ERG SES E 13, Inclusive Education
Building on the Capability Approach as proposed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, a just distribution of high-quality education serves as a basis for achieving well-being for all members of the community (Terzi, 2010). Following the »Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities« (United Nations, 2006) a full, effective and equal participation in education requires the implementation of an inclusive education system. Around the world, especially in the European Union, states are currently promoting policy changes to comply with those international frameworks and guidelines.
In order to build an informed background for policy makers and practitioners it is necessary to understand practices and mechanisms of inclusion in teaching and learning interactions in schools and promote suitable changes to structures, awareness and practices. Regarding current processes of political transformations towards inclusive education, the conceptual underpinning of the concept of disability/SEN often does not correspond to theoretical developments within the field of educational research and disability studies. Most policy frameworks, although promoting inclusive education, still use medical conceptions and classifications of disability and SEN. Research on inclusive education – especially large scale comparative studies such as PISA – that has significant impact on policy development in Europe, often builds its framework alongside those classifications.
Inclusive education in this manner is debated within different discourses (Dyson, 1999). Ethical perspectives reflect on notions of equality, difference and diversity. Political discourses are mainly positioned around the development policy frameworks and guidelines, the distribution of resources and accommodating interests of different stakeholders (REF). The practical discourse mainly focuses on implementation issues of inclusive schools and teaching of all children, such as inclusive didactics, adequate learning and teaching methods as well as pedagogical diagnostics (REF). Those discourses are strongly interlinked with each other. Each provides a different perspective on inclusive education and exhibit specific ambiguities and dilemmas of difference (Norwich, 2008). When it comes to teaching and learning in schools those ambiguities have to be handled by the teacher within the teacher-pupil interactions.
This paper presents an analytical framework to investigate the construction and management of disability in everyday classroom interactions by the teacher. It provides the basis to understand practices of inclusive education and its links to the construction of disability in daily teaching interactions between teachers and pupils. How is disability being constructed in daily teaching and learning interactions in the classroom? How are practices and mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion organized by the teacher within teacher-pupil interactions in the classroom?
Thereby the local context plays an important role as the discourses (at school and in society) may differ throughout national contexts (Meyer and Ramirez, 2007). In order to build an informed background for facilitating inclusive practices one school in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world, and one in Austria, one of the richest countries, will take part in the research project. Despite their very different socio-economic background the two countries face challenges in similar areas: knowledge, awareness and sensitization, quality of teacher training, access to infrastructure, equipment and learning materials, support systems for children with disabilities as well as adequate legislation and structures. Thus investigating the construction of disability and the implementation of inclusive teaching and learning environments within those different socio-economic backgrounds may facilitate important insights into structures and mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in teaching and learning settings in Europe.
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