04 SES 03 A, Attitudes of Different Groups II
Parallel Paper Session
This paper examines the current evolution of inclusive schools in Italy and Spain through the analysis of two cases. The literature shows that the inclusion processes carried out in both countries share some characteristics:
- an unidirectional approach based not on special schools or classes, but on the integration of all pupils in the same educational environment;
- the fostering of educational policies to help both immigrants pupils and student with special educational needs;
- a specific orientation to quality and equity as key values for promoting educational work in a school for all (Gobbo, Ricucci, Galloni, 2011; Cornoldi, Terreni, Scruggs, Mastropieri, 1997; Enguita, 2009; Cardona, 2009).
Nonetheless, there are also noticeable differences between the two countries regarding inclusion:
- in Italy the management of services and decisions about education is highly centralized at the national level, being under the authority of the Ministry of Education. Conversely, in Spain the Ministry of Education provides only a general framework outlining the basic rules for education, whereas Autonomous Communities are responsible for the actual management of the educational activities;
- in Italy most of economic investments in inclusion are currently directed to the integration of disabled children, ensuring them support teachers, specialized tutoring, and technical and didactic resources. In contrast, in Spain specific attention is paid to the groups at risk, especially those belonging to ethnic or cultural minorities or living in disadvantaged socio-economic areas; consequently, inclusive projects have been conceived to prevent truancy and early school leaving.
Research shows that both countries, even though sharing some general assumptions, have different interpretations about the meaning of inclusion and, consequently, quite different educational practices (Soresi, Nota, Wehmeyer, 2011; Begeny, Martens, 2007; Pallisera, Vilà, Fullana, 2011; Gibson, Carrasco, 2009). Both countries carry out special policies, measures and practices addressed to specific categories of pupils and students, but such interventions rarely have a systematic impact on the way the schools normally plan and organize their activities. As a result, schools often experience what we could call a “fragmented inclusion”.
Our research aims to shed light on the underlying causes of this fragmentation. It is widely acknowledged that inclusion is not based on a prescriptive approach, nor it is possible to identify a compulsory model for developing inclusive education in all countries. The historical and cultural features of each country could offer some explanations about the poor results achieved by inclusive programs in terms of permanent changes of the educational settings. Nevertheless, it’s worth asking if such difficulties have also to do with an intrinsic weakness of the perspective about inclusion, and especially with the common use of terms such “normality” and “special educational needs”. This use could lead to label and to marginalize some groups of students, instead of promoting cooperation and acceptance throughout the school according to shared values of quality and equity (Ruateimer, 2002; Thomas, Vaughan, 2004; Skidmore, 2004).
Through the analysis of two significant cases – an Italian and a Spanish school – our paper aims at exploring these important questions.
Begeny, J.C., Martens, B.K. (2007). Inclusionary education in Italy: A literature review and call for more empirical research. Remedial and Special Education, 28, 80-94. Booth, T., Ainscow, M. (2011). Index for inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol, CSIE. Cardona, C.M. (2009), Current Trends in Special Education in Spain: Do They Reflect Legislative Mandates of Inclusion?, Journal of the International Association of Special Education, 10, 1, pp. 4-10. Cornoldi, C., Terreni, A., Scruggs, T.E., Mastropieri, M.A. (1997). Teacher attitudes in Italy after twenty years of inclusion. Remedial and Special Education, 19(6), 350-355. Enguita, M. F. (2009). Inclusion and education. Final report: Spain. Lepelstraat: DOCA Bureaus. Gibson, M. A., Carrasco, S. (2009), The Education of Immigrant Youth: Some Lessons from the U.S. and Spain, Theory into Practice. 48: 249- 257. Gobbo, F., Ricucci, R., Galloni, F. (2011), Legislation, Projects and Strategies for the Implementation of Educational Inclusion in Italy: Results, Questions and Future Prospects, The Open Education Journal, pp 148-157. Pallisera, M., Vilà, M., Fullana, J. (2011), Beyond school inclusion: secondary school and preparing for labour market inclusion for young people with disabilities in Spain, International Journal of Inclusive Education, pp. 1-15. Ruateimer, S. (2002), Social and Educational Justice: The Human Rights Framework for Inclusion. Bristol: CSIE. Skidmore, D. (2004) Inclusion: the dynamic of school development. Maidenhead : Open University Press. Soresi, S., Nota, L., Wehmeyer, M. (2011). Community involvement in promoting inclusion, participation, and self-determination. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 15(1), 15-28. Thomas G., Vaughan M. (2004), Inclusive education: reading and reflections. Berkshire: Open University Press. UNESCO (2005). Guidelines for inclusion: Ensuring access to education for all. Paris: UNESCO. Zufiaurre, B. (2006), Social inclusion and multicultural perspectives in Spain. Three case studies in northern Spain, Race Ethnicity and Education. 9, 4, pp. 409-424.
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