04 SES 09 C, Creating Social And Educational Opportunities For Inclusion
In 1977, anticipating other countries, the Italian legislation legitimized students with and without disabilities to live side by side in the school by undertaking an inclusive process aimed at fostering relationships, learning and promoting attitudes of positive reciprocity between subjects involved. Thanks to this interaction, a path of awareness, understanding and acceptance can take place (Prater, 2006) suited to accompanying the recognition of the identity of each one (Canevaro et al., 2011) within relationships that are able to welcome every difference, especially those defined as 'special' (Ianes, 2006).
Forty years after the start of this process, the Italians, as reported by the data provided by the Serono-CENSIS Foundation Survey (2010), relating to the knowledge and attitudes towards disability, have declared that they know issues associated to disability in a inadequate way. It is also highlighted how, for many, there are still difficulties in interacting effectively with persons with disabilities and the belief that disability is a cause of strong social discrimination and discomfort in interpersonal relationships.
What remains to the Italians of these forty years of inclusive experience lived in the school? Is it possible to assert that the school has missed a fundamental educational goal also regarding the investments in terms of economic, human, and training resources?
The core is not the questioning of the inclusive paradigm, but the reflection on how this can achieve greater implementation. It is a call for the educational and planning professionalism of teachers in inclusive schools. Indeed, these, which represent the most effective means of dealing with discriminatory attitudes (UNESCO, 1994), are today urged to think about the issue of disability in a strategic way, as promoting greater knowledge and understanding of disability among all students involves benefits for society in general (Disability Right Commission, 2005), creating a full inclusion that must also respond to the need for education in knowledge and awareness of disability for all (Leicester, 2001). Therefore, schools can play a strategic role in promoting positive attitudes towards persons with disabilities: after all, it is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN, 2006) that gives schools a central part in strengthening positive attitudes from early age, promoting training programs to raise awareness of persons with disabilities and their rights.
Avoiding a reflection aimed at enhancing disability would mean depriving, in whole or in part, future Italian citizens of social and civic skills representing the most relevant ones without which no other can be built (Da Re, 2015).
The direction to follow could be outlined by those educational paths related to democratic citizenship and education of human rights aimed at building social and civic skills recognized by the European Union (2006) and Italian Constitution as fundamental for every citizen. However, it is necessary to note that these paths lack an essential visibility in order to be concretely realized, remaining confined to the sole intentions of the legislator, as overwhelmed by the curricula of the individual disciplines (Disability Right Commission, 2005).
In relation of the above considerations, the aims of the presented research are: 1) the design of a model composed by a curriculum, involving the topic of disability into the disciplines, and specific teaching proposals for the high school; 2) the evaluation of the effectiveness (follow up) of the model in modifying students' attitudes towards disability.
The project, began in September 2019, is still ongoing and this paper is focused on the first objective.
The research design is an action-research and has taken on a collaborative and participatory connotation since its inception on the basis of methods specific to action research (Colucci, 2005). The research-action approach has made it possible to combine expectations and objectives of scientific knowledge and institutional change (Bartels, Wittmayer, 2014; Stringer, 2014), enhancing scientific skills and knowledge on the one hand and experts and professionals on the one hand. other in integrated paths. Within the course, the conditions of self-reflection were promoted and supported by accompanying processes of self-organization and organizational learning (Coghlan, Brannick, 2014) and favoring greater proximity to phenomena. The research project is made up of a coordination and an operational group. The coordination group (5 persons) has the aim of outlining the purposes and phases of the project, overseeing the implementation times, and identifying the participants of the research-action. The operational group is made up of 10 teachers, selected based on territorial representativeness criteria, and has design and experimentation tasks.The phases in which the first part of the project relating to objective 1 is divided are as follows: I phase Critical analysis of existing training proposals regarding the subject in question Phase II Development of the model (alpha version), curriculum and specific teaching proposals. III phase Experimentation of the designs in the classes of the teachers involved in the operational group. IV phase Revision of the alpha version model, both of the curriculum and of the designs, in light of the results of phase III and elaboration of the beta version. V phase Experimentation of designs in classes other than those previously involved. VI phase Development of the model in its final version
This paper presents the results of the first part of a research: will be illustrated in detail a curriculum involving the topic of disability into the disciplines developed by the operating group. This curriculum represents the first attempt to introduce, in high school, a curriculum involving the topic of disability into the disciplines to support teachers, with a valuable framework, in designing didactical proposals in order to help students to develop positive attitudes towards disability. Inserting in the mainstream subjects the perspective of disability may allow students to develop both skills of each discipline involved and also those related to the social and civic area that represent the most relevant ones especially in this time characterized by a strong wave of criticism and questioning of the inclusive paradigm. In this way, the inclusive paradigm of the Italian school could find a new way through which can be further realized: after the access of students with disabilities into the mainstream education, after the actions that have arisen on a methodological and didactic level, the topic of disability could find a further legitimacy so to contribute to create a community able to build a school community that recognizes, welcomes and values differences and from which a future truly inclusive society originates.
Bartels K.P., Wittmayer J.M. (2014). “Symposium introduction: usable knowledge in practice. What action research has to offer to critical policy studies”. Critical policy studies, 8(4), 397-406. Canevaro A., D’Alonzo L., Ianes D. & Caldin R. (2011), L’integrazione scolastica nella percezione degli insegnanti, Trento: Erickson. Coghlan D., Brannick T. (2014). Understanding action research. Doing action research in your own organization. London: Sage. Colucci F. (2005). Edizione critica di: Kurt Lewin. La teoria, la ricerca, l’intervento. Bologna: Il Mulino. Da Re, F. (2015), Curricoli per competenze, http://www.francadare.it/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Curricolo_1_Ciclo_Indicazioni_2012.pdf (consultato il 13.07.2019). Equality and Human Rights Commission (2005), Disability Rights Commission (DRC), https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en (consultato il 20.08.2019). Fondazione Cesare Serono (2010), La percezione e la stima della disabilità: un’indagine del Censis, http://www.superando.it/2010/10/20/la-percezione-e-la-stima-della-disabilita-unindagine-del-censis/ (consultato il 13.07.2019). Ianes, D. (2006). La speciale normalità. Trento: Erickson. Leicester M. (2001), “A moral education in an Ethical System” in Journal of moral Education, vol.30(3), p. 251. Prater, M.A., Dyches, T.T.; Johnstun, M. (2006), “Teaching Students about Learning Disabilities through Children’s Literature” in. Intervention in School and Clinic, vol. 42(1), pp.14-24. Stringer E.T., (2014). Action Research. London: Sage. U.N.E.S.C.O., Dichiarazione di Salamanca, 1994. U.N., (2006). Convenzione sui diritti delle persone con disabilità. https://www.unicef.it/Allegati/Convenzione_diritti_persone_disabili.pdf (consultato il 13.07.2019).
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