20 SES 10 A, Bringing You Inspiring Practice For Inclusive Education: Teaching diverse learners in (school)subjects / TdiverS (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 20 SES 09
Introduction and general description
The defined right and the encompassing mandate laid out by the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UNICEF, 2011), means that all schools and education systems in Europe face the challenge to develop an inclusive culture, inclusive structures, and inclusive practices (Booth & Ainscow, 2002). There are huge differences both in the extent and quality of inclusion amongst European countries. Promoting the cooperation of countries with long-lasting experiences and traditions in inclusive schooling and countries with lower levels of experience was one of the main objectives of the TdiverS project.
The project was developed in a cooperation between six participating countries: Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden. The focus was on the diversity of learners, based on a three-pillar model of diversity:
Pillar 1: Diversity in theory and practice. Partners include university-departments and staff, students in teaching education programs, teachers and principals from schools with different approaches to inclusive education, representatives from school administration, NGOs or ministries.
Pillar 2: Strengthen the awareness for diversity of frameworks, conditions and determining factors of teaching school subjects in the different countries.
Pillar 3: Diversity from an interdisciplinary perspective, represented by different school-subjects in special-, primary- and secondary education, as well as special pedagogical concepts.
The purpose of the research and the project was to collect information on subject teaching in inclusive classrooms. The three main elements that drive this research are:
- The nexus of theory and practice. The intension is to provide theoretically-guided reflections of good practices of inclusion in subject teaching. The purpose is to collect experiences in teaching and instruction of school subjects in inclusive classrooms and to enable teachers and others working in or related to education to engage in a dialogue and contribute to overcome the gap between theory and practice.
- To gain new perspectives by sharing research findings and concrete experiences of inclusive education school-subjects and teacher education reforms related to inclusive education in different countries.
- The aim is to establish common concepts for training teachers in inclusive education as well as knowledge regarding specific subjects and to prepare a teacher-education material.
Four core values relating to teaching and learning have been identified as the basis for the work of all teachers in inclusive education (European Agency for Special Education and Inclusion 2012). We choose to emphasize the following two values:
a. Valuing learner diversity – learner difference is considered as a resource and an asset to education
b. Supporting all learners – teachers have high expectations for all learners’ achievements.
Thus, in this research, the goal is to extend and deepen collaboration to continue to learn from others how the implementation of teacher education for inclusion can best be achieved. The focus of the cross-national research is effective teaching approaches in heterogeneous classrooms in different school-subjects. This was a three year research project and data was collected with practioner researchers through field observation and videotabing.
Booth, T., & Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for inclusion: Developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol, England: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education. European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2012) Profile of Inclusive Teachers, Odense, Denmark: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. UNICEF (2011). The right of children with disabilities to education: A rights-based approach to inclusive education in the CEECIS region. Pp. 1-24. Geneva: UNICEF regional office for CEECIS.
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