04 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
According to the UN-CRPD State Parties are obliged to strengthen the rights of children with disabilities and to emphasize the importance of their comprehensive development within an inclusive school system (United Nations, 2006). In order to implement inclusive education within mainstream schools disabled children need support in many daily activities and rely on teachers and non-teaching staff. In this context, school assistants play a vital role in enabling pupils with disabilities to successfully engage in every aspect of compulsory and post compulsory education. Previous research showed that the tasks of school assistants range from supporting children with disabilities in basic care activities to educational activities such as supporting pupils’ learning and fostering peer interactions (Bacher et al., 2007; Fegert et al., 2016). In general, assistants spent over half of their day in a direct educational role, supporting students and interacting with them inside and outside the classroom (Webster et al., 2010). Another key finding of this study was that assistant’s interaction with pupils increased with increasing level of student’s needs. Concurrently, teacher’s interaction with the children decreased. Moreover, Webster et al. (2010) found a negative impact of assistant’s support on the academic progress of students with disabilities. The authors attributed these findings to the different levels of assistants’ qualification, because in many countries there is no minimum entry-level qualification required for working as an assistant. In addition, Bacher et al. (2007) showed that half of the assistants in their study did not feel adequately qualified for supporting pupils with disabilities in an individual setting, as well as for working with parents and collaborating with teachers.
These studies stressed that a corresponding training for school assistants is needed, in order to qualify them for their work with children with disabilities in mainstream schools. For providing an educational environment that takes care of all children, assistants need various and multiple professional competences. Based on these findings the Erasmus+ project IMAS II (Improving assistance in Inclusive Educational settings II) wants to enabling assistants to support the learning and development of children with disabilities in primary and secondary schools and to strengthen inclusion in schools according to the UN-CRPD (article 24). With the support of the Erasmus+ funding programme, this project aims to develop five web-based knowledge boxes for different topics that provide an easy and quick way for school assistants to expand their knowledge and to enhance inclusive competences for their practical work. The topics of the knowledge boxes are based on previous findings that assistants mostly support children with autism, learning disabilities, ADHD and multiple disabilities (Carter et al., 2009). Furthermore personal attitudes and views of disabilities and impairment need to be addressed.
In order to implement transnational expertise and perspectives, the partner consortium consists of five social service providers and three universities of the European Union as well as the umbrella organization EASPD. In addition, also school assistants who are working in this field as well as children with and without disabilities will be involved in the development process.
In order to meet the qualification requirements of school assistants and to strengthen inclusion in schools according to the UN-CRPD, the main research questions of the project are:
How can we improve the professional work of school assistants through the knowledge boxes?
Which aspects are necessary for improving their understanding of children with disabilities?
To what extend the knowledge boxes can contribute to the professional development of school assistants?
And how they can contribute to a more inclusive education of children with disabilities?
In accordance to previous findings, the knowledge boxes will cover the following topics: cognition and learning, behavior, communication and interaction, physical and sensory impairment as well as attitudes, perceptions and roles of school assistants. The knowledge boxes will contain user-friendly and practical material, including introductory and theoretical chapters, materials for self-assessment, materials with reflexive character, materials for observation and for the perception of disabilities, and finally action-oriented materials. Each knowledge box will adopt the same structure. Initially, it should be set up a theoretical foundation of symptoms, characteristics and diagnostics of different kinds of disabilities, causes will be pointed out, possibilities of therapy and support will be discussed and practical possibilities of interventions will be shown. Furthermore, the materials will offer useful tips to support learning and development. Advices for planning, implementing, monitoring learning and offering feedback are provided, different approaches to handle critical situations as well as to foster communication with peers, teachers and parents are shown. For the knowledge boxes, new content will be developed and existing materials will be used. The partners will consider existing materials and will enrich them with their expertise and those of assistants. For the knowledge boxes, different didactic methods will be used, e.g. online-based webinars, tools for observation and diagnostic, video sequences to show possible interventions in critical situations and they will also include narratives of experience from multiple perspectives, field reports, case studies and finally quizzes for assessment. In addition to school assistants students with and without disabilities will be involved in the development process. Within a process of participatory research, we want to offer all students the opportunity to express their views, experiences and wishes regarding to school assistance. Therefore, pupils will be trained to become researchers in order to pay attention on how joint learning could be supported and how school assistants could promote social relationships in class. Together with pupils, child-centered interviews and focus groups will be conducted. The method of Photo-Voice will be used in order to catch the pupils’ ideas and to include them in the development of the knowledge boxes. All materials will be available in three levels of complexity, in order to reach both: persons who want to start working as an assistant as well as already experienced school assistants working in the field for many years. In addition, all materials will be translated into English, German, Portuguese, Bulgarian and Slovak.
The project IMAS II aims to create five web-based knowledge boxes to support the work of school assistants, to sensitize them to questions of heterogeneity and diversity in the classroom and to implement knowledge and skills, in line with the requirements of Article 24 of the UN-CRPD. In order to ensure a high quality of the knowledge boxes, their impact on the competences of school assistants will be evaluated. For this purpose three evaluation tools (quantitative survey) for assistants, teachers and parents will be developed. Firstly, we want to capture the assessments of the school assistants who have already used the knowledge boxes. We expect that using the knowledge boxes contributes to expanding their knowledge and to improving inclusive skills for supporting children with disabilities. Secondly, we want to capture the assessments of teachers working with already trained assistants. We expect, that the assessment of the teachers shows an improvement in the cooperation with the assistants and that the assistants are considered to be more competent in dealing with the pupils by teachers. Thirdly, we want to collect feedback from the parents whose child is supported by an assistant. We expect that parents will assess the assistants as more competent in interacting with the students after having worked with the knowledge boxes. Finally, we assume that the development of the knowledge boxes will contribute to the professional development of school assistants and subsequently to a successful inclusive education.
Bacher, J., Pfaffenberger, M., & Pöschko, H. (2007). Arbeitssituation und Weiterbildungsbedarf von Schulassistent/innen: Endbericht. Hagenberg: Pfaffenberger und Pöschko Sozialforschung OG. Carter, E., Rourke, L., Sisco, L. & Pelsue D. (2009). Knowledge, Responsibilities, and Training Needs of Paraprofessionals in Elementary and Secondary Schools. Remedial and Special Education, 6 (30), 344-359. Fegert, J. M., Ziegenhain, U., Schönecker, L., & Meysen, T. (2016). Schulbegleitung als Beitrag zur Inklusion: Bestandsaufnahme und Rechtsexpertise (Schriftenreihe der Baden-Württemberg Stiftung Gesellschaft und Kultur Nr. 81). Stuttgart. Geist, E.-M. (2017). Qualifikation und Qualifizierung von Schulbegleiter(innen). In M. Laubner, B. Lindmeier, & A. Lübeck (Eds.), Schulbegleitung in der inklusiven Schule. Grundlagen und Praxishilfen (1st ed., pp. 50–65). Weinheim Basel: Beltz. Henn, K., Thurn, L., Besier, T., Künster, A., Fegert, J., & Ziegenhain, U. (2014). Schulbegleiter als Unterstützung von Inklusion im Schulwesen: Erhebung zur gegenwärtigen Situation von Schulbegleitern in Baden-Württemberg. Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie. 42 (6), 397-403. Schmidt, L. (2017). Schulische Assistenz - Ein Überblick über den Forschungsstand in Deutschland. Zeitschrift für Inklusion. (4). https://www.inklusion-online.net/index.php/inklusion-online/article/view/372 [30.10.2018]. Schönecker, L. & Meysen T. (2016). Rechtsfragen in der Praxis der Schulbegleitung. In Baden-Württemberg Stiftung GmbH (Eds.), Schulbegleitung als Beitrag zur Inklusion (pp. 22-98) Stuttgart: Schriftenreihe der Baden-Württemberg. Sharma U. & Salend, S. (2016). Teaching Assistants in Inclusive Classrooms: A Systematic Analysis of the International Research. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 8 (41), 118-134. United Nations (2006). United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convention_accessible_pdf.pdf [20.12.2018]. University of Graz (2018). IMAS “Improving Assistance in Inclusive Educational Settings”. https://erziehungs-bildungswissenschaft.uni-graz.at/de/institut/arbeitsbereich-integrationspaedagogik-und-heilpaedagogische-psychologie/forschung/imas-improving-assistance-in-inclusive-educational-settings/ [20.12.2018]. Webster, R., Blatchford, P., Bassett, P., Brown, P., Martin, C., & Russell, A. (2010). Double Standards and first principles: framing teaching assistant support for pupils with special educational needs. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25 (4), 319–336.
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
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
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Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
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Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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