04 SES 04 B, Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Classrooms: Opportunities and challenges
The present research project, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Science (BMBF), treats the topic of teacher education for inclusion in secondary schools in Germany. The main research question is how teachers can be enabled for dealing with the connection between inclusion and achievement in school in a reflective way. Therefore, in a first phase data will be gathered in a qualitative approach at two comprehensive schools and two advanced secondary schools (Gymnasium) to identify the required qualifications for teachers. A second phase is split in two processes of work which take place at the same time: On the one hand material for pre-service teacher training at university will be developed based on the findings from the first phase. After having tested these materials in university courses they will be edited to develop materials for casuistic (pre-service) teacher education (Meseth 2016). On the other hand, single workshops in further vocational teacher education will be developed based on the findings from the first phase. Interviews will be conducted with participants of these workshops to analyse their responses to the contents they are confronted with in the workshops. These analyses shall be used to create a concept for a school-wide teacher education training.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN 2006) obligates all its signatories to provide an inclusive education system which makes education available for everyone. Thus the question of teacher education for inclusion is a task which is not only limited to Germany but also a European and even worldwide task. Its relevance is reflected by the various publications in international pedagogical literature (e.g. Florian 2012; Watkins & Donelly 2014). Anyway the possibilities of developing an inclusive education system are related to the specific structure of national or federal school systems. In light of the German school system that is divided based on measuring success on achievements inclusive education and the focus on achievements seem to be incompatible. Even if this appears to be a specific problem in Germany caused by the structure of the local school system the topic of teacher education with regard to inclusion and achievement is also relevant to other European countries: While one major goal of inclusive education is to have students with special needs present in a regular school setting it also aims to improve the acceptance of difference as well as participation, learning and achievement of all students.
The theoretical approach of the research project is influenced by social constructivism. In this perspective ´achievement´ is not to be seen as a simply ´given´ or ´existing´ entity but as a socially construed category which arises from interactions in schools (Bräu & Fuhrmann 2015; Werning 2016). Besides ´achievement´ is intertwined with different social categories (ibid.). According to this specific theoretical approach also ´disability´ must not be seen as an ontological entity. ´Disability´ is to be understood as specific discursive formation processed in intersubjective interactions. On the one hand this research project focuses on learning difficulties and its connection to achievement (Werning 2010). On the other hand, it focuses on student´s emotional and social development which means the topic of behaviour and its connection to achievement (Bräu & Fuhrmann 2015).
As mentioned above the project is divided into two phases. This paper focuses on the first one. Therefore, case studies are conducted at two comprehensive secondary schools and two advanced secondary schools. The study concentrates on two different grades at each school. The comparison of comprehensive and advanced secondary schools allows to contrast different school types and related ways of dealing with difference. Focussing on two grades allows considering intra-institutional differences. Based on the features of focused ethnography (Knoblauch 2005) there are two phases of participant observation per grade lasting about four weeks each. With regards to different positions during field visits there’s an emphasis on the field-observer role (ibid.; Angrosino 2007). While ethnographic approaches draw attention to “the Silence of the Social” (Hirschauer 2006) situational interpretations – like teachers’ reflections after the lesson – are also included. Besides in classroom observation the research study aims to analyse documents such as reports or individual education plans as well as audio recordings of e.g. student-centred team meetings with respect to four students per grade based on participants’ informed consent. In addition, after the first field stay episodic interviews (Flick 1997) are conducted with general and special education teachers as well as students to explore teacher and student perspectives in depth. Data is analysed using Grounded Theory coding procedures (Strauss & Corbin 1990) and mapping strategies (Clarke 2009). An initial phase of analysis after the first field stay and interviews allows to identify casuistic materials for the research and development phase by focusing on minimal and maximal contrasts. Later on, further analysis leads to more detailed case studies. Data collection takes place in learning groups with students with special needs in the field of learning difficulties and emotional and social development as well as students without special needs. Focusing on these special need categories allows taking into account different challenges concerning the overall question of reflective ways of dealing with achievement and at the same time reflects fundamental contradictions in inclusive school development. While the reference to special needs categories forms a starting point in sampling data collection data analysis is characterized by a broader perspective including e.g. the question if and in which ways these categories appear to be relevant with respect to everyday practices and teacher and student perspectives. Concerning the problem of reifying categories (Gasterstädt & Urban 2016) group interpretation without recourse to students’ special needs is considered important.
By the time ECER takes place first results of the participant observation and the episodic interviews will be available and analysed. Thus it will be possible to present findings concerning the way the category of achievement is construed and how this contributes to the process of establishing difference in the context of learning difficulties and emotional social development, even in inclusive classrooms. Also it will be possible to understand the way teachers reflect on these processes and whether these processes seem problematical to them. In this way it will be possible to draw conclusions concerning elements that are important for further qualification of pre-service and in-service teachers.
Bräu, K., Furhmann, L. (2015). Die soziale Konstruktion von Leistung und Leistungsbewertung. In: K. Bräu, C. Schlickum (Hg.): Soziale Konstruktionen in Schule und Unterricht. Zu den Kategorien Leistung, Migration, Geschlecht, Behinderung, Soziale Herkunft und deren Interdependenzen. Leverkusen: Barbara Budrich, 49-64. Clarke, A. E. (2009). Situational analysis: Grounded theory after the postmodern turn. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage. Flick, U. (1997). The episodic interview. Discussion papers in qualitative research 5. London: LSE Methodology Institute. Florian, L. (2012). Preparing Teachers to work in Inclusive Classrooms: Key Lessons for the Professional Development of Teacher Educators from Scotland´s Inclusive Practice Project. Journal of Teacher Education 57(3), 292-299. Gasterstädt, J. & Urban, M. (2016). Einstellung zu Inklusion? Implikationen aus Sicht qualitativer Forschung im Kontext der Entwicklung inklusiver Schulen. Empirische Sonderpädagogik 8(1), 54-66. Hirschauer, S. (2006). Puttings Things into Words. Ethnographic Description and the Silence of the Social. Human Studies 29(4), 413–441. Knoblauch, H. (2005). Focused Ethnography. Forum: Qualitative Social Research 6(3). http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/download/20/44 [30.01.2018]. Meseth, W. (2016). Kasuistik in der Lehrerbildung zwischen disziplinbezogenem Forschungs- und professionsbezogenem Orientierungswissen. In: M. Hummrich, A. Hebenstreit, M. Hinrichsen, M. Meier (Hg.): Was ist der Fall? Kasuistik und das Verstehen pädagogischen Handelns. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 39-60. Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. M. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage. United Nations (2006). Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-2.html [30.01.2018]. Watkins, A., Donelly, V. (2014). Core Values as the Basis for Teach Education for Inclusion. Global Education Review 1(1), 76-92. Werning, R. (2010). Konstruktivismus. In: D. Horster, W.Jantzen (Hg.): Wissenschaftstheorie. Enzyklopädisches Handbuch der Behindertenpädagogik, Bd. 1. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 289-294. Werning, R. (2016). Lernen. In: I. Hedderich, G. Biewer, J. Hollenweger, R. Markowetz (Hg): Handbuch Inklusion und Sonderpädagogik. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt, 229-234.
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