04 SES 03 D, Exploring In‐Service and Preservice Teachers Attitudes Towards Inclusive Education
Italy and Norway feature an institutionalized inclusive education based on a long history of universal schooling. All students have the right and the duty to attend mainstream school from the age of 6 to the age of 16. Both countries experienced a paradigm shift from the 1960s onward concerning integration of the disabled and others in school and society. However, in both countries recent research data have shown the presence of pull-out and push-out phenomena (Nes, 2014; Nes, Demo & Ianes 2017). The terms pull-out and push-out refer to situations in which some students in regular schools learn in settings apart from their peers.
Research results suggest that the phenomenon is not marginal. In both countries, well-documented national research projects show that the majority of the pupils with disability and/or with SEN in compulsory education, spend part of their school time outside the class in order to receive special support (Ianes et al. 2013; Wendelborg & Tøssebro2011). This indicates that, contrary to intentions, special-education-school-type solutions – as for example special rooms, special units with special teachers or even special and isolated activities within a mainstream class – still exist along with flexible adaptations within whole-class and group settings for all children (Buli-Holmberg & Jeyaprathaban 2016; D’Alessio 2013; Ianes & Demo 2015; Nes 2014).
Adressing research gaps might give us a deeper understanding of the challenging phenomenon. Firstly, most of the research data focus on pupils with disabilities or with SEN (Ianes & Demo 2015), other student groups are under-investigated. Additionally, the qualitative perspective of listening to teacher or students voice is almost completely missing. In the end, some data suggest that the deeper meaning of leaving the class is influenced by the way the teaching context is organized in general (Buli-Holmberg & Jeyaprathaban 2016; Nes, Demo & Ianes 2017).
On this background, our paper explores the opinions of lower secondary school teachers in Italy and Norway on push-and-pull-out in/from the classroom by means of semi-structured interviews. These interviews are based on a vignette that describes different context situations in which different students (with multiple disabilities, with dyslexia, with challenging behaviors, with general learning difficulties and with a minority language) leave the class. By designing a research project from scratch, developing a joint instrument and analytical approach to use in both countries, we move on from comparing existing data in the countries. The latter is very common in comparative educational research (see for instance Stangvik 2010; Nes, Demo & Ianes 2017).
Vignettes are “concrete examples of people and their behaviors on which participants can offer comment or opinion” (Hazel 1995, 2). In our case, the vignette is the concrete description of a classroom episode and its main characters’ actions: teachers and students. The episode narrates different situations in which different students leave the class. Vignettes seems to be a good way to make as sure as possible that respondents from different countries have similar situations in mind while answering the questions. Furthermore, such an instrument has already been used to investigate opinions eliciting “cultural norms derived from respondents’ attitudes to and beliefs about a specific situation” (Barter & Renold 2000, 310).
Specifically, two aspects of the research will be discussed in our paper: a methodological one, the development of a joint vignette for the purpose of interviewing Italian and Norwegian teachers and a results-related one, some preliminary results about the teachers’ opinions, values and attitudes.
We will interview a sample of 20 lower secondary school teachers (10 in Norway and 10 in Italy) using a vignette that describes situations of push-and-pull-out. The vignette is structured in 7 parts and after each part some questions are posed. The first part of the vignette is a description of a common class context for Italy and Norway. We will ask the interviewees whether or not the situation is familiar to them. The second part of the vignette is descriptions of five situations where students leave the class, each situation representing a part of the vignette. The descriptions illustrates students with 1) disability, 2) minority language, 3) challenging behaviour, 4) dyslexia, 5) learning difficulties. We will then ask the interviewees about their opinions and attitudes towards the teachers possible intentions when they are offering learning situations out of class. The seventh and last part of the vignette is a description of a more inclusive class context. In this part we will ask the interviewees about their opinions and attitudes for this situation, aiming questions towards the inclusive practices and learning situations the situations illustrates. Interviews will be transcribed and analyzed by means of Qualitative Content Analysis (Schreier 2012). Categories will be determined both inductively and deductively and deductive categories will be created basing on the method described by Kuckartz (2012, 64). All the interviews will be coded through the emerged category system.
In the presentation, we will discuss research results on two levels. Firstly, we will describe from a methodological perspective the process of creating a joint vignette for two different countries. Our preliminary experiences has pointed out some challenges regarding the different school systems, dissimilar regulation of special education and different policies in the two countries, leading to discussions on how to describe situations that have common resonance for teachers in both countries. These discussions have pointed out some advantages regarding work with cross-cultural vignettes. Our preliminary experience so far is that the situations we describe in the vignette has been stripped of some cultural presumptions we might not have discussed in a mono-cultural study. This leads to issues regarding Cross-cultural studies and to reliability when comparing data between countries. Secondly, we will discuss some first results arising from the interviews on the teachers’ opinion. We expect that teachers in Italy and Norway will have similar views and values, but are curious to see nuances within and between the countries, for instance if the more inclusive practices of Italian teachers will be reflected in our findings (see for instance Nes & al., 2017).
Barter C. & Renold E. (2000) “I wanna tell you a story”: Exploring the application of vignettes in qualitative research with children and young people. International Justice Social Research Methodology, 3(4), 307-323. Buli-Holmberg J. & Jeyaprathaban S. (2016) Effective Practice in Inclusive and Special Needs Education, International Journal of Special Education, 31(1), 119–134. Collins B. & Brief D. (1995) Using Person-Perception Vignette Methodologies to Uncover the Symbolic Meanings of Teacher Behaviors in the Milgram Paradigm. Journal of Social Issues, 51(3), 89-106. D’Alessio S. (2011) Inclusive Education in Italy: A critical Analysis of the policy of integrazione scolastica. Rotterdam: Sense Publisher. Demo, H. (2014). Il fenomeno del push e pull out nell’integrazione scolastica italiana. L’integrazione scolastica e sociale, 13(3), 202-217 (the Phenomenon of push and pull out in school integration) Hazel N. (1995) Elicitation technique with young people. Social Research Update 12. Department of Sociology, University of Surrey. Ianes, D. & Demo H. (2015). Esserci o non esserci? Meccanismi di push e pull out nella realtà nell’integrazione scolastica italiana. In Quale scuola inclusiva in Italia?, edited by R. Viannello and S. Di Nuovo, 101–124. Trento: Erickson. (To be or not to be there? Mechanisms of push and pull out in the realty of school integration in Italy) Ianes D., Demo H. & Zambotti F. (2013) Forty Years of Inclusion in Italian Schools: Teachers’ Perception. International Journal for Inclusive Education. doi:10.1080/13603116.2013.802030 Ianes D., Demo H. & Zambotti F. (2013) Integration in Italian schools: teachers' perceptions regarding day-to-day practice and its effectiveness. International Journal for Inclusive Education. doi:10.1080/13603116.2013.802030 Kuckartz U. (2014) A qualitative text analysis. London, Sage Nes, K. (2014). Inclusive Education in Norway: Historical Roots and Present Challenges. Journal of special education research, 2(2), 81-86. doi: 10.6033/specialeducation.2.81 Nes K., Demo H. & Ianes D.(2017) Inclusion at risk? Push and pull-out phenomena in inclusive school systems: The Italian and Norwegian experiences. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(2), 111-129. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1362045 Schreier M. (2012). Qualitative Content Analysis. London, Sage. Wendelborg & Tøssebro (2011) Educational Arrangements and Social Participation with Peers Amongst Children with Disabilities in Regular Schools. International Journal of Inclusive Education 15(5), 497–512. doi: 10.1080/13603110903131739.
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