20 SES 03, Inclusive Education Practices: From school to higher education
The purpose of the research was to investigate how teacher educators prepare their student teachers to work in the growing diversity in schools. The aim was to develop an understanding and knowledge of how our institute is preparing future teachers for inclusive practices. Research question: How are educational programs at the School of Education designed to prepare teachers for inclusive schools?
One of the major challenges for teachers in modern times is the continuous search for pedagogy and approaches to meet the growing diversity within inclusive schools. The growth of migration in Iceland is leading to increased population of pupils with different ethnic, linguistic and family backgrounds. Ideas of inclusion assume that every learner has equitable access to education and that schools organize learning spaces that accommodate everyone in the spirit of universal design. Facing these challenges, school systems and teachers have to consider how they can respond. Teachers are the key in developing inclusive practices and pedagogies in schools (Ainscow, 2008; Meijer, 2003) and they call for a support and methods to be able to teach the diverse groups of students in schools today. Inclusion is an on-going and never-ending process and needs to be a part in the whole preparation for the teachers´ job. The concept and idea of inclusion is grounded in the ideologies of social justice, democracy, human rights and the access to education for all.
This situation of diverse population and agreement on inclusive education in schools means that teacher educational practices must place emphasis on inclusive and multicultural education, and second language teaching (Banks, 2013). Teacher educators have to consider this challenge as they prepare student teachers to work in inclusive schools and classrooms educating diverse groups of students. Although the idea of inclusion regulates the curricula and education systems in many countries, the meaning is interpreted differently between countries and even professionals in the same country (Roos, 2018).
Globally the issue of teacher education is high on the policy agenda and move towards a more inclusive education system. Ideas of inclusion assume that every learner has equitable access to education and that schools organize learning spaces that accommodate everyone in the spirit of universal design (Hall, Meyer, & Rose, 2012). Teacher educators need to be constantly looking for effective ways of incorporating inclusive education as an integral part of the teacher education (Guðjónsdóttir, et. al., 2007). Teacher education must attend to this focus in two different ways, in the content area and what they teach, but also to the way they teach. It is important to look at the way of teaching, because it is generally accepted that students learn not only by listening to their educators, but also by having the opportunities to practice what is presented. Teacher education for inclusive practice has to focus on how to transform practice in schools to promote inclusion. Inclusive schools call for teachers who are able to foster inclusion, and do not only talk about it. It is therefore necessary that the goal in teacher education and the activities required contribute to inclusive practices. The student teachers have to have the opportunity to work with teachers in inclusive schools. They should also have opportunities to work on their teacher identity building their capacity through their studies at universities. Teachers’ abilities only become visible and effective through their actions and activities in real life (Hollenweger, Pantić, & Florian, 2015). Therefore it is important how inclusive practices are introduced to student teachers and that they have the opportunities to participate in real activities.
This was a qualitative study and data was collected through two different research methods; focus group meetings and document analyzing. Participants in the focus group meetings were educators from two different faculties at the school of education. The participant educators focus on educating student teachers for preschools, comprehensive schools and upper secondary schools and teach the core courses in pedagogy for teachers at each school level. E-mail was sent to all participants and they invited to participants. Six focus group meetings were conducted, with two to four participants in each group, or 15 participants all together. The meetings took 30 – 45 minutes each and the discussions were recorded and transcribed. The course catalogue for the schoolyear 2018-2019 was analyzed. It is well know that certain documents can provide a means of tracking the situation, the change that needs to happen and the development (Bowen, 2009). Therefore analyzing these documents can give an overview of the situation and indication for how to continue the development of the teacher education so it will better prepare student teachers to teach diverse groups of pupils in inclusive schools. The course catalog was read through, all course descriptions were read and analyzed according to the criteria. Document analysis generates data that are organized into major themes and categories (Labuschagne, 2003). A special focus was on the core courses of pedagogy and secondly we payed a special attention to the courses that each participant was teaching. The analytic process of document analyzing involves finding, selecting, making sense of and synthesizing the data that each document contains, and this we had in mind through the analyzing phase. We read the transcriptions from the focus group meetings and analyzed the data by grouping it using thematic approach and according to the research question and the theoretical framework. Looking especially for indicators of inclusion, teaching diverse groups of students and how the teaching considered the students in their planning and teaching. We also compared the data from the transcripts and the document analyzing looking for coherence.
In the presentation we will report on the entire data. The data has been grouped into what is taught in each course, the aim of the courses and teaching methods. Then each group is categorized according to the emerging themes. The preliminary findings indicate the educators are aware of the diverse student population in the Icelandic schools at all levels and most of the educators admit that they need to consider that. Some courses, mainly selective, focus on work in inclusive settings, how to teach students with Icelandic as a second language, and cultural differences. We also found courses that focus on multicultural education, and others were second language teaching is considered. In our findings the different ways student teachers at UI are prepared is obvious. In some course the focus is on how teachers can respond to the diverse student population in schools through different teaching and learning methods. Some teacher educators focus on their subject mainly, emphasizing the way how to best teach that particular subject while others are bringing in more technologies into their teaching. Both for the student teachers to use and also for student teachers to use in their teaching with their students. The findings is helping us understand how globalization and diversity in student population affect initial teacher education. We believe that we can collaborate about the matter as we create or develop educational programs that address the situation and prepare teachers for the future teaching.
Ainscow, M. (2008). Teaching for diversity: The next big challenge. In F. M. Connelly, M. F. He, & J. A. Phillion (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of curriculum and instruction. London: SAGE Publications. Banks, J. A. (2013). Multicultural Education: Characteristics and Goals. In J. A. Banks & C. A. McGee Banks (Eds.), Multicultural education. Issues and perspectives, 8th ed. (pp.3–23). New York: John Wiley and Sons. Bowen, G. A. (2009). 'Document Analysis as a Qualitative Research Method'. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2) pp. 27–40. DOI 10.3316/QRJ0902027. Guðjónsdóttir, H., Cacciattolo, M., Dakich, E., Dalmau, M. C., Davies, A., & Kelly, C. (2007). Transformative pathways: Inclusive pedagogies in teacher education. Journal of Research on Technology in Education (ISTE), 40(2), 165–182. Hall, T. E., Meyer, A. & Rose, D. H. (2012). Universal design for learning in the classroom: Practical applications. New York: Guilford Press. Hollenweger, J., Pantić, N., & Florian, L. (2015). Tool to upgrade teacher education practices for inclusive education. Brussels & Strasbourg: European Union & Council of Europe. Meijer, C. J. W. (Ed.) (2003). Inclusive education and classroom practices. Odense: Europen agency for development in special needs education. Roos, H. (2018). Inclusion in mathematics education: An ideology, a way of teaching, or both. Educational Studies in Mathematics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10649-018-9854-z Published online October 25th
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
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