04 SES 07 B, Doing well: Special Needs And Belonging In Inclusive Education
The model of inclusion has achieved significant relevance in the global educational agenda of different international organizations (UNICEF, UN, UNESCO) charged with ensuring that education reaches all children and young people of school age. With increasing force, inclusive education constitutes a fundamental paradigm that, by means of the processes of school improvement, facilitates the development of inclusive schools committed to equal opportunities, equity and social justice for all students (Ainscow, 2016; Clark, Dyson & Millward, 2018; Mitchell, 2017).
Indeed, the fourth Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, quality education, proposes the guarantee of an inclusive and equitable quality education for all. Thus, among the actions and goals stated in the Declaration of Incheon (2015), is highlighted the need for school education to be formed by inclusive environments that facilitate learning with all and for all.
In keeping with this goal, within the context of the Spanish state and, in particular, the Autonomous Community of the Region of Murcia, the schooling of students with permanent special educational needs who require individualized attention and significant adaptations of the curriculum is increasingly being delivered in the mainstream centres of Infant, Primary and Secondary Education.
Accordingly, in order to provide an educational response to those students who have traditionally been enrolled in specific special education centres because they could not be attended to with support in mainstream classrooms, a specific measure called the specialized open classroom has emerged regulated by an Order of 24 May 2010. This measure is enacted in the mainstream centres because it is based on the thesis that the mainstream context may be the best location for this group of students (Arnaiz, De Haro y Azorín, 2018; Booth, Simón, Sandoval, Echeita & Muñiz, 2015) and consists of a classroom that tries to construct a context best suited to the characteristics of these students and in such a way that, whenever possible, and in pre-planned sessions, the students participate in activities in which they are in constant interaction with classmates from the mainstream classroom in which they are enrolled, having experiences that encourage interaction and communication in a normalized context (Alcaraz, Escarbajal, Soto y Garrido, 2018).
The organization and operation of this specific measure of attention to diversity should not become a barrier or deterrent which could jeopardise the benefits of inclusive educational processes for students with permanent special educational needs.
For this reason, in this work, which is part of the research project Specific measures of attention to diversity: evaluation of specialized open classrooms in the Region of Murcia (Spain) subsidized by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competition (EDU2016-78102-R ), we propose to evaluate the organisation, functioning and educational response that is offered to students with permanent special educational needs in the mainstream centres of Infant, Primary and Secondary education in order to assess the level of their relationship with the postulates of inclusive education. The proposal presented aims to analyse the perception of the different educational actors involved in the specialized open classrooms (management teams, counsellors, teachers and non-teaching professionals) regarding the degree of inclusion of the students that are enrolled in them and, thus, answer the following questions:
Do the professionals of the educational centres consider that the students enrolled in the specialized open classrooms enrich the educational centre?
Do the professionals of the educational centres consider that the presence in the mainstream classroom of students enrolled in specialized open classrooms reduces the academic performance of other students?
To what extent do the professionals of the educational centres consider that the specialized open classrooms assist the inclusion of the students enrolled in them?
Participants During the academic year 2017-2018, in the Region of Murcia there were 101 specialized open classrooms which were distributed in 78 mainstream centres that teach the stages of Infant, Primary and Compulsory Secondary Education. The sample of participants of this study is formed by 365 professionals directly linked to the specialized open classrooms, specifically these belong to the following groups: (MT) Management Teams (17.2%, n = 62). (C) Counsellors (16.1%, n = 59). (SOC) Teaching staff of the open classrooms (28.7%, n = 105). (TOC) Tutors of the open classrooms (19.9%, n = 73). (TRC) Tutors of the reffering classroom (18%, n = 66). Research design This research follows the design of a quantitative, not experimental and short narrative type survey. Instruments and strategies of information analysis For the collection of information, questionnaires organized around the following dimensions were used: identification data, experience and training; organization and operation of the open classroom; planning and development of the intervention; evaluation. In this proposal we focus on the issues related to the dimension Evaluation. The items that make up this dimension follow a Likert-type scale format with four response options (1 = nothing, 2 = little, 3 = sufficient, and 4 = a lot). The data obtained have been analysed by means of descriptive statistics (means and frequencies) and, after determining that the data do not follow a normal distribution by means of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, nonparametric inferential tests have been applied (Kruskal-Wallis H and U of Mann-Whitney) to verify the existence of statistically significant differences between the assessments of the different educational actors participating in this research. These data have been processed by computer following the statistical package SPSS version 24.0.
In relation to the enrichment that the open classroom students generate in the mainstream centre, the different educational actors (MT[X=3.66]; C[X=3.44]; SOC[X=3.54]; TOC[X=3.75]; TRC[X=3.50]) considered that this group of students enriches between sufficient and a lot the educational centre in which they are enrolled. The test H Kruskal-Wallis test showed the existence of statistically significant differences (p=.011) and the Mann-Whitney U determined that these differences occur between: MT and C (p=.019), as well as between TOC and C (p<.000), SOC (p=.019) and TRC (p=.035). These results indicate that the management teams and the specialized open classroom tutors have a greater appreciation of the possibilities of enrichment than the other educational actors. In relation to whether the presence of specialized open classroom students in the mainstream classroom decreases the academic performance of the rest of the students, the different educational actors (MT[X=1.29]; C[X=1.29]; SOC[X=1.47]; TOC[X=1.38]; TRC[X=1.44]) assessed that the presence of these students in the mainstream classroom had little or no effect on their performance. These results decrease the belief that mainstream schools that welcome students with permanent special educational needs disadvantages the progress of the rest of the students due to the greater attention required on the part of the teacher by this type of student. In relation to whether the specialized open classroom assists the inclusion of the students enrolled in them, the different educational actors (MT[X=3.50]; C[X=3.37]; SOC[X=3.32]; TOC[X=3.15]; TRC[X=3.36]) considered that this measure assists sufficient and a lot the inclusion processes of these students. These results have shed light on the evaluation carried out by the educational actors that the specialized open classrooms a measure that helps the normalization of those students who cannot obtain an educational response in mainstream classrooms due to the intensity and nature of their special educational needs.
Ainscow, M. (2016). Diversity and Equity: A Global Educational Challenge. New Zeland Journal of Educational Studies, 51(2), 143-155. doi: 10.1007/s40841-016-0056-x. Alcaraz, S., Escarbajal, A., Soto, F.J., & Garrido, C.F. (2018, June 21). Estudio de las aulas abiertas especializadas de la Región de Murcia como entornos educativos normalizados e inclusivos. Paper presented at the IX Congreso Internacional de Psicología y Educación. Logroño: España. Arnaiz, P., De Haro, R. & Azorín, C. M. (2018). Redes de apoyo y colaboración para la mejora de la Educación Inclusiva. Revista de Currículum y Formación del Profesorado, 22(2), 29-49. Booth, T., Simón, C., Sandoval, M., Echeita, G. & Muñoz, Y. (2015). Guía para la Educación Inclusiva. Promoviendo el Aprendizaje y la Participación en las Escuelas: Nueva Edición Revisada y Ampliada. Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 13(3), 5-19. Clark, C., Dyson, A., & Millward, A. (2018). Towards Inclusive Schools? London: Routledge. Mitchell, D. (2017). Diversities in Education. Effective ways to reach all learners. London: Routledge. UNESCO (2015). Incheon Declaration: Education 2030: Towards Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Lifelong Learning for All. Paris: UNESCO.
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