04 SES 09 F, Collaborative Practices In And Out-Of-Class: What Is The Teachers’ Perspective?
The overall purpose is to investigate how teachers and other educators through their work and collaboration handle the dilemmas related to both inclusion and exclusion processes in view of the political goal of developing inclusive schools.
How does teachers’ and other educators’ collaboration both inside and outside the classroom contribute to inclusive school development?
The starting point of the research project is to study public schools as a social practice consisting of several sub-practices (Feldman 2003). Practice taking place in classrooms is a sub-practise, which is connected and interrelated to other sub-practices, e.g. practices taking place at different types of meetings. By examining different sub-practices, their relations and connections, it becomes possible to gain knowledge about how these various sub-practices contribute to producing and reproducing a situated social order, limiting students’ possibilities of participation. Thus, inclusion is not a matter of specific actors' partial practice, but about the many different sub-practices and negotiations producing and reproducing a given social order (Hansen et al., 2018). Following, we shift focus from the discussion of how special education can be activated in general education to a question of how collaboration between teachers and other educators, both in classroom practice – including teaching - and in practices outside the classroom, has an impact on inclusive school development.
We define a social practice as a practice producing and reproducing norms, rules, meaning and routines through social processes, creating a social order, which represent both individuality and a collective social identity (Bjerre 2015; Giddens 1984; Hansen 2012, 2016; Laclau 1996; Latour 2005, 2006; Lave & Wenger 2003; Bourdieu& Wacquant 1992). The constitution of social order is the result of negotiations between individuality and collectivity and even more specific; negotiations of how much diversity a social practice can accommodate before the social structure is experienced as threatened (Latour 2005, Laclau 1996). Thereby inclusion is limited (Hansen 2012, 2016, Hansen et al. 2018).
From a sociological point of view, inclusion and exclusion are two interrelated and interdependent processes. According to Laclau (Laclau 1996) it is not possible to consider inclusion in itself by excluding its otherness: exclusion. Neither by defining a normative limit to inclusion, nor by avoiding limits and making it unambiguous. From this point of view, it is not possible to understand the concept of inclusion without its otherness, exclusion, and no social practise could never be limitless (Hansen 2012. 2016). The main task of actors in a social practice is therefore to delineate it in order to ensure its’ cohesion (Latour 2005). Defining inclusion as a sociological concept - and not as an educational or didactic concept – teachers and other educators have to both ensure students’ right to participation and to support students’ ability to participate. Inclusion is therefore a question of both rights and obligation and of diversity and ability.
Inclusion and exclusion processes are in themselves invisible. They become the traces of the actors’ delineation of a social practice in order to create a situated social order. Choosing to follow teachers and other educators in their work and collaboration make them the entrance for us to identify inclusion and exclusion processes as traces of their task of creating a situated social order. Thus, we have enquired what makes up the delineation of social practice in a school context focusing on teachers’ and other educators’ contribution to this delineation through their work and collaboration. Investigating the constitution of a situated social order through collaborative processes in schools, makes it possible to identify the social patterns that exclude those differences that would allow the creation of a more inclusive learning environment.
The project rund for four years (2016-2019). During six months of fieldwork, we followed six different schools and twelve classes (second and eighth grade). We observed each classroom for one week, using video and field notes, and teachers and other educators’ collaboration on various kinds of meetings, in total 72 meetings. We also did 27 semi-structured interviews with particular students, teachers and other educators. All audio recordings of meetings as well as interviews are transcribed. Our approach to fieldwork is influenced by ethnomethodology (Goffmann, 1964), grounded theory (Clarke, 2005), symbolic interactionism (Becker, 1998) discourse theory (Laclau and Mouffe 1985) and ANT (Latour 2005). In the analysis process, inspired by A. Clarkes method Situational Analysis (2005), we mapped data from the 12 classrooms, the 27 interviews and 72 meetings. The questions that have guided us in mapping the data are: - Goals and interests in collaborative processes - Themes, focus and content in collaborative processes - Who collaborates and negotiates? - How do the professionals collaborate and negotiate? - What are the results of collaborative processes and negotiations related to students’ participation? It has been a point not to define in advance, what sort of social aggregates, acting and negotiations provide the context of creating a social order (Latour 2006). Latour argues that actors do the sociology for the sociologists and that we as scientists will always be one reflexive loop behind those, we study (Latour 2005, p. 32). Following, the idea is to be open minded in our fieldwork to all kinds of acting, saying, negotiations and social aggregates contributing to create a social order through the delineation of a specific social practice. Because no human being can step outside her or his humanity and view the world from no position at all (Burr 1995), the idea of openness is to challenge ourselves to be curious and surprised and thereby challenge our implicit perspectives as researchers. In order to support this process we use video and audio recording. All researchers have thereby access to all data and analyzing data has been a collective process shifting between analyzing data in depth and across. Searching for tendencies, it has as well been an ambition that the analysis is sensitive to both complexity and differences. We’ve worked inductively through following interrelated phases: • Fieldwork/interviews • Mapping data: identify general tendencies • Conceptualizing • Theorizing collaboration and collaborative processes • Analyzing constructed concepts and theory using general theory
In a Danish school context, we organize collaborative processes in order to support teachers’ teaching practice to be more inclusive. Collaborative processes in our data normally start with a teacher’s worries of a student, colleagues identifying the problem and suggesting strategies at meetings, and then the teacher’s way of handling and implementing new ideas or strategies. We have identified following tendencies: The connection between classroom-practice and meeting-practice is in general weak or not existing. In terms of these weak connections, we find that the information flow between the sub-practices does not has an impact on inclusive school development. Collaborative negotiations between individuality and collectively mostly end up with strategies, targeting and compensating the student, seldom involving the teachers’ classroom-practice. The significance of collaboration is to reproduce norms, rules, meaning, and routines. Following, the tendency is to focus more on students’ obligation and ability to commit themselves to the community and less focus on how the community can be more accessible for the students by supporting diversity and students’ rights. In short, we find no shift in the boundary between inclusion and exclusion for the benefit of students' possibilities of participation. Collaboration is in general informal and arbitrary. Teachers and other educators negotiate about balancing between individuality and collectivity through discussions about rights and obligation, diversity and ability. These negotiations run over time, in different contexts and by different professionals. We are not able to identify formal structures for when to follow up on concrete efforts or how to evaluate them. How to understand student’s situation varies continuously, different efforts are tried over time. It is unclear when a problematic situation is resolved, who can and should decide for how long an effort should last, or when is it possible to evaluate and assess whether it has had a beneficial effect.
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