04 SES 07 B, Professional Development for Inclusive Education
In recent years, Norway has seen an increase in both the percentage of children receiving special education in schools and preschools (GSI, 2015), as well as the number of students graduating from universities and colleges with degrees in special education (DBH, 2014). At the same time, political and economic developments, such as the movement towards inclusive education, appear to be redefining the field. In this presentation, we will review findings from a survey of 360 graduates of special education programs at two universities in Norway who completed their training between 2001 and 2013. The survey instrument was adapted from an on-going investigation in Sweden (Göransson et al., 2015) and includes questions regarding the educational experiences, attitudes, and current working conditions of these professionals. Participants comprised graduates of three different programs: (a) a 3-year bachelor degree study (n = 46), (2) a 1-year program as part of teacher education (n = 114), and (c) master degree program in special eduation (n=200).
Preliminary findings suggest that special educators in Norway work not only in schools, but also in other areas of society, such as residential care for children and adults, hospitals, rehabilitation services, supported employment and a range of other areas. In addition, participants report a lack of sufficient practical experience during their education, yet generally perceive themselves as qualified for the work that they do. Special education has been described as a profession upon which the Norwegian welfare-state depends (Ravneberg, 2003). As with most professions, special education represents a field of continuous change and renewal. These changes have placed the traditional “expert role” and legitimacy of special educators in a state of uncertainty, challenging their professional mandate, ideology, working arenas and jurisdictions. The current study provides the opportunity to compare the views of graduates from distinct, yet overlapping, educational routes and examine “core components” that may exist across work contexts, as well as investigate the unique advantages or limitations associated with each educational background.
Abbott, A. (1988) The system of professions. An essay on the division of expert labor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Database for statistikk om høgere utdanning, DBH (2014). Sektoranalysen. NSD. http://dbh.nsd.uib.no/styringsdata/sektoranalyse.action. [Database for statistics in higher education] Grunnskolens Informasjonssystem, GSI (2015). Utdanningsdirektoratet. https://gsi.udir.no/tallene/ [Norwegian compulsory school information system]. Göransson et al., (2015) Speciella yrken? Specialpedagogers och speciallärares arbete och utbildning. En enkätstudie. [Special professions? SENCOS and special teachers' work and education. A survey study] Research report. Karlstad University Studies. Ravneberg, B. (2003) Spesialpedagogene og velferdsstaten. [Special educators in the welfare state]. I E. Benum, P. Haave, H. Ibsen, A. Schiøtz & E. Schrumpf (red.) Den mangfoldige velferden, 213-226. Oslo: Gyldendal akademisk.
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