04 SES 04 A, Including Students with Hearing and Visual Impairments: New educational strategies
The Italian model, which promotes educational inclusion for individuals with disabilities (law 118/1971 and 517/1977), boasts over 40 years of ground-breaking experimental work – both theoretical and applied. The latest researches give evidence of the achievements that have been reached so far. The path to inclusion has contributed to profoundly modifying the Italian education system, promoting significant changes in the pedagogical and cultural field:
- methodological and teaching innovation;
- enhancement of teachers’ role and status;
- development of new skills;
- flourishing of a new culture revolving around the values o welcoming, opening and valuing differences.
If in the past the school promoted models to which it was necessary to conform and adapt, today it is recognized the value of education to the plurality and diversity in all its forms, starting from the first years of schooling.
In line with these principles, the paper presents some important pedagogical issues in the scholastic inclusion field, with particular attention to the effectiveness of educational methods adopted in the learning process of deaf students.
The research Quality of inclusion and deafness carried out by CeDisMa- Research Centre on Disability and Marginality, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano - aimed to analyse the quality and the effectiveness of an educational and teaching project based on the use of bilingualism (sign language and oral mimic method) for the integration of deaf students in some schools in Milan (Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary school).
The research used a multi-method approach in order to acquire the different elements considered fundamental for a better understanding of the inclusive path proposed for deaf students and, therefore, of a subsequent qualitative analysis.In particular the project develops according to the action research methodology. Action Research’s conditions include: the relationship of collaboration between the various actors involved, both in the definition of the problem, both in the management of concrete research - evaluation activities; the idea that research should not be "neutral ", but should become change and social empowerment agent; attention to the educational dimension of research. So, Action Research is a way of questioning a practice and changing it as a result of the study. In details, the research "Quality of inclusion and deafness" developed by implementing different actions and methods: the observations within the classes to analyse the effectiveness of the teaching methods used and the relationships between deaf students and the other classmates; the interviews with deaf students to verify their language skills; the specific tests administered in order to investigate the actual comprehension abilities of the didactic content; the Focus group with teachers and assistant teachers focused on strength and weaknesses of inclusive educational project for deaf students as well as the different levels of co-responsibility between the teachers involved; the questionnaires to parents of deaf and no deaf students in order to understand the family's perspective.
The research investigated the quality of a particular approach ( oral and sign language method) for deaf students inclusions in some different school in Milan (Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary school).This didactic proposal represented a significant experience, both for many children and young people living this condition of disability and for their families, both for the school itself and for all the educational and teaching staff. There are many positive elements among which we can mention: greater openness of the school towards diversity, greater knowledge of sign language, definition of good practices for the inclusion of deaf students. However, there are some critical elements that need improvement actions to allow the possible transferability of the educational model. The results achieved offer the opportunity for important pedagogical reflections that can be useful not only for the education of deaf pupils but also in order to implement the effectiveness of inclusive school systems for the benefit of the education of everyone.
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