04 SES 08 B, New Dilemmas And Potentialities Of Inclusive Teaching: A View From The Field
Inclusion is a major focus of government policies worldwide (Pijl et al., 1997). It is promoted by international agencies aiming to transform education systems in order to respond to the diversity of all learners. In Scotland, the National Framework for Inclusion (STEC, 2014) has been developed to support pre-service and qualified teachers to work inclusively to provide fair experiences to all learners (Barret et al., 2015). The Framework views inclusion as a process of increasing the participation of learners and decreasing exclusion from curricula and mainstream schools (Ainscow et al., 2006). It is also based on the approach of Inclusive Pedagogy (Florian and Black-Hawkins, 2011) which recognises and responds to children's possible difficulties while respecting their dignity (Barret et al., 2015).
This paper focuses on a collaborative study which aims to identify and map inclusive pedagogy across Scotland’s universities initial teacher education programmes. As such, it is of national and international importance. The study is supported by the Scottish Council of Deans of Education. Following the development of the National Framework for Inclusion (STEC, 2009 and updated 2014), the Scottish Universities Inclusion Group have been working to articulate and deliver consistent approaches to the promotion of inclusive pedagogy across initial teacher education courses in Scotland. This study is very important as there is currently a lot of discussion and enquiries about inclusion and the way additional support needs are addressed during initial teacher education. Also, there are concerns relating to current national debates about provision for children who require additional support. It is believed that this is a significant research exercise which aims to improve the quality of teaching in ITE in Scotland and is supported by the Scottish Council of Deans of Education. The eight Scottish Universities (University of West Scotland, University of Dundee, University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of Aberdeen, University of Stirling, University of Edinburgh, University of the Highlands and Islands) have collected data within their own context choosing the most appropriate methods for each context. This involved the use of questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and documentary analysis of course documentation.
This paper presents the results of the research study conducted at the University in Stirling in terms of the mapping exercise. The following questions will be addressed:
Where is inclusion and inclusive practice included in our teacher education programmes?
What is the academics’ view on teaching of inclusion and inclusive practice in our teacher education programmes?
How the visibility of the teaching about inclusion and inclusive practice can be increased within our teacher education programmes?
Academics who teach our ITE programme were invited to complete an online questionnaire and participate in a focus group. The mapping of practice was recorded using the Council of Europe’s ‘Tool to Upgrade Teacher Education Practices for Inclusive Education’ (Hollenweger, Pantic and Florian, 2015) to map inclusive teacher education practice and to identify and record how the principled approaches of the National Framework for Inclusion are evident in initial teacher education across Scotland. The tool uses an activity model that can be applied to examine the activities that are taking place on our courses, and the intended outcomes. Inclusive education is a major topic for both policy and practice and it is important that robust information about philosophy and practice is available in the light of ongoing Scottish Government and media engagement with the issue.
This is an ongoing study. The data have been collected and are currently being analised. Preliminary analysis of the questionnaires and the focus groups indicate that inclusion is embedded in our ITE programme, sometimes implicitly and other explicitly. According to most participants, our students respect the principles of inclusion, they are generally interested, and they want to develop their knowledge and skills as inclusive practitioners. Most colleagues replied that we should be more explicit about inclusion in our module documentation, and signpost it more effectively when teaching. Conclusions and findings, including recommendations for policy, will be reported at the conference. The findings will be of relevance to a European audience and will invite reflection on the practices of other European universities.
Ainscow, M., Booth, T. and Dyson, A. (2006) Improving Schools, Developing Inclusion. London: Routledge.
Barrett, L., Beaton, M., Head, G., McAuliffe, L., Moscardini, L., Spratt, J. and Sutherland, M. (2015) 'Developing inclusive practice in Scotland: the National Framework for Inclusion', Pastoral Care in Education, 33(3), pp. 180-187.
HOLLENWEGER, J., PANTIC, N and FLORIAN (2015) Tool to Upgrade Teacher Education Practices for Inclusive Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Retrieved from http://pjp-eu.coe.int/documents/1473702/8927135/Tool+to+Upgrade+Teacher+Education+Practices+for+Inclusive+Education/0cf28c1b-4f95-49ab-9fd3-de77b772ffed%20
Pijl, S. J., Meijer, C.J.W. and Hegarty, S. (ed) (1997) Inclusive education: a global agenda. London: Routledge.
STEC (2014) National Framework for Inclusion. Available at:
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Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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