ERG SES C 06, Studies in Education
The objective of this presentation is to explore how other professionals might learn from inclusive education developments. Pedagogical practices have been influenced by the shift from medical model thinking to social model and more recently that of inclusive and universal design practices. In this discourse most of the emphasis has been on the teacher learner relationship. Is it now time to consider some of the other relationships learners have if we are to truly enable all learners?
The developments in inclusive education and universal design together with the shift in thinking could perhaps be used to stimulate others (career guidance and other professionals) to examine their own practices at work rather than relying on the same tried and true methods and procedures at a time when there is a greater diversity of students.
This exploration is specifically focused on careers advisors, as they are increasingly engaging with a diversity of students and need to ask - does 'a one size fits all' approach work anymore? In some ways it is the same question teachers once asked when disability was included in the classroom - but in others ways it is so different.
Career Guidance as it stands could possibly be described as a ‘medical model’ version in that it seeks to ‘prescribe’ a future course or direction and as a consequence can ‘label’ people from a young age. It is a standardized approach. This is in direct contrast to a model that is lifelong and progressive and recognises the diversity of individuals and their needs(Hooley, 2017). A more flexible approach may demand that the career guidance process be redesigned to ensure that it can adapt and engage with the greater diversity of society.
Furthermore this research is timely as when the statutory allocation of guidance counsellors to schools was substantially cut back in Budget 2012 in Ireland it was ‘a timely warning to colleagues to engage in self-reflection regarding the nature, organisation, and efficacy of their role and profession’ and highlighted ‘the perceived lack of a robust evidence base regarding the nature, provision, and efficacy of guidance counselling ’ (McGuckin and O’Brien 2013).
The challenges are new and while change is sometimes avoided; for one group, students with disabilities, it cannot be ignored. Students with disabilities necessitate change - not only is it enshrined in legislation, it is the difference between success and failure.
This presentation will outline the first steps in this exploratory journey - a review of the different models of disability in education while also applying the Bronfenbrenner framework to conceptualise the position of the learner in relation to the career guidance professional in contrast to their relationship with a teacher.
This is the first steps in a doctoral thesis and it is proposed that this presentation will be informed by a review of the literature relating to guidance, inclusive education, models of disability in education and universal design for learning. Aligning the literature with current practice and conceptualising the experience of students with a disability, using Bronfenbrenner framework, will be particularly valuable now as there is limited research on this area, and it is well-matched to explore where deliberation or a lack of clarity exist with respect to how the learner is positioned. Bronfenbrenner (1979) offers the opportunity to conceptualise the learning world and guidance world of a learner with a disability (ecology) placing them in the centre yet connected in varying degrees to other 'drivers'. Irish researchers and guidance counsellors have previously found Bronfenbrenner's model proved useful. Lewis, Cruise, Fearn, and Mc Guckin (2009) used the model when analysing data in a large cross- European study regarding religion and life perspectives among young people in Ireland. Greene (1994) and Greene and Moane (2000) also located the development of Irish children within Bronfenbrenner's systems model, when they researched the different influences growing up in Ireland. Finally, Mc Guckin and Minton (2014) demonstrated how the Bronfenbrenner model could be applied to an educational and counselling context as the approaches are both complementary and enhancing to lifespan psychology while sympathetic to ever-changing policies, research, and contextual issues.
It is hoped that this exploration will highlight the influences, drivers and models of practice in relation to inclusive education and how they might be applied to the practice of career guidance, not just in Ireland but also across Europe in the field of education. It may in turn raise more questions than answers - but perhaps questions that need to be asked?
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development Cambridge. MA: Harvard. Greene, S. M. (1994). Growing up Irish: Development in context. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 15(2-3), 354-371. Greene, S., & Moane, G. (2000). Growing up Irish: Changing children in a changing society. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 21(3-4), 122-137. Lewis, C. A., Cruise, S. M., Fearn, M., & Mc Guckin, C. (2005). Growing up Irish: Life perspectives among young people in the Republic of Ireland. Youth in Europe, 1, 151-164. Mc Guckin, C., & O'Brien, A. M. (2013). Lest we forget: Lessons learned in Ireland following budget 2012. Journal of Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools, 23(2), 273-279. Mc Guckin, C., & Minton, S.J. (2014). From theory to practice: Two ecosystemic approaches and their applications to understanding school bullying. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 24(1),36 - 48 Tristram Hooley. Seminar for guidance counsellors from Studievalg and eGuidance https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Careers-England-Research-Paper-The-Economic-Benefits-of-Career-Guidance-July-2015.pdf
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