04 SES 05 A, Inclusive Pedagogy
Reporting on our research in New Zealand, this paper recognizes that 1. New Zealand frequently "policy borrows" 2. internationally there have been limited forms of research holding sway over what has counted as evidence of effective educational approaches and educational achievement. This paper adds to the critique of narrow approaches to research and evidence, providing examples of possible ways forward for educators working within a range of learning contexts.
As researchers and teachers we wish to consider how ‘thinking like ethnographers’ has enhanced our understandings of teaching and learning within our classrooms. Our ideas have grown and developed from completing project work developing narrative assessment resources in New Zealand (Ministry of Education, 2009) and ethnographic research in schools in New Zealand (Guerin, 2008, 2015). The completion of our theses and academic inquiry has also supported an awareness of the work of previous researchers who have queried the use of an ethnographic lens to conduct teacher inquiry (Mills & Morton, 2013; Wansart, 1995). Within the various tasks we have undertaken we have observed a movement from distinct researcher /teacher roles to a more complex and fluid understanding of ourselves as inquirers drawing on knowledges that support our understandings of teaching and learning with students. This is not to suggest that teachers and researchers are required to blend their skills and knowledges into less distinct roles. However, the current focus on teacher inquiry in the New Zealand education system may provide a platform for the investigation of how an ethnographic lens can support new pedagogical understandings.
Wansart (1995) describes teacher research as knowledge created when teachers seek to discover the stories students reveal about themselves as learners within the range of contexts they inhabit. He draws on the tools and aims of ethnography as he considers the perspectives of participants and the meanings they make of, and give to their lives. These stories can support educators to think about ways of improving educational practice for all learners, and especially those groups that are traditionally disadvantaged within education systems. Our work within classrooms suggests that when we pay attention to students’ narratives it has had a transformative effect on the ways we have made sense of student competence and accomplishment. At the same time we have been able to consider how our instructional practices may change in response to this knowledge. A core aspect of this work has been our need to pay attention to critical incidents in our learning contexts and to recognize them as “opportunities for knowing” (Halquist & Musanti, 2010, p.449).
Our work within the Narrative Assessment for students with special education needs project supported these ideas. Teachers were supported to engage with assessment of student learning through a socio-cultural lens where curriculum was understood as constructed, contextual and interactional (Morton, 2011). This challenged traditional understandings of assessment and student capability. The project required that teacher participants pay attention to the students and what they had done, rather than looking for evidence of pre determined learning. Their stories of learning were shared and reflections of critical incidents were used to rethink constructions of teaching and learning. In this way an ethnographic approach to teaching and learning resulted in a critical reflection of pedagogical understandings. Teachers on the project described the process as “looking through different eyes”.
Within this presentation we recognize that the use of ethnographic ways of working may enhance classroom practices so that educators are supported to recognize ways of knowing in their learning partnerships with students. We suggest the reciprocity between ethnography and critical pedagogy supports future inquiry in classrooms focused on the inclusion of all students.
Ferguson, P. M., Ferguson, D. L. & Taylor, S. J. (Eds.) (1992). Interpreting disability: A qualitative reader. New York, NY, USA: Teachers College Press. Guerin, A. (2008). It’s the small things that count: Making sense of working in a partnership to support the inclusion of a child with autism spectrum disorder. (Unpublished Masters thesis). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ. Guerin, A. (2015). The inside view: Investigating the use of narrative assessment to support student identitiy, wellbeing and participation in learning in a New Zealand secondary school. (Unpublished PhD thesis). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ. Halquist, D. & Musanti, S.I. (2010). Critical incidents and reflection: Turning points that challenge the researcher and create opportunities for knowing. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23(4), 449-461. Macartney, B. and Morton, M. (2013) Kinds of participation: Teacher and special education perceptions and practices of 'inclusion' in early childhood and primary school settings. International Journal of Inclusive Education 17(8): 776-792. Macartney, B. (2008). “If you don’t know her, she can’t talk”: Noticing the tensions between deficit discourses and inclusive early childhood education. Early Childhood Folio, 12, 31-35. Mills, D. and Morton, M. (2013) Ethnography in education. London:BERA/Sage Ministry of Education. (2009). Narrative assessment: A guide for teachers. Wellington, NZ: Learning Media. Morton, M. (2011). Thinking, teaching and learning like an ethnographer: Possibilities for emancipatory teacher inquiry. Paper presented at the 7th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 19-21 May, 2011 Wansart, W. L. (1995). Teaching as a way of knowing. Remedial & Special Education, 16(3), 166-177.
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