04 SES 06 E, Potentials And Trends Of Inclusive Education: Comparing European Perspectives
Although inclusion tends to be understood as especially targeted to students with special educational needs (SEN) into mainstream classrooms, scholars pointed to a need to broaden this traditional understanding (UNESCO, 2009; Ainscow, Booth & Dyson, 2009). Recent studies (Messiou, 2012) demonstrate that in addition to students with SEN, other groups of students are also marginalized through practices and attitudes in schools. To effectively counter these processes of marginalization and to create an appropriate learning environment for students, school practices need to be reformed to support teachers and all students (Ainscow, 2016; Messiou et al., 2016; Messiou & Ainscow, 2015).
Since 2017, five countries (Austria, Denmark, England, Portugal and Spain) have been trying to do just that. Through participation in a EU-funded project, “Reaching the 'hard to reach': Inclusive responses to diversity through child-teacher dialogue” universities and primary schools have been collaborating to develop and implement inclusive primary school lesson plans that reach all students. Taking the concept of “Inclusive Inquiry” as its starting point, this project has been guided by the following question: How can we reach out to all learners, especially those that are seen as ‘hard to reach’ (Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘, 2018a)?
This research team intends to accomplish the following:
- Respond to learner diversity in inclusive ways through the active participation of children;
- enhance the access, participation and learning performance of all children, ensuring that no child is marginalised;
- use a research-based model of teacher professional development that encourages dialogue between children and teachers;
- design new techniques for generating the views of younger children, including ways of involving them in carrying out research in their schools; and,
- measure the impact of using such approaches on teachers’ thinking and practices, and on students’ engagement (attitudes and behaviours) (Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘, 2018a)
In a first cycle of this project (01/2018 to 06/2018), several guiding documents and materials were developed and translated into five languages (Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘, 2018b). The main achievements of this cycle were:
- A manual on how to train students to be student researchers, in order to gather information about effective learning strategies, and how to use these information in order to create a lesson that meets all the needs of a diverse classroom in cooperation with the student researchers (Guidance Manual for the Inclusive Inquiry: Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘, 2018c).
- Pupil voice toolkit that presents inclusive activities for primary school lessons was created (Pupil voice toolkit: Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘, 2018d).
In the current cycle (10/2018-05/2019), these guiding documents have been put to use in six schools in each country. Student researchers were trained to gather their classmates’ ideas about a perfect lesson, and lessons were designed in collaboration with three primary teachers and student researchers. In the next step, the three teachers implemented the lesson (one by one) while student researchers and the other two teacher colleagues observed it. After each lesson, the three teachers and the student researchers discussed the observed lesson and adjusted it in order to make it more inclusive. The adapted lesson was then implemented by the second teacher in his/her classroom followed by the same feedback-procedure and then by the third teacher.
This presentation focuses on the results of Cycle 2 in Austria and will answer the following questions:
- How do teachers train student researchers?
- What ideas do the student researchers gather to ensure all students’ learn?
- How do the students and teachers describe the process of planning-teaching-evaluating and the student-teacher dialogue about the adaption of the lessons?
In Cycle 2, qualitative and quantitative research methods are being used to understand students’ and teachers’ thinking throughout the project. During this presentation, we will focus only on the qualitative data. First, university staff observed the student researchers’ training and the students were then interviewed in order to gather information about the training. Next, the planned lessons, as well as their implementation and adaptation, were documented by university staff, teachers and student researchers. The university staff observed all three lessons and conducted interviews with four students afterwards to reflect on their learning process and their perception of the lesson. Additionally, the discussion between teachers and student researchers was taped. Once this was completed, group interviews with the teachers were conducted in order to reflect on the whole research project and what they had learned through their participation. From the piloting in Cycle 1, tentative conclusions could already be drawn and we will analyze if these conclusions can hold when implementing Inclusive Inquiry in more schools.
Asking students about their opinion of elements of the lesson fostered inclusion. Students shared their thoughts and their ideas were considered for future lessons, which made them feel heard. Choosing between tasks also made the lesson more inclusive. The mixture of already known tasks (routines) and new tasks was crucial, especially for students with weaker performance. These routines, it seems, offered comfort and eased learning. Cooperative elements in the lesson were seen as inclusive elements because students helped each other and it was easier for the teacher to choose where he/she was needed as an additional support. Cooperative learning methods and peer-assisted learning have been shown to have a positive impact on achievement (Hattie, 2008), however, sometimes teachers perceive them as being hard to implement (Buchs et al., 2017) Teachers described the process of working together to create “the perfect lesson” as enriching. They mentioned that they wanted to open up to each other more and expressed a desire for cooperation in lesson preparation. They also noted that it was helpful to receive peer-feedback about their lessons because their colleagues saw aspects that they themselves were not aware of while teaching. This is in line with other studies that show cooperation between teachers has a positive impact on teaching development (Watkins, 2007). An important caveat to this, though, is that teachers need time and space to successfully cooperate (Bešić et al., 2017; Friend 2008) Since currently we are in the middle of Cycle 2, only preliminary results can be reported. Teachers worked with the documents describing the process (training student researchers, planning-teaching-evaluating the lesson) receiving additional support through trainings. An important question to discuss will be how teachers can implement the inclusive inquiry without additional support given by the university.
Ainscow, M. (2016). Collaboration as a strategy for promoting equity in education: possibilities and barriers. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 1 (2), 159 – 172. Ainscow, M., Booth, A., & Dyson, A. (2009). Inclusion and the Standards Agenda: Negotiating Policy Pressures in England. In P. Hick & G. Thomas (Eds.), SAGE library of educational thought and practice. Inclusion and diversity in education (pp. 14–28). Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE. Bešić, E, Paleczek, L., Krammer, M. & Gasteiger-Klicpera, B. (2017). Inclusive practices at the teacher and class level: the experts’ view. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 32 (3), 329-345 DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2016.1240339 Friend, M. (2008). “Co-teaching: A Simple Solution That Isn’t Simple after All.” Journal of Curriculum and Instruction 2 (2): 9–19. Hattie, J. A. C. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. New York: Routledge. Messiou, K. (2012). Collaborating with children in exploring marginalization: an approach to inclusive education. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16 (12), 1311-1322. Messiou, K., & Ainscow, M. (2015). Responding to learner diversity: student views as catalyst for powerful teacher development? Teaching and Teacher Education, 51, 246-255. Messiou, K., Ainscow, M., Echeita, G. Goldrick, S. Hope, M. Paes, I. Sandoval, M., Simon, C. & Vitorino, T. (2016). Learning from differences: a strategy for teacher development in respect to student diversity. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 27 (1), 45-61. Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘ (2018a). Newsletter 1. February 2017. Retrieved from https://rehare533167368.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/re-harenewsletter1-feb-17.pdf Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘ (2018a). Re-HaRe Newsletter 3. Oktober 2018. Retrieved from https://rehare533167368.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/re-harenewsletter3-_oct18_german.pdf [20.11.2018]. Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘ (2018b). Re-HaRe Newsletter 3. Oktober 2018. Retrieved from https://rehare533167368.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/re-harenewsletter3-_oct18_english.pdf Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘ (2018c). Training student researchers to participate in Inclusive Inquiry: A guidance manual. Retrieved from https://rehare533167368.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/re_hare_drafttrainingstudentresearchers_english.pdf Reaching the ‚hard to reach‘ (2018d). Pupil Voice Toolkit. Retrieved from https://rehare533167368.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/re_hare_draft-pupil-voice-toolkit_english.pdf Watkins, A. (Herausgeber) (2007). Assessment in Inclusive Settings: Key Issues for Policy and Practice. Odense, Dänemark: European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. [11.07.2018]. UNESCO (2009). Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education. Paris: UNESCO.
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