ERG SES G 01, Inclusive Education
Theoretical framework and research question
Formal education is a broad concept, encompassing various forms of institutionalized training based on curricula with objectives defined by educational authorities. From the point of view of the educational process, the curriculum content of the textbooks prepared on the basis of the central curricula is still dominant (Brantlinger, 2004). Textbooks reflect the current dominant values, norms and attitudes of our society (Pogorzelska, 2016), represents the relationships which are considered to be natural and proper (Sleeter & Grant, 2003). Therefore, textbooks can play an important role in creating an image of a social group, by its textual and visual representation in the content (Hodkinson & Ghajarieh, 2014).
A realistic and non-prejudicial image of people with disabilities should be an important part of the curricula of public education institutions. It can help students understanding the needs and reality of these people. Textbooks can be considered as "tools" that help students to become familiar with the diversity of society, and its social and cultural contexts (Mc Kinney, 2005). Disability awareness in education can also help to establish an inclusive approach of the whole society. However, it is important to reveal the appearance of this topic in textbooks, as teachers often teach the different topic of their subjects based on the content of the books.
Over the last few years several textbooks were analysed in different countries in the world to look at the textual and visual representation of people with disability. The results revealed that the books do not represent social diversity, often reinforce disability-biased stereotypes showing people with disability alone in the context of their impairment, usually as people needing care and protection (Sleeter & Grant, 2003; Ruškus & Pocevičienė, 2006; Cheng & Beigi, 2011; Pogorzelska, 2016; Hodkinson, Ghajarieh , & Salami, 2018).
The theoretical framework of the present research is based on two premises, WHO definition of disability (WHO, 2014) and Tajfel & Turner’s social identity theory. According to these, we interpret disability as a complex phenomenon, which reflects the interaction between features of a person’s body and aspects of the society in which he or she lives. Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers (WHO, 2014). In this sense society plays an important role in creating appropriate conditions for people with disabilities. Consequently, it is inevitable to provide the younger generation with relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes towards people with disabilities to be able to change their world into a place where people with disabilities will meet social acceptance and understanding (Pogorzelska, 2016).
The present research aimed at identifying and critically analysing the presence of disability as curriculum content in the English as a Second Language (ESL) textbooks using in Hungarian public education. For the analysis we have chosen those ESL textbooks which are the most popular in Hungary. There were two different groups among the books: those that were written by English authors, and those which have Hungarian author.
In order to identify the discourse-level barriers and enablers of disability content in the ESL books in Hungary, we posed the following research questions:
-How does disability appear in the ESL textbooks and in what social context is it represented?
-How do the ESL textbooks teach the students to react to discrimination?
-How do the ESL textbooks promote students to face their own stereotypes?
-How do the two groups of books differ from each other in their disability content and conception?
-What are the similarities and differences in the representation of disability in the ESL textbooks used in different countries?
Methods To address the research questions, a content analysis of the sample English as a Foreign Language (ESL) books was conducted. Content analysis is a systematic, objective, quantitative examination of message characteristics (Neuendorf, 2017) intended for the analysis of message contents to unfold ‘what they mean to people, what they enable or prevent, and what the information conveyed by them does’ (Krippendorff, 1995, p. 2). The research examined the representation and perception of disability and people with disabilities in the ESL textbooks for primary schools used in the Hungarian educational system. The comprehensive aim of the research was to examine whether the ESL textbooks supported or represented prejudices or stereotypical ideas in respects of disability or disabled people. The analysis was based on 52 ESL textbooks for pupils aged 10–14. Within the study content, textual, visual and discourse analysis were applied. The research focused on finding the explicit and implicit message represented within the sample textbooks. In order to examine the disability-related messages in the ESL textbooks, the analysis first focused on the frequency and location of the images and the Hungarian words for disability in the content. The first phase of the research, the macro analysis, included each textbook being read page by page, searching for images and texts which referred to disability or disabled people. The numbers of occurrences were analysed using descriptive statistics. During this phase we calculated the absolute and the relative occurrence of each search term to reveal how frequently disability or disabled people were mentioned in the texts and appeared in the pictures. Within the microanalysis stage the relevant hits were analysed to identify how disability was located within the text and what conception of disability was represented in the text and in the images as well. As for revealing ‘hidden assumptions’ about disability and disabled people (Crawford, 2004, p. 21), we used linguistic analysis. In this procedure linguistic forms such as lexicon, agency and action, voice, verbs and adjectives (Ninnes, 2002) were analysed. Finally, the demarcated units were analysed how the constructed representation of disability might influence pupils’ concept of disabled people (Hodkinson, Ghajarieh , & Salami, 2018).
Conclusions Findings revealed that disability as curriculum content is presented in the ESL textbooks, but it appears in different proportions in the different sample books. As for all studied textbooks we found that the presentation of people with disabilities in the texts and visual material are extremely limited. Some of the sample books provide a ‘cultural silence’ (Crawford 2004, p. 1) as they lack any textual or visual representation of disability or disabled people. The analysis of the relevant context of the images resulted in some interesting data. The representation focuses on the specialities of disability but there is severe lack of images of people with disabilities presented in everyday situations, as individuals, integrated in society and as a part of a given socio-cultural environment. Comparing our data with the research on disability content of the other countries (England, Poland, Sweden, Iran, Lithuania) textbooks revealed that there are limited construct of disability in English and Iranian textbooks as well (Hodkinson, Ghajarieh , & Salami, 2018), people with disabilities are also underrepresentated in Polish and Swedish textbooks, although the authors of the teaching material put some efforts to present people with disability as successful, creative and independent people (Pogorzelska, 2016). Consequently, the limited representation of disability-related content in the textbooks, and the majority of the medical concept of disability in the text and the pictures do not promote the students to get to know various forms of disability, symptoms of discrimination or ways of combating it. A more coherent and consistent approach to disability in the Hungarian (and in the other countries’) textbooks is required to create the students an accessible framework through which they begin viewing the world around them with a critical eye toward accessibility and disability.
Brantlinger, E. (2004). The Big Glossies: How Textbooks Structure (Special) Education. In Partof the: Paper Session Reframing the Social Model of Disability: Theory, Pedagogy and Praxis. American Educational Research Association 2004 Annual Meeting. Cheng, K. K., & Beigi, A. B. (2011). Addressing Students with Disabilities in School Textbooks. Disability & Society , 26(2), 239-242. Crawford, K. (2004). Inter Cultural Education: the role of school textbook analysis in shaping a critical discourse on nation and society. Paper presented at the Pacific Circle Consortium 27th Annual Conference, Hong Kong, Institute of Education. 21st -23rd April 2004. Hodkinson, A., Ghajarieh , A., & Salami, A. (2018). An analysis of the cultural representation of disability in school textbooks in Iran and England. Journal of Education 3-13 International Journal of. Journal of Education 3-13 International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 46(1), 27-36. Hodkinson, A., & Ghajarieh, A. (2014). The curious case of impairment and the school textbook. Educationalfutures, 6(2), 54-66. Krippendorff, K. (1995). A tartalomelemzés módszertanának alapjai. . Budapest: Balassi Kiadó. McKinney , C. (2005.). McKinney C. Textbooks for diverse learners. A critical analysis of learning materials used in South African schools. HSRC Press. Neuendorf, K. (2017). The Content Analysis Guidebook. Second Edition. . SAGE Publications. Ninnes, P. (2002). Discursive Space(s) in Science Curriculum Materials in Canada, Australia and Aotearou/New Zealand. Journal of Curriculum Studies , 34(5), 557–570. Pogorzelska, M. (2016). Creating an image of people with disabilities in formal education. Analysis of the textbooks used in the chosen European countries. Studies in Global Ethics and Global Education, 5, 28-38. Ruškus , J., & Pocevičienė, R. (2006). What Lithuaninan Pupils Learn About Disbility: Analysis of attitudes and Content of Textbooks. In E. Bruillard, B. Aamotsbakken, S. Krudsen, M. Horsley, & (eds.), Caught in the Web or Lost in the Textbooks? (old.: 447-457). IARTEM. Sleeter, C., & Grant, C. (2003). Making choices for multicultural. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour. In S. Worchel , & W. Austin., Psychology of Intergroup Relations. (old.: 7–24). Chicago: IL: Nelson-Hall.
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