inclusive education helps students to reach their maximum potential. An inclusive system allows all the children from a local zone to meet in one school and learn in a common environment respecting their individual differences and needs. Among other factors, teaching practice such as cooperative learning is a key to mainstreaming students with special educational needs into regular classrooms (Slavin). In learning together students of various levels benefit from interaction with their peers. The Index of Inclusion provides a framework for a school overview in three dimensions: school culture, policy and practice (Booth, Ainscow). An inclusive education system is required by Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from 2006.
The topic is highly relevant to the Czech education system which is being criticized for being discriminatory and unequal. (OECD, the European Commission, the European Court of Human Rights). However, there are some examples of schools in the Czech Republic which have developed inclusive practice. The aim of my doctoral thesis is to identify several examples of inclusive compulsory schools and to describe in detail their development and the challenges they faced during the transition process.
My original idea was to select the schools using the Czech version of Index of Inclusion (Tannenbergerova). This tool evaluates a school in 4 dimensions: the school culture, conditions, relations and practice. During the data collection process, I realized that the tool does not comprise any authentic information about the classroom practices. I thus decided to complement it with a standardized classroom observation based on ISSA Teacher Standards.
ISSA Teacher Standards address: individualization, learning environment, family participation, teaching strategies for meaningful learning, planning and assessment, professional development and social inclusion. These Standards also promote and ensure the integration of all domains, a holistic approach and an understanding of the pedagogical process and quality.
The aim of this paper is to answer the question - how we can recognize an inclusive school. The paper examines what makes a school inclusive and which criteria are the most relevant to determine the level of inclusion in a school. What measuring tool we can use to evaluate the level of inclusion and what kind of information we can get by using it.
BALLARD, K. (1995) Inclusion, Paradigms, Power and Participation. In C. Clark, A. Dyson and A. Milward (eds) Towards Inclusive Schools (London: David Fulton). BOOTH, T., AINSCOW M., BLACK-HAWKINS, K., VAUGHAN, M. and SHAW, L. (2000) Index for Inclusion (Bristol: Center for Studies on Inclusive Education). DANIELS, Ellen, STAFFORD Kay. Creating Inclusive Classrooms (Children´s Resources International, Open Society Institute) DANIELS, H., GARNER, P. (2000) Inclusive education: supporting inclusion in Education systems London Kogan Page . DE VAUS, D. A. (2002). Surveys in Social Research. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. HALPRIN, D. (1999) Democracy, Inclusive Schooling and the Politics of Education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, VOL 3, no 3, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. (2010) Sandwell Inclusion Quality Mark (SIQm). West Bromwich: Children and Young People’s Services. SLAVIN, Robert. (1996) Education for All, CRC Press TANNENBERGEROVA, M. (2014) Inclusion in Primary School: Development and verification of the Tool for School Evaluation, Doctoral Thesis, Masaryk University Brno.
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