04 SES 09 B, Identifying And Reducing Exclusionary Pressures In Education
European countries have been grappling with the implementation of inclusive education in policy and practice for decades. Inclusive education policies have been evolving over the years, approaching “inclusion” not only for children with special educational needs, but all children marginalized in education (Booth, 2005). Nonetheless, different diversity approaches and types of inclusive education exist across Europe (Messiou et al., 2020), that might include some students but still fail others (Baysu et al, 2020). One underlying reason behind this contradiction might be that the understanding of diversity, which underpins educational actions, often remains deficit-oriented and one-dimensional in policy, practice and research (Migliarini et al., 2019). This way, categories of difference are strengthened, and students are further marginalized when not fitting into a specific category (Messiou, 2017, p. 154). Moreover, ethnic and minority students are often overrepresented in special educational learning tracks (Mahon-Reynolds & Parker, 2016). Consequently, there is growing interest in addressing inclusion and exclusion at the crossroads of ability, race, class gender, etc. (Besic, 2020; Artiles, Kozleski, & Waitoller, 2011).
These European and global worries are highly relevant for Austria too. Historically, Austrian education has been developing measures for students identified as ‘special educational needs’, ‘foreigner/migrant’ and/or speaking other languages than German. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Austria in 2008, was the most crucial impetus for inclusive policy developments. Nonetheless, a third of the Austrian student population diagnosed with special needs remains in segregated institutions (Buchner & Proyer, 2020). This situation plays out significantly disadvantageous for students who are also second language learners of German. For instance, in 2020, twice as many children of Turkish origin (3.2 percent) attended special schools in Austria as opposed to 1.6 percent in primary schools (Statistik Austria, 2020, p. 46). Therefore, it is interesting to study how diversity approaches in Austrian classrooms are understood and enacted today, in a system that historically has been separating identities and educational actions. Thus, we analyse one central, innovative school, and two more traditional, peripheral schools; and shed light on similarities and differences in their enactments of diversity approaches. We also discuss how an intersectional view might illuminate inclusive and exclusive teaching practices better. Our study poses the questions:
1) To what extent do teachers’ diversity approaches enacted through classroom practices reflect students’ identities and educational opportunities?
2) How can an intersectional view of teachers’ diversity approaches serve as a means to better understand inclusion or exclusion in the classroom ?
Theoretically, we apply intersectionality and we mobilize it in the context of diversity, exclusion and inclusion in the classroom (Besic, 2020). First, we turn to feminist intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991; Hancock, 2016) in theorizing students’ identities and (non)visibility in education. In this understanding, students cannot simply be understood through a single tenet of diversity, but identity markers come together in particular ways in their lives that position them at different intersections of opportunities in the classroom. Intersectionality redefines relationships between categories of difference since they “mutually construct each other” (Hancock, 2016, p. 20). Secondly, intersectionality aims at making visible complex identities that previously were deemed invisible (Hancock, 2016, p. 33). In this regard, we analyse how students’ intersected identities are taken into account in classroom practices, what is made visible and what remains invisible.
We present a multi-site case study (Burgess et al., 1994) where three cases have been assembled from our previous studies (Study 1: Wagner, 2019; Study 2: Szelei, 2020) conducted in the same context and both on questions of diversity and inclusion. This approach was used in order to identify key issues regarding teachers’ approaches to diversity across different sites and times, as well as to pinpoint particularities pertaining to one site (Burgess et al., 1994). The accumulation of the cases was also useful in providing new aspects from the point of view of intersectionality, and in making connections between the cases that the previous individual studies did not allow for (Suri, 2013, p. 889). Assembling the cases of the two different studies into one was possible since the single studies were conducted on similar issues (diversity and inclusion), and in the same context. The schools were situated in an urban area in an Austrian city. Whereas school A (Study 1 and Study 2) could be found in the affluent city center, school B (Study 1) and school C (Study 2) served neighborhoods at the periphery of the metropole. The studies shared some crucial perspectives that allowed for a adding them into a shared analysis as multiple cases: a) the socio-cultural constructedness of diversity (Annamma, Connor & Ferri, 2016), b) the attention to how underlying meaning-making processes of diversity might interrelate with educational practices, and c) a critical view on how school practices contribute to inclusion/exclusion in schools. Data consists of observations of classroom practices and school life, as well as semi-structured interviews with teachers and pedagogical support staff. The analysis followed a three-staged approach. First, interviews and field-notes in the single studies were coded through by focusing on what diversity tenets were made visible and invisible in classroom practices. Secondly, observational data was further focused on and analysed according to diversity tenets and corresponding educational opportunities and norms in the classroom. The two researchers then compared and contrasted codes for diversity tenets in order to highlight similarities and differences across the sites, and discuss findings from an intersectional point of view. Synthesising the findings, we present our findings in narrative accounts (Suri, 2013), and next to demonstrating the core diversity approaches, we also show key events in the classroom.
We found that teachers showed an awareness towards multiple dimensions of identity and tried to respond to individual learning needs. However, while teachers recognised intersecting student identities, they were less aware of how such positioning is connected to accessing quality education and how practices contribute to marginalisation. Teachers continued to compare their students with established, hegemonic notions of language status, social background or cognitive-behavioural skills. In this sense, multilingualism in all schools was mostly understood as German language proficiency, and students’ languages were a lot less visible. However, we also found that while multilingualism and multiculturalism (Study 1, School B) were seen as critical angles of explaining educational underachievement and social exclusion, in other contexts, the perceived prioritised relevance of social disadvantage overwrote recognising linguistic and cultural diversity (Study 2, School C). This shows how diversity understandings drastically differ depending on the given settings and that diversity markers are used in complex ways to exclude. Strikingly, in School B, Study 1 we saw how the status of learning disability overshadowed students’ needs for language support, while in School C, Study 2, a child’s hearing impairment remained undetected as her teachers considered her status as a second language learner of German the primary obstacle to achievement. Hence, we add that even though the logics of diversity approaches differed, outcomes were strikingly similar, i.e. diversity was articulated as deficit while one tenet often overshadowed another. Therefore, this study reveals empirically-informed insights into the efforts and shortcomings of understandings around diversity, inclusion, and exclusion in the European context. It illuminates the complexities of student identities and points to the dangers of understanding students through single diversity tenets and relying on deficit assumptions hooked to categories of weaknesses rather than strengths. Conclusively, we suggest an intersectional approach to diversity in policy, practice and research.
Artiles, A., J., Kozleski, E., B., & Waitoller, F. R. (2011). Inclusive Education: Examining Equity on Five Continents. Cambridge: Harvard Education Press. Annamma, S.A., Connor, D. J., & Ferri, B.A. (2016). DisCrit: Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory in Education. New York: Teachers College Press. Bešić, E. (2020). Intersectionality: A pathway towards inclusive education?. Prospects, 49(3), 111-122. Booth, T. (2005). Keeping the Future Alive: Putting Inclusive Values into Education and Society? Paper presented at North – South Dialogue Conference, Delhi, accessed from https://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/future_alive.doc. Burgess, R. G., Pole, C. J., Evans, K., & Priestley, C. (1994). Four studies from one or one study from four? Multi-site case study research. In A. Bryman & R. G. Burgess (Eds.), Analyzing qualitative data (pp. 129-146). London, New York: Routledge. Buchner, T. & Proyer, M. (2020). From special to inclusive education policies in Austria . developments and implications for schools and teacher education. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43:1, 83-94. Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241-1299. Hancock, A. M. (2016). Intersectionality: An Intellectual History. Oxford University Press. Mahon Reyolds, C., & Parker, L. (2016). The Overrepresentation of Students of Color with Learning Disabilities: How “Working Identity” Plays a Role in the School-to-Prison Pipeline. In D. J Connor, B. Ferri & S. Annamma (Eds.), DisCrit: Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory in Education (pp. 145-153). Messiou, K. (2017). Research in the field of inclusive education: time for a rethink?. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(2), 146-159. Migliarini, V., Stinson, C., & D’Alessio, S., (2019). ‘SENitizing’ migrant children in inclusive settings: exploring the impact of the Salamanca Statement thinking in Italy and the United States. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 23(7-8), 754-767. Statistik Austria, (2020). Migration and Integration: Numbers, Data, Indicators, available at: https://www.integrationsfonds.at/fileadmin/user_upload/MigInt_2020.pdf. Suri, H. (2013). Epistemological pluralism in research synthesis methods. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(7), 889-911. Szelei, N. (2020). Exploring cultural diversity in schools: Conceptualisations, practices and professional development in Portugal and Austria. PhD dissertation. Innsbruck: University of Innsbruck. Wagner, J. (2019). Struggling for Educational Justice in Disabling Societies: A Multi-Sited School-Based Ethnography of Inclusive Policies and Practices in Poland, Austria and Germany. M. Schratz, H. Cervinkova, et al. (Eds.), European Doctorate in Teacher Education: Researching Policy and Practice (pp. 206-219). Wroclaw: University of Lower Silesia Academic.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.