04 SES 08 C, Teacher Training
Parallel Paper Session
The European Agency on the Development of Special Needs Education (2006) reports that dealing with differences and diversity is one of the biggest problems faced by schools across Europe, with behavior, social and/or emotional problems presenting the biggest challenges for inclusion. In addition, it is increasingly argued that future progress in addressing the dilemmas of access and equity in education requires changes in thinking about provision and practice. There is a growing international recognition that the reform of teacher education is essential to this process (European Agency 2011) but little is known about the curricular reforms that support teacher education for inclusive education. Even less is known about how those reforms are enacted in classrooms.
This paper reports on a follow up study of beginning teachers, newly graduated from the a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) course that was developed specifically to ensure that beginning teachers have an awareness and understanding of the educational and social problems / issues that can affect children’s learning, and that they develop strategies to respond to such difficulties. The course was informed by a concept of inclusive pedagogy (Florian & Black Hawkins, 2010; Florian 2009, Florian and Kershner 2009, Florian and Linklater, 2010) which offers a novel perspective on teaching and learning focusing on how achievements in learning are realised through participation in the classroom community. This approach acknowledges the diversity of learners whilst avoiding the marginalisation that can occur when some students are identified as different.
By rejecting a model which relies on categorising children into discrete and fixed groups, thereby treating some groups of children as different, inclusive pedagogy encourages teachers to view difficulties in learning as problems for themselves as teachers. The PGDE course supports them to (a) understand difference as an ordinary aspect of human development; (b) see themselves as qualified to teach all students; and (c) constantly seek new approaches to working collaboratively with specialists. Understanding how to respond to human difference whilst respecting the dignity of each child within the community of the classroom is a key element of the approach but it is also difficult to observe in practice. The follow -up study of was designed to explore how (if at all) the theoretical concepts of inclusive pedagogy were enacted in practice. The research questions were:
· To what extent can the pedagogies of new teachers be regarded as inclusive?
· Why, or why not, can they be seen as inclusive?
· To what extent, and how, does the school environment interact with the inclusive practices of new teachers
In order to address these questions, a framework exploring how the principles underpinning the course manifest in practice was developed and this provided the structure for thematic analysis of the data.
European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education. (2011) Teacher education for inclusion across Europe: A synthesis of policy and practice in 25 countries. Østre, Denmark: Author. European Agency for the Development of Special Needs Education. (2006). Inclusive education and classroom practice. Retrieved January 12, 2009, from http://www.european-agency.org/iecp/iecp_intro.htm Florian, L. & Black-Hawkins, K. (2011). Exploring Inclusive Pedagogy. British Educational Research Journal, 37(5), 813-828. Florian, L. & Linklater, H. (2010). Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education: Using Inclusive Pedagogy to Enhance Teaching and Learning for All. Cambridge Journal of Education, 40(4), 369-386. Florian, L. & Kershner, R., 2009. Inclusive pedagogy. In: H. Daniels, H. Lauder and J. Portet, eds, Values and Educational Policy: A Critical Perspective. London: Routledge, pp. 173-183.
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