04 SES 12 A, Engaging Students In Inclusive Non-Standard Educational Activities
Improving school inclusion is a challenge on the agenda of major international organizations (Unesco, 2017).
Music is one of the facilitators that has received attention in special educational research to enhance school inclusion particularly in the case of students with special educational needs/SEN (Adamek & Darrow, 2010). The experience of sound, in fact, promotes an integral development of the person (Koelsch & Friederici, 2003; Hallam & Council, 2015), cognitive (Patel, 2010) linguistic (Kraus & Chandrasekaran, 2010) and mathematical processes (Vaughn, 2000), reading skills (Flaugnacco et al. 2015), well-being, self-esteem and the motivation to socialise (Kirschner & Tomasello, 2010;.
Music education is considered effective in the transformation of educational systems (Unesco-Kaces, 2010), and the presence of music is considered both an indicator of inclusive practices (Booth & Ainscow, 2014) and a factor of "human functioning" (WHO, 2001-2017).
According to Nussbaum (2011), music promotes the education of responsible citizens and in the United States, the role of music in the “wellrounded-education” of students is legally recognised in the‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ (Darrow, 2016).
Neuroscience has also shown that the neuronal network of language is closely connected to the network of musical skills (Patel, 2010). In a meta-analysis (Gordon et al., 2015), the positive effect of music training on reading emerges. It has been shown that making music systematically modifies important aspects of brain function and structure and enhances working memory, concentration and attention (Rolka & Silverman, 2015).
In the Italian secondary school, besides general music education, music is also taught individually since the optional subject "musical instrument" has been introduced to integrate and enrich interdisciplinary education (Law 124/1999).
Musical-instrument teachers, just as all school teachers, are required to sponsor inclusive education and to implement individualised teaching, with particular attention to inclusion of pupils with SEN.
Although the enhancement of music at school represents an opportunity for inclusion, the approach to musical-instrument teaching is not always aligned with the inclusive vision of the Italian school (Chiappetta Cajola & Rizzo, 2019).
In particular, the attitude generally assumed by musical-instrument teachers manifests an exclusive vision of music teaching, more appropriate to sectorial university training than to secondary school education.
This attitude proves to be a serious obstacle to the inclusion of pupils with SEN, especially when access to musical-instrument classes is limited due to a selective interpretation of the mandatory admission tests for potential students wishing to enrol. The lack of a deliberately inclusive assessment policy in these tests (Hockins, 2010) effectively inhibits the access of pupils with SEN.
Currently, we do not know the number of students with SEN enrolled in musical-instrument classes and there is no framework, even partial, of the organization and evaluation criteria of the admission tests adopted by schools for these students. Likewise, no data is available on the contents or organizational aspects of the lesson plans adopted for those SEN students who manage to be admitted. Therefore, the research addresses the problem of how to offer musical-instrument teachers in secondary schools efficient organizational and didactic aids in order to facilitate inclusive processes both in the music class and in the school curriculum.
G1: explore current practice in the assessment of students with SEN wishing to enrol in musical-instrument classes, both in terms of the organisation of the admission tests and the assessment criteria used.
G2: document the didactic-evaluation methods activated in those schools that facilitate instrumental learning and participation in ensemble music activities for students with SEN.
G3: define "guidelines" for the construction of inclusive models for musical-instrument teaching at school.
A theoretical/exploratory methodology with a mixed-methods approach, (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) is adopted. The quantitative survey will make use of a web survey to detect: number of musical-instrument courses attended by students with SEN; criteria and methods used for the administration of admission tests; existing didactic and evaluation approaches with an inclusive perspective; training of instrumental teachers in school inclusion related topics. The data will be analysed according to the methods of descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. The qualitative analysis will be carried out by: • a focus group composed of a research group and secondary school teachers with experience in the field of inclusive musical-instrument teaching. The members of the focus group will meet on the Teams platform for four meetings as of 12 February 2021; • documentary analysis of didactic programs; • face to face interviews with selected school principals aimed at highlighting policies and practices that enhance music for inclusive governance. The qualitative data will be analysed in relation to inclusive indicators and in the perspective of "human functioning", considering the intersections between the general Curricular Teaching Plan for musical-instrument subjects, the Individualised Educational Plans (PEI) for students with disabilities and the Personalised Didactic Plans (PDP) for students with specific learning disorders. The sample is represented by all Italian schools where the musical instrument is a school subject (no. 1,845). The project was started in January 2020 and is expected to run for two years. It is divided into four macro-phases: 1) development of the survey tools in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education and the relevant departments of music and inclusion of the Regional School Offices; 2) compilation and return of the web survey by the schools and subsequent quantitative analysis of the collected data; 3) identification of the components of the focus group (in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Education and the Regional School Offices), creation of focus groups, interviews with school principals, acquisition of documentation and qualitative data analysis; 4) writing of the report and national and international dissemination of the results.
The COVID-19 emergency has greatly slowed down the shared development of the questionnaire and its distribution to the schools. The questionnaire has been drafted in two steps: • the research group developed a first version that was sent to the Regional School Offices to the attention of their referents for music and inclusion (June 2020); • the referents of the Regional School Offices returned their observations (September 2020), following which the final version was drawn up (October 2020). The final version of the questionnaire was implemented on the Limesurvey platform and it was sent to schools in November 2020. The schools have started to respond and the closure of the quantitative survey is scheduled for 10 February 2021. The questionnaire is addressed to the school principal and is composed of five thematic sections and sixty-four structured questions. The results of the research are expected to give insight into the procedures currently adopted by secondary schools for the admission and assessment of students - and potential students - with SEN in their musical-instrument classes. The results of the research are intended to lay the foundation for the draft of ‘national guidelines’, in support of the governance of secondary schools, with the aim of promoting increasingly efficient policies for inclusive teaching and assessment in musical-instrument classes.
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