04 SES 01 B, Fostering Inclusive Education in School Through Organisational Change
Paper/Pecha Kucha Session
The paper presents and discusses preliminary data from approximately 60 organizational intervention projects promoting inclusive education facilitated by educational psychological counselors in Norwegian kindergartens and schools.
Norway is often viewed as having one of the most inclusive education systems in the world (Arnesen & Lundahl, 2006; OECD, 2011). All children have the right to attend the neighborhood school and the right to special education if the child “…either do not or are unable to benefit satisfactorily from ordinary teaching” (Education Act section 5-1, Ministry of Education and Research, 1998).
In Norway, it is mandatory that every municipality and county provides Educational Psychological Services (EPS) for pupils with special needs in kindergartens and schools. The EPS-counselors are required to make expert assessments of referred children, and assist the kindergartens and schools in organizational change and development in order to facilitate education for pupils with special education needs. However, reports show that the EPS-counselors focus primarily on the individual child’s difficulties (Hustad, Strøm, & Strømsvik, 2013; Mathiesen & Vedøy, 2012). This individual paradigm approach aims to explore and define the child’s learning difficulties inherent by conditions within the child. Later, since the 1970s, the individual approach has been challenged by a relational/relative understanding (Norwich, 2008). In brief, relational perspectives focus on social relationships, the system and citizenship. In educational settings, the child is seen as a part of an inclusive educational environment.
In Norway scholars have argued that adaptive education is an overarching idea that has reduced the discussions on how to promote inclusive education (Fasting, 2013). Inclusive education can be summarized in four main aspirations which schools have to strive for; fellowship, participation, democratization and benefitfrom education. Other concepts describing these aspirations are equal access, quality, equity, justice and the balance of unity and diversity. Taken together, inclusion involves two main processes; to increase fellowship and participation and to decrease exclusion from educational contexts (Booth, 1996; Haug, 2014).
A strategy for continuing education for employees in the psychological educational service, SEVU-PPT, 2013-2018 has been initiated by the Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training. The aim is to enhance competence on organizational change and development. The strategy program consists of series of in-service programs at different universities and university colleges in Norway. Oslo Metropolitan University (former Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences) is a partner in the implementation of the strategy, and in developing new programs for EPS-counselors in organization change and development.
There is a lack of studies exploring the EPS-counselor’s role and involvement in promoting inclusive education, to prevent segregation that facilitates exclusion. Hence, the aim of this study is to explore the EPS-counselors’ project reports submitted in the university’s SEVU-PPT program, to promote organizational development and change and to strengthen the idea of inclusive education. The research question we want to explore is: How and in what ways do the reports from the EPS-counselors initiate change at the organizational level promoting inclusive education?
The data is obtained from a corpus of project reports produced in the in-service EPS-counselors program, SEVU-PPT 2013 – 2018 at OsloMet. The research design is based on content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005; Krippendorff, 2004) to analyze interventions and initiatives at the system level. The design is based on three intertwining approaches: conventional content analysis (CC-analysis), directed content analysis (DC-analysis), and summative content analysis (SC-analysis). The first analytic step uses a stratified sample of randomly selected reports (11) to extract and define the tools which describe the actions of the EPS-counselors. This step generates concepts and categories extracted from the project reports. The initial baseline is followed by DC-analysis, based on the study program’s learning outcome descriptions, to refine and extend the first set of inductively driven concepts and categories. In total, the analytic processes facilitate an abductive analytic process in developing the concepts and categories. The total body of text (60 reports) is finally analyzed by series of SC-analysis, exploring the use of the concepts and categories to make interpretations and inferences. In other words, the concepts and categories are used to describe the aims, initiatives and the context, both in quantitative and qualitative terms. This final analytic process intends to develop a broad insight into how the reports as a whole describe the actions initiated to promote inclusive education.
We expect that the reports from the EPS-counselors describe the initiatives towards organizational change and development and the sets of strategies they take. We further anticipate to find a coherent and specific set of concepts and indicators that describe the processes initiated. These initiatives and strategies may serve as a knowledge base both for the professionals in the field and for kindergartens and schools to promote organizational change towards inclusive education. In addition, we expect that the findings show that EPS-counselors, in the role as interventionist, take a clear position on the organizational level. In the last decade, there has been a trend towards increased use of individually assigned special education in Norway. The focus on the individual child may be seen as a paradox in light of the Norwegian political vision of inclusive education. In addition, the study has the potential to problematize and nuance the understandings and practical implications of how to implement inclusive education for children in different age groups with a variety of special needs (Brørup Dyssegaard & Larsen, 2013). This tension in the understanding of inclusion underpins a need for research on the EPS-counselor’s role and agency in helping kindergartens and schools to develop fellowship, participation and satisfactory educational outcome. This study contributes in providing indicators to understand the EPS-counselor’s influence and possibilities at the organizational level.
Arnesen, A.-L., & Lundahl, L. (2006). Still Social and Democratic? Inclusive Education Policies in the Nordic Welfare States. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 50(3), 285-300. Booth, T. (1996). Stories of exclusion: Natural and unnatural selection. . In E. Blyth & J. Milner (Eds.), Exclusion from School: Inter-professional Issues for Policy and Practice. . London: Routledge. Brørup Dyssegaard, C., & Larsen, M. S. (2013). Evidence on Inclusion. København. [http://edu.au.dk/fileadmin/edu/Udgivelser/Clearinghouse/Evidence_on_Inclusion.pdf] Fasting, R. B. (2013). Adapted education: the Norwegian pathway to inclusive and efficient education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 17(3), 263-276. doi:10.1080/13603116.2012.676083 Haug, P. (2014). The practices of dealing with children with special needs in school: a Norwegian perspective. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 19(3), 1-15. doi:10.1080/13632752.2014.883788 Hsieh, H.-F., & Shannon, S. (2005). Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277-1288. Hustad, B.-C., Strøm, T., & Strømsvik, C. L. (2013). Kompetanse i PP-tjenesten - til de nye forventningene?: kartlegging av kompetansen i PP-tjenesten (Vol. nr. 2/2013). Bodø: Nordlandsforskning. Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis : an introduction to its methodology (2nd ed. ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage. Mathiesen, I. H., & Vedøy, G. (2012). Spesialundervisning - drivere og dilemma. Stavanger: http://gammelweb.iris.no/internet/student.nsf/199f312efd2a0cacc125680e00635b85/70546072bcb60cacc12580ca0041b20b/$FILE/IRIS%202012-017%20Spesialundervisning.pdf Ministry of Education and Research. (1998). Education Act (Lov om grunnskolen og den vidaregåande opplæringa) with amendments. Oslo: Ministry of Education and Research [http://www.utdanningsdirektoratet.no/Artikler/_toppmeny/_English/Education-Act/] Norwich, B. (2008). Dilemmas of Difference. International perspectives and future directions. London: Routledge. OECD. (2011). Social Justice in the OECD – How Do the Member States Compare? Sustainable Governance Indicators 2011. [http://www.sgi-network.org/docs/studies/SGI11_Social_Justice_OECD.pdf]
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