ERG SES C 03, Interactive Poster Session
Within Higher Education, processes of inclusion and exclusion play a two folded role: On the one hand, we have to consider how we can reach the aim of an inclusive university that provides access to a variety of students. On the other hand, there is a need to establish inclusion as a key topic in our curricula. Especially in study programs that prepare students for the educational field, such as teacher education or social work, inclusion should play a crucial role as inclusive education is a means to creating an inclusive society (Clough & Corbett 2000).
This poster presentation will set the focus on the latter goal and elaborate the following research question: How can the topic of inclusion and exclusion be taught in Higher Education with a focus on study programs in the educational sciences?
Inclusion is framed as a broad and holistic concept that does not focus on one group of people, following the UNESCO (2017, p. 13) seeing it as “a process that helps overcome barriers limiting the presence, participation and achievement of learners”. In order to work on this topic together with students we suggest to use research-based learning as teaching approach. Research-based learning aims “to engage students in an authentic scientific discovery process” and make them familiar with important features of scientific thinking (Pedaste et al. 2015, p. 48). Students’ investigative work, i.e. addressing their own questions and solving problems, obtains a central place in the learning process (Aditomo et al. 2013). Students are supposed to make “an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline and/or to understanding” by their investigation and research activity (Brew 2010, p. 38). Engaging students in research also has a motivational aspect as it can capture student interest and create enthusiasm for an area of study (Hensel 2012). Within research-based learning different research approaches can be used. In our case, it stands to reason that inclusive ways to do research are expedient. Community-based research offers the opportunity to engage community-members together with students and lecturers in collaborative research projects. The focus lies on research with the community instead of research on the community with the aim to effect social change. Community-based research is a participatory research approach that opens universities for multiple stakeholders and especially for marginalized groups. Doing community-based research in class offers the opportunity for both students and community-members to work on research questions that are of use for the community. Through this process students can be enabled to become active citizens (Strand et al. 2015). They get to know the community-members’ problems and try to find ways towards a more inclusive society.
It has been emphasized that content and goals of Higher Education teaching have been disregarded in the research compared to methods, practical interests and problems (Keiding & Qvortrup 2017). The presented research can add insights to better understand the connection of teaching contents and methods by exploring the assumption that not all teaching approaches are in the same way useful when it comes to learning on inclusion and exclusion. Research-based learning with community-members as participative process is one promising way to offer students the opportunity of self-regulated investigation and thus, multiple occasions for learning and personal development.
The research question will be answered by a case study at a German university. The case is a class at the Faculty of Education and is investigated by an ethnographic approach. The class stretches over three semesters and addresses students in their first semesters. It started with the topic “asylum and migration” and its role for the education sector. Following the students’ interest and including current discourses within the faculty, the course changed its focus towards inclusion as distinct from integration. During the first semester, the class was based on theoretical approaches and discussions in order to find a common language and working definitions on important terms. In the second semester the students developed ideas for their own research projects within the field. In the upcoming third semester they will conduct the research and present the results. It is of special interest for the research question how asylum and migration are discussed in this class as one important aspect of inclusion. The class is accompanied by participant observation of the classroom sessions. Narrative interviews with lecturers, students and community-members are conducted additionally in order to capture their impressions of the class. The data is interpreted following a Grounded Theory approach (Strauss & Corbin 1990). The aim of the empirical investigation is to find out how students construct their research process, how they include community-members and how they are guided by the lecturers. Finally, we will have a close look on the students’ research results. We will investigate whether they are of general interest and how they can flow back into the scientific discourse on inclusion and exclusion.
The described investigation promises insights in the process of research-based learning from multiple perspectives. Lecturers, students and community-members’ views are equally involved in the study. The assumption that research-based learning is an especially effective teaching approach for a topic such as inclusion and exclusion will be examined. If this is the case, the question arises which type of topics are generally suited for research-based learning. Following Flyvberg (2006), who shows that generalization from a single case is indeed possible, a typology of topics will be suggested. Furthermore, conclusions will be drawn for the role of inclusion as a topic in Higher Education all over Europe.
Aditomo, A.; Goodyear, P.; Bliuc, A.M.; Ellis, R.A. (2013): Inquiry-based learning in higher education. Principal forms, educational objectives, and disciplinary variations. Studies in Higher Education 38 (9), 1239–1258. Brew, Angela (2010). An Australian perspective on undergraduate research. CUR Quarterly, 31 (1), 37–42. Clough, P.; Corbet, J. (2000). Theories of Inclusive Education: A student's guide. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Flyvbjerg, B. (2006). Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2), 219–245. Hensel, N. (2012). Characteristics of excellence in undergraduate research. Washington, D.C.: Council on Undergraduate Research. Keiding, T. B.; Qvortrup, A. (2017). Higher education journals as didactic frameworks. Higher Education Research & Development, 1(1), 1–16. Pedaste, Margus; Mäeots, Mario; Siiman, Leo A.; Jong, Ton de; van Riesen, Siswa A.N.; Kamp, Ellen T. et al. (2015). Phases of inquiry-based learning. Definitions and the inquiry cycle. Educational Research Review 14, 47–61. Strand, K.; Marullo, S.; Cutforth, N.; Stoecker, R.; Donohue, P. (2003). Community-based research and higher education. Principles and practices. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Strauss, A; Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of Qualitative Research. Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. UNESCO (2017). A guide for ensuring inclusion and equity in education. URL: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002482/248254e.pdf [28/01/2018]
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