04 SES 11 A, (Understanding Attitudes) Inclusive Classroom
Parallel Paper Session
Adapted education is a central principle in Norwegian education. An inclusive school is supposed to be adapted to all pupils according to their abilities and predispositions. Evaluation studies in Norway found that in spite of the fact that adapted education is a main principle in our schools and highly approved by teachers and headmasters, both groups found it difficult to operationalize adapted education in practice (Imsen, 2004).
In connection to this, my research question has been: How is the ideological and political term “adapted education” to be understood and operationalized (Svee, 2008, 2009)? Is it possible to identify methods or teaching strategies used in classrooms to adapt education in an inclusive perspective? How do we prepare our students to their professional life as classroom managers in an inclusive school?
My paper is based on two studies with different focus, but linked together by their connection to practical, daily life work in the inclusive school. The first study, from 2007-2009, focused on the concept of adapted education, the other, from 2009-2010, on the concept of classroom management. This paper will be a synthesis of the two studies. The concepts of classroom management and of adapted education may be understood as “nodal points” in inclusive education discussions (Jørgensen & Phillips, 2008).
Through analyzing the material in my adapted education-study, two pairs of concepts were developed (Braun & Clark, 2006). The first concept-pair I named “open and hidden adapted education” and the second pair I named “minor and mayor methods” (Svee, 2008, 2010). Open and hidden adapted education may theoretically be connected and discussed in relation to Bernsteins concepts of visible and unvisible pedagogy (Beck, 2007) and also Polanyis concept of tacit knowledge (1967). As concerns the concept of “minor methods” it can theoretically be linked to Klafki (2001) and Foucault (1994) who both emphasize the importance of small variables for successful achievement. Mayor methods are to be understood as the great variety of open, visible methods or teaching strategies that are easy to identify in the inclusive classroom (Hattie 2009; Imsen 2004; Svee, 2010).
Inspired by my first study, I chose to focus on classroom management skills in my next study. Meta-analyses of classroom management - studies, indicate that three skills and competencies are needed for teachers in an inclusive classroom: management skills, teacher-student-relationship skills and didactic skills (Nordenbo, 2008). My study confirmed that less attention was given to the latter, the didactic dimension, according to my respondents (Schulman, 2004).
The concept of method seemed to have disappeared in the pedagogical discussion since the l970s, also in the education of teachers (Ongstad, 2006). This may have had an impact on classroom management in an inclusive school where adapted education in a leading principle. In order to include all children with different abilities, interests and predispositions the awareness of both mayor and minor methods and also the notion of invisible adapted education may be one small contribution to the understanding of classroom management in our inclusive schools.
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