02 SES 05 C, VET's Prestige, VET’s Students Career, Integration And Inclusion
Parallel Paper Session
This paper presents the preliminary findings of TILE: “Towards Inclusive Learning Environments In Vocational Education and Training”. This is a 24 month project funded by the European Commission under the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation Programme. There are four partner countries taking part (England, Finland, The Czech Republic, and Estonia). The aim of the project is to champion inclusive learning environments where students with special educational needs (SEN) enter into working life and further into wider society with a sense of ownership of their future. The research seeks to collect data which will be used in order to develop and pilot a tool in the format of a ‘Roadmap for Inclusion’ for use by professionals in VET learning environments. This new ‘Roadmap’ is based on the Index for Inclusion (Booth, Ainscow, Black-Hawkins, Vaughan, & Shaw, 2002) which was developed to foster inclusion in schools. The Roadmap will adapt the Index to create a tool targeted primarily at VET institution management, administration as well as teaching staff. The Roadmap is designed to cover three dimensions of inclusion: Policy, Culture and Practice.This paper will examine inclusion from two dimensions– Policy and Culture. The findings presented will draw on the results of a pilot of these two dimensions and their indicators which took place in each partner country.
There is an international recognition that the changing nature of the workplace places increased and varied demand upon vocational training establishments and the roles of VET teachers and trainers (Hirvonon, 2006; Mahlamäki-Kultanen, Susimetsä, & Ilsley, 2006). At the same time education systems across Europe and the world are striving to include learners with SEN and disabilities (UNESCO, 1994). Attitudes to inclusion amongst VET professionals have been highlighted as an important factor in inclusion and challenge current models of teacher education (Rose, Kaikkonen, & Koiv, 2007). In addition the flexibility of VETR qualifications and how these may be used to progress to higher education also challenge the appropriateness and content of programmes of study for students with SEN (Hayward & Hoelscher, 2011). Therefore this research is particularly timely in its examination of inclusive practice in VET across Europe, eventually providing a flexible tool, freely available to be adapted for institutions, individuals, funders and policy makers.
Professionals in VET establishments were consulted in the pilot: college lecturers, managers, special needs teachers, student support staff and administrators. They were asked to consider and discuss presented indicators for inclusion in the Policy and Culture dimensions and comment on their potential application and use in their settings in order to complement and help develop inclusive learning communities. Findings from all four countries were collated and discussed by project members. The indicators in each dimension were further refined. The findings are examined under the broad theoretical framework of the social model of disability in which institutions are challenged to respond to the diverse learning and social needs of students with SEN rather than focussing on how students with impairments can adapt to an existing education system (Barnes & Mercer, 2005).
Barnes, C., & Mercer, G. (2005). Disability, work and welfare: Challenging the social inclusion of disabled people. Work, Employment and Society, 19(3), 527-545. Booth, T., Ainscow, M., Black-Hawkins, K., Vaughan, M., & Shaw, L. (2002). Index for inclusion. Bristol: CSIE Ltd. Govinder, R. (2009) Towards Inclusive Schools and Enhanced Learning. A synthesis of case study findings from different countries. Paris. UNESCO. Hayward, G., & Hoelscher, M. (2011). The use of large-scale administrative data sets to monitor progression from vocational education and training into higher education in the UK: Possibilities and methodological challenges. Research in Comparative and International Education, 6(3), 316-329. Hirvonen, M. (2006). From vocational colleges to open learning environments. Changing role of vocational SEN teachers. Jyvaskylä: JAMK University of Applied Science Mahlamäki-Kultanen, S., Susimetsä, M., & Ilsley, P. (2006). The changing role of VET teacchers and trainers. Helsinki, Finland: International Mobility CIMO, Finnish Leonardo National Agency. Nind, M., Rix, J., Sheehy, K. & Simmons, K. (2003) Inclusive Education: Diverse Perspectives. Oxford. David Fulton Publishing.O’Brien, T. Ed. (2001). SEN Leadership: Enabling Inclusion. Blue skies...dark clouds? London. The Stationery Office. Rose, R., Kaikkonen, L., & Koiv, K. (2007). Estonian vocational teachers' attitudes towards inclusive education for students with special educational needs. International Journal of Special Education, 22(3), 97-108. Smith, A. (2006) Why Some Students Refuse Learning Support – an investigation into transition at a further education college. The Journal of Adult & Continuing Education .12(2). Tilstone, C., Florian, L. & Rose, R. (2000) Promoting Inclusive Practice. London. Routledge. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) (1995) The Salamanca Statement And Framework For Action On Special Needs Education: World Conference on Special Needs Education: Access and Quality, Salamanca, Spain, 7-10 June 1994. Wearmouth, J. Ed. (2001) Special Educational Provision in the Context of Inclusion. London. David Fulton Publishing
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