04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session - NW 04
General Poster Session
The ongoing Nordforsk funded (2018-2020) project Mixed classes And Pedagogical Solutions (MAPS) offers a comparative study of policies and practices of inclusion in pre-primary and primary education in Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands, and is aimed to provide new tools to policy-making and teacher education.
We intend to approach the issue of educational inclusion from a holistic and an intersectional perspective (see e.g. Collins and Bilge 2016). More concretely, we are committed to bringing together in a single analysis (visions of) divisions based on entanglement of ethnicity, social class, gender, and educational needs while comparing across our three urban contexts. The project is situated within critical research tradition of inclusive education (see Magnúsdóttir 2016; Allan & Slee 2008), focusing on how social and institutional processes objectively and systematically exclude and marginalize certain pupils and include or advantage others (see Boterman 2013; Paulle 2016). Adopting a theoretical and analytical strategy inspired by Pierre Bourdieu (1984; 1986) we consider schools as middle-class favouring institutions, where the habitus of native, white pupils most likely matches the applied discourse and linguistic features and well as the cultures, conduct, and character of the school; the pupils that do not match these requirements are constructed as ‘other’ and often also as ‘problematic’ or ‘pupils with special needs’ (see Reay 2010; Lareau & Weininger 2003). We critically examine, how various forms of capital, cultural, social and economic, are operated in the processes of socialisation in socially and educationally mixed schools and class-rooms actually.
The study operates cross-disciplinarily combining the academic traditions of sociology, educational sciences and urban studies. The main objective of the project is to map and analyse how (pre)primary school pupils’ social relations within segregated urban settings in the three countries are configured, and through which pedagogical patterns and solutions teachers deal with challenges and possibilities related to pupil composition and social justice in education in inclusive schools. Our research questions are following: (i) How are the policies of inclusive education organized in each country-context, on which theoretical basis are the policies formulated and which categories of children the inclusive policies are including and excluding from an intersectional perspective? (ii) To what extent are pupils from different social, ethnic and educational backgrounds going to the same schools, and how are these processes related to the policies and practices of pupil enrolment to pre-primary and primary schools? (iii) How are the children’s social relationships organised in the every-day practices of schools and leisure across social divisions? Through which educational theories, understandings of equity, and pedagogical practices are the teachers in socially and educationally mixed learning environments organizing their teaching and promoting the cognitive and social learning of pupils? (iv) What similarities and differences are there in policies and processes (macro-level) of inclusion embedded and applied (meso-level) and what are their social and pedagogical implications in the everyday-practices (micro-level) in socially, ethnically and educationally mixed primary schools between three national contexts?
Our main hypothesis is that the policies of inclusive education (with a wide understanding of inclusion as social, ethnic and gender question and question of educational needs) remain relative and are articulated and implemented in local contexts in such ways that the simultaneous investigation of educational policies (macro-level), local and school-level grouping practices (meso-level) and class-room cultures (micro-level) is required in order to grasp the contingent nature of different manifestations of inclusive education, which may contribute to socially just education.
This comparative study aims to provide in-depth understanding (see Novóa & Yariv-Mashal 2003) on how the policies and practices of inclusion are formulated (macro), interpreted (meso) and articulated (micro) in the everyday-life in schools with socially and educationally mixed pupil composition in three national and local contexts Helsinki, Amsterdam and Reykjavik. The study operates cross-disciplinarily combining the academic traditions of sociology, educational sciences and urban studies. We predominantly focus on inclusion as a combined question of social class, ethnicity and special educational needs, which often are treated as separate factors, but in the contexts of urban education are entangled in processes of prejudice, medical diagnostics and social class practices. The study focuses predominantly on children with immigrant and multi-linguistic background, children with lower educated parents and children with special educational needs, Drawing on mixed methods approach, the project apply similar theoretical and analytical research strategy across three country-contexts. In order to reconstruct the field of norms and standards (macro) in primary education, we conduct critical policy-analysis of documents and review previous literature concerning inclusive education in Northern Europe. The social space (meso) of educational choice is reconstructed by analysing patterns of distinction and segregation at the level of schools. The analysis is based on register data of pupil allocation in comprehensive education in all three capital areas; Helsinki, Amsterdam and Reykjavik (see e.g. Kosunen, Bernelius & Seppänen 2016). In order to understand the formation of social ties, interactions and pedagogical practices in diverse learning environments (micro), a year-long ethnographic fieldwork, including participant observation, semi-structured thematic interviews (n≈60) with school personnel, parents and pupils in pre-primary and primary schools in each city (pupils age 6−12), will be conducted. The selection of ethnographic research sites is based on analysis of register data of pupil allocation.
The actual practices of social mixing and social ties between pupils as well as pedagogical practices and solutions for qualitatively differentiated teaching supporting diverse pupil compositions by teachers in these three localities could contribute to the advantage socially and pedagogically knowledge-base of good practices in schools. This knowledge could serve as (i) a basis for constructing the teachers’ knowledge-base on qualitative differentiation within classes, which contributes to the everyday-practices of inclusion in schools and serves as a relevant area of teacher education in all three countries; (ii) investigating ability-grouping and educational outcomes, and (iii) gaining understanding the macro-level social consequences of the idea of one school for all through the idea of mixed-ability grouping instead of school segregation. Given the special position of Finland as a reference society of international comparisons referring to PISA, the results could provide a basis for wider distribution also internationally. Additionally, the project provides straight-forward implications to urban planning internationally, as the questions concerning urban segregation may be tackled from the viewpoint social mixing policies of schools. MAPS would also provide new tools for teacher education: these thematic areas would strengthen the understanding of teacher’s role as a societal actor along with providing the link between research and every-day pedagogics in schools already in the phase of teacher education.
Allan, J. and Slee, R. (2008). Doing inclusive education research. in S. Gabel og S. Danforth (eds.), Disability and the politics of education: An international reader. New York. Boterman, W. 2013. Dealing with diversity: Middle-class family households and the issues of ’black’ and ’white’ schools in Amsterdam. Urban Studies 50(6), 1130−1147. Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu, P. 1986. The Forms of Capital. In Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education. Collins, H. C. & Bilge, S. 2016. Intersectionality. Cambridge: Polity Press. Kosunen, S. & Bernelius, V. & Seppänen, P. & Porkka, M. 2016. School Choice to Lower Secondary Schools and Mechanisms of Segregation in Urban Finland. Urban Education DOI:10.1177/0042085916666933 Lareau, A. & Weininger, E. B. 2003. Cultural capital in educational research. A critical assessment. Theory and Society 32, 567–606. Magnúsdóttir 2016;Skóli án aðgreiningar: Átakapólar, ráðandi straumar og stefnur innan rannsóknarsviðsins [Inclusive education: Conflicting and competing discourses and policies within the field]. Í Bjarnason, Jónsson og Gunnþórsdóttir (Ritstj.), Skóli margbreytileikans í kjölfar Salamanca. Novóa, A. & Yariv-Mashal, T. 2003. Comparative Research in Education: a mode of governance or a historical journey? Comparative Education 39(4), 423−438. Paulle et al. 2016. Nieuw systeem, nieuwe kansen?: Ouders in Amsterdam-West over (de)segregatie in het basisonderwijs. B en M : Tijdschrift voor Beleid, Politiek en Maatschappij, 43(3), 4-22. Reay, D. 2010. Identity making in schools and classrooms. The SAGE handbook of identities, 277– 295.
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