04 SES 09 F, Collaborative Practices In And Out-Of-Class: What Is The Teachers’ Perspective?
The terms pull-out and push-out refer to situations in which some groups of students in regular schools learn in settings apart from their peers (Nes, Demo & Ianes 2017). It may be for the whole school day or only part of it. A typical situation is when students with a disability leave their class to follow part-time special-education programmes.
Italy and Norway are interesting countries for research on this issue because on one hand they share a similar long history of inclusive schooling and on the other hand recent research shows increasing pull-out and push-out phenomena (Nes, 2014; Nes, Demo & Ianes 2017). In Italy, most students with disabilities spend some hours of their school week outside of classes (Ianes et al. 2013) and, in Norway, most students with SEN spend some time out of class (Wendelborg & Tøssebro, 2011).
Another interesting aspect that emerges from research is that both learning in class and outside can take various forms and take place in different circumstances. Looking at push and pull out as a uniform phenomenon seems to be oversimplified. In fact, special-education-school-type solutions – as for example special rooms, special units with special teachers or even special and isolated activities within a mainstream class- seem to coexist with flexible adaptations within whole-class and group settings for all children (Buli-Holmberg & Jeyaprathaban 2016; D’Alessio 2013; Ianes & Demo 2015; Nes 2014). The main objective of this paper is to fill some research gaps about push and pull out in strongly inclusive-oriented school systems and to contribute in understanding if and how they represent a risk for inclusion.
Specifically, underinvestigated student groups, as for example students with minority language, need to be considered. Additionally, a qualitative approach that gives voice to teachers allows to get an insight into educational intentions and differentiated opinions that orient the organization of push and pull-out. Finally, lots of data on push and pull out consider the phenomenon in an isolated way, while some findings suggest that the meaning of the phenomenon changes dependently from the more general way the teaching context is organized (Buli-Holmberg & Jeyaprathaban 2016; Nes, Demo & Ianes 2017).
On this background, the project investigates lower secondary school teachers’ on push-and pull-out opinions in Italy and in Norway by means of (semi-) structured interviews based on vignettes.
The data for this study has been collected in both Italy and Norway during the fall of 2018 and the winter of 2019, after a pilot study in both countries. We have interviewed a sample of 20 lower secondary school teachers, 10 in each county, using vignettes that describe situations of push and pull out. Vignettes are short scenarios, in writing or pictures, with the purpose of stimulating responses (Hill, 1997). The use of vignettes can be useful to explore concrete situations and, to a large extent, avoid abstract concepts, by presenting a real-life situation and a persons’ judgement of that specific situation. According to Barter and Renold (1999), the use of vignettes may be especially useful when exploring topics without being too personal. In our study, the use of vignettes is purposeful since we are investigating teachers’ opinions on push and pull out actions in the school context. The vignettes gives us the possibility to explore these opinions without targeting the practice of the informant. For our interviews, we developed vignettes describing two different context situations in which different students leave/do not leave the class. The context situations were designed to fit both the Italian and the Norwegian school situation and included a general description of a class and its resources for special needs education. The first context describes an “average” class situation constructed on the bases of existing data regarding the use of teaching/learning methods in both countries. In this first context, the following cases were described as students leaving the class from time to time: student with multiple disabilities, student with a minority language, student with dyslexia and students seen to have challenging behavior or general learning difficulties. The second context instead is designed as very inclusive, integrating instruments and strategies that emerge from literature as being inclusive: in this case, students do not leave the class. For both contexts, teachers are asked to express their opinions on the presence/absence of push and pull out. Interviews are then transcribed in Italian and Norwegian and analyzed by means of Qualitative Content Analysis (Schreier, 2012). All interviews will be summarized though a summary table in which teacher’s answers are paraphrased in English. On the basis of the summary table, categories will be determined both inductively and deductively basing on the method described by Kuckartz (2012). All interviews will be coded through the emerged category system.
Overall expected outcome is to increase understanding of push- and pullout in inclusive school systems by seeing the phenomena from the teachers’ point of view. Even if variations and nuances in the answers are many, preliminary analysis of data from both countries suggest the following: 1) Most teachers understand the intentions for push and pull out in the vignette cases, even though they do not always agree. For instance for a pupil with dyslexia, respondents can understand why he is pulled out to practice, but say for instance that they would rather support him with ICT within class or that they are worried about his social inclusion if he is out of class a lot. 2) Teachers’ opinions on push and pull out vary according to category of pupils. To mention an example, if a student has multiple disabilities, it is understandable to pull her out sometimes, according to many teachers, contrary to how they typically view the boy with disturbing behavior; he needs to be in class to learn how to behave. 3) Most teachers’ opinions seem to be sensitive to the context in which push and pull out takes place. For example, many teachers claim that if two qualified teachers co-teach, as in one of the vignettes, the need to pull anyone out, is hardly there. But, some maintain that certain students always will need a smaller group or one-to-one lessons. Despite being small, the study will indicate similarities and differences between the two countries. Linguistic and cross-cultural challenges concerning interpretation of results will also be discussed. For instance, our work language is English, while our data are collected in Italian and Norwegian respectively. In addition to substantial results, we will sum up methodological issues and experiences in using a common vignette interview in a comparative project.
Barter C. & Renold E. (1999) The Use of Vignettes in Qualitative Research. Sociale Research Update, 25, retrieved in http://sru.soc.surrey.ac.uk/SRU25.html Buli-Holmberg J. & Jeyaprathaban S. (2016) Effective Practice in Inclusive and Special Needs Education, International Journal of Special Education 31 (1): 119–134. D’Alessio S. (2011) Inclusive Education in Italy: A critical Analysis of the policy of integrazione scolastica, Rotterdam: Sense Publisher Hill, M. (1997) Research Review: Participatory Research with Children, Child and Family Social Work, 2, pp.171-183 Kuckartz U. (2014) Qualitative Text Analysis. A Guide to Methods, Practice and Using Software London: Sage Ianes, D. & Demo H. (2015). Esserci o non esserci? Meccanismi di push e pull out nella realtà nell’integrazione scolastica italiana. In Quale scuola inclusiva in Italia?, edited by R. Viannello and S. Di Nuovo, 101–124. Trento: Erickson. (To be or not to be there? Mechanisms of push and pull out in the realty of school integration in Italy) Nes, K. (2014). Inclusive Education in Norway: Historical Roots and Present Challenges. Journal of special education research, Tokyo; Volum 2. (2) pp. 81-86. Nes K., Demo H. & Ianes D.(2017): Inclusion at risk? Push and pull-out phenomena in inclusive school systems: the Italian and Norwegian experiences, International Journal of Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1362045 Schreier, Margrit (2012). Qualitative content analysis in practice. London: Sage
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