04 SES 17 E, Students’ Practices and Perspectives regarding Assistance in Inclusive Schools – Analyzing Spatial and Power Relations in different European Countries
The paper presents results of an ethnographic study on the production of school and classroom order in German primary schools with paraprofessional assistance. The production of inclusion and exclusion by students, teachers and paraprofessionals takes place along norms of student’s achievement and behaviour and in the context of socially relevant difference categories and power structures. The study reveals societal structures of power and inequality (Ehrenberg/Lindmeier 2019) connected closely to the production of inclusion and exclusion, equality and difference. The results do not only point to social but to curricular inclusion and exclusion concerning the participation in education and learning. Paraprofessional assistance has been established as a human resource for children attested with special educational needs in German schools. In Germany, for legal reasons paraprofessional assistance is personally assigned to one child or a small group of children instead of the whole class. Despite not being part of the teaching team, paraprofessionals become part of school and classroom order. The consequences are not only challenges in multiprofessional cooperation of classroom staff and paraprofessionals, but also an impact on student’s acting and interaction (Lindmeier/Ehrenberg 2017). The perspective of students receiving paraprofessional assistance and their peers has not received much attention in research so far. Studies from the German-speaking and international context (Ehrenberg/Lücke 2017; Böing/Köpfer 2017; Broer et al. 2005) refer to a potentially difference-emphasizing and stigmatizing character of paraprofessional assistance connoted with a diffusive character of the paraprofessionals role and power of decision concerning a special group of children. The ethnographic approach in the presented study addresses the problem that verbal research methods exclude nonverbal children who are a notable target group in research contexts. Part of the study is the question how students obtain agency, which spaces of action they are given and how they use of these spaces. The research design does not see the students as passive adressees of assistance, but as active subjects. The study involves adult participants as part of the school and classroom order in which students interact, but focusses on the students’ spaces of action and their inclusion and exclusion. Referring to postcolonial theory (Spivak 1988) and to poststructurals references of subjectivation, recognition (Butler 1997) and power (Foucault 1982), ‘othering’ is used as a key concept to reconstruct processes of powerful constructions of subjects as ,different‘ in the context of hierarchic orders of difference and power (Riegel 2016; Lindmeier 2019).
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