04 SES 13 A, Social Interactions in Learning Situations: Initiatives taken by students with disabilities
The analysis of social interactions taking place in learning contexts provides us with precious information about cognitive and socio-emotional processes involved in learning. This has been well documented in the field of regular education (e.g., Mercer and Littleton, 2007), and continues to be a prolific research field, especially in the domain of technology-mediated interactions (e.g., Karabenick & Puustinen, 2013).
As regards students with disabilities, it is also important to consider social interactions in the analysis of learning process. Indeed, difficulties in social interactions may constitute a central characteristic of certain disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, or ASD) and they undoubtedly create obstacles to the teaching and learning processes of children and adolescents with disabilities. Curiously enough, only few studies have specifically focused on ecological learning settings such as classrooms to analyse the specifics of these students’ social interactions. Furthermore, within the inclusive education context, existing research mainly focuses on interactions initiated by teachers (e.g., Radford et al., 2015), teacher assistants (e.g., Giangreco, 2010), and peers (e.g., Nijs, Vlaskamp, & Maes, 2015); interactions initiated by the students with disabilities themselves have been much less explored (but see Räma, Kontu, & Pirttimaa, 2014, and Zorn & Puustinen, 2017). Therefore, the aim of this symposium is to put emphasis on this under-researched area. We will consider students identified with different disabilities (i.e., ASD, intellectual disabilities and profound intellectual and multiple disabilities or PIMD) and various contexts (different levels of schooling, educational systems, and learning situations).
The first paper will explore learning situations of French students with PIMD enrolled in medical educational institutes, with a specific focus on the emergence of intentionality. The second paper will examine interactional activities and behaviours of female students with an ASD (or possible ASD) in the Finnish comprehensive school context, with special attention given to the appearance of spontaneous communication. The third paper will provide a discourse analysis of the scaffolding processes developed by two triads of Mexican high school students with intellectual disabilities while they are working on academic collaborative, ICT-mediated tasks. The fourth paper, finally, will present a study on the help-seeking behaviour of French lower secondary school students with an ASD during scientific lessons, in both regular and resource classes.
With these four contributions, all of which analyse social interactions in learning situations, we wish to show the importance of paying attention to initiatives taken by students with disabilities since they allow us to highlight unsuspected behaviours and skills and show that these students should be considered as active and competent actors in their learning process. In other words, we believe that this symposium will contribute to opening new perspectives on research on students identified with disabilities.
Giangreco, M. F. (2010). One-to-one paraprofessionals for students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms: Is conventional wisdom wrong? Intellectual and developmental disabilities, 48, 1–13. Karabenick, S. & Puustinen, M. (2013). Advances in help-seeking research and applications: The role of emerging technologies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. Mercer, N., & Littleton, K. (2007). Dialogue and the development of children´s thinking. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. Nijs, S., Vlaskamp, C., & Maes, B. (2015). The nature of peer-directed behaviours in children with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities and its relationship with social scaffolding behaviours of the direct support worker. Child: Care, Health and Development, 42, 98-108. Radford, J., Bosanquet, P., Webster, R., & Blatchord, P. (2015). Scaffolding learning for independence: Clarifying teacher and teaching assistant roles for children with special educational needs. Learning and Instruction, 36, 1–10. Räma, I. Kontu, E., Pirttimaa, R. (2014) Communicative spontaneity in autism: exploring supportive prompts in an educational context. European journal of special needs education, 29(2), 184-199. Zorn, S., & Puustinen, M. (2017). L’aide aux apprentissages: le cas des collégiens avec un trouble du spectre de l’autisme et de leurs enseignants [Help for learning: the case of students with an autism spectrum disorder and theirs teachers in lower secondary school]. Recherches en Éducation, 30, 111-124.
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