04 SES 07 D, Applying the Concept of Competence to Inclusive Settings
Since 1994, there has been an international commitment to inclusive education (UNESCO 1994; UNESCO 2000) and inclusion has been an important conception in the educational debate and practice of most countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (Fasting 2013).
The vision of developing inclusive schools has called for pedagogical strategies and activities encouraging and supporting the participation of all students in schools and classrooms (Benjamin 2002; Thomas, Walker & Webb 2005; Dyssegaard & Larsen 2013). At the same time, concentrated efforts have been made to develop inclusive education and teaching (Ainscow 1997; Rouse & Florian 1996; Sebba & Sachdev 1997; Thomas et al. 1998). Today, three decades of literature and research in inclusive education and teaching provide a rich resource of theoretical perspectives, professional guidelines and evidence-based practices to support inclusive education.
However, despite the progress made, we will argue that the focus on the role and responsibilities of teachers is not in itself sufficient to capture inclusive education’s contemporary status and it’s educational relevance and potential. In this article, we suggest that the great focus on the teachers and their possibility of solving the problems with inclusion tend to simplify very complex and multifaceted matters with the risk of forgetting the responsibilities and potential resources of the students. Implicitly, teachers is seen as inclusion “actors”, while students have been reduced to “receivers” of inclusive initiatives. Of course, the present article supports the right of all children to be included in education, but it suggests that the focus on how to solve the task of including all children should be supplemented with a focus on developing the competencies of students to manage inclusion and exclusion processes that they need in order to be a part of and act responsibly on the processes of inclusion and exclusion in various communities in school and society. We need this double focus in order to capture the societal realisation of inclusive processes and to balance the requirements and responsibilities of inclusive work, such as in teaching, in school and in society.
The paper formulates a concept and description of what it calls inclusive competencies of students, that is the competencies of students who are able to act in a society characterised by dynamic and continuous processes of inclusion and exclusion.
The theoretical basis for the paper is found in sociological systems theory as described by Niklas Luhmann (Luhmann, 1990, 1995, 2012). In it’s formulation of a concept and description of inclusive competences of students in addition to Luhmann it draws on Jürgen Habermas’ (Habermas 1992, 1981) and Axel Honneth’s (Honneth 2003) theories about social interaction. These theories offer on one hand a foundation for a systematisation of conditions of inclusion and exclusion. On the other hand they offer a basis for identification of the needs of inclusion and exclusion that are founded in either a social need for justice or an individual need for self-realisation. Furthermore they contribute with considerations on ethical questions related to inclusion and exclusion. The paper at first carries out a semantic analysis of societal and institutional discourses in order to discuss the concept of inclusion and to describe how this concept have changed in accordance with general changes of prioritisations of rights and duties in the welfare society. Afterwards it produces a matrix of inclusive competences of students. It suggests that every individual has social power to enter into social relations in four fields and on the basis of four corresponding roles (Luhmann 1995; Habermas 1992) supporting different needs of recognition and self-realisation and thereby the formation of personal identity (Honneth 2003).
The paper suggests that an active citizen in modern society must have social competences to manage four different roles, one in each of four corresponding fields of inclusion and exclusion: • In family or friendship relations as a private individual • In formalized and norm regulated relations as a citizen • In working or practice based relations as a community member • In consensus based relations as a public individual It argues that these four relations and roles are important focus points for the formulation of the inclusive competences of students, both because they are fields and roles that students enter into in society and because they are fields and roles, that are represented in school which in that respect mirrors society. The family and/or friendship relation is represented in interpersonal relations with other students or the teacher, the formalised, norm regulated relations in teacher led learning situations, the working and practice based relations in students’ self-organised learning situations or situations of play. Finally, the consensus based relations are represented in its most distinct form with the students' councils in the class or at the school. The paper further argues that the students must become competent to take on such roles and engage in such relations, and that this presupposes both knowledge and profiency. The students must be able to reflect upon the different relations, and the needs and risks they contain, which presupposes skills. Finally, they must be able to act with regard to both pragmatic and ethical demands of the different fields and relations, which presupposes bildung. The paper captures how these aspects can be conceptualised, and it suggests ways in which such skills and competences can be realised by the individual and in social practices.
Ainscow, M. (1997). Towards inclusive schooling. In British Journal of Special Education, 24, 3-6 Fasting, R. (2013). ”Adapted Education: The Norwegian Pathway to Inclusive and Efficient Education”. International Journal of Inclusive Education 17(3): 263-276 Habermas, J. (1992): Faktizität und Geltung. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. Honneth, A. (2003): Kampf um Anerkennung. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. Luhmann, N. (1990): Die Wissenschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. Luhmann, N. (1995): Soziologische Aufklärung 6. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Qvortrup, A. & Qvortrup, L. (2015). Inklusion. Den inklusionskompetente lærer, pædagog og elev. København: Hans Reitzels forlag Rouse, M. & Florian, L (1996): Effective inclusive school: a study in two countries. Cambridge Journal of Education 26(1): 71-85 Sebba, J. & Sachdev, D. (1997): What Works in Inclusive Education? Barkingside: Barnardos Thomas, G. & A. Loxley (2007). Deconstructing special education and constructing inclusion. Berkshire: Open University Press Thomas, G.; Walker, D. & Webb, J. (1998): The making of the inclusive school. London: Routledge UNESCO (1994): The Salamanca Statement on Principles, Policy and Practice in Special Needs Education. Salamanca: UNESCO.
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