04 SES 09 B, Teacher Education
Since the ratification oft the UN-Convention school-systems around the world have started to implement features of inclusive systems. As a consequence teacher education also has the obligation to prepare all students to be able to effectively engage in the rapidly changing education landscape towards inclusion. Forlin (2010, 650) points out: “Teacher education can provide a holistic view of diversity that allows teachers to develop critical inclusive pedagogies”.
But how can student teachers be best prepared for a heterogeneous classroom?
The European Agency (2012) presented the findings of an international study on inclusive teacher education and recommended a profile for inclusive teachers. The following core values relating to teaching and learning were identified: Valuing the Learner Diversity, Supporting All Learners, Working with others, Personal Professional Development.
In this research project we focus on “Valuing Learner Diversity”. The areas of competence within this core value relate to conceptions of inclusive education and the learner´s own view of difference.
The research-project is based on a university-course (University of Cologne) that is part of the first practice period in teacher education. Fifty teacher students, from all school types, have been working on key-reflection tools in consideration of „Valuing Learner Diversity“. The students who work in teams have documented their process in e-portfolios.
Previous findings (Amrhein& Kricke 2013) demonstrate that students´ attitudes on inclusive education changes slowly. Moreover, as a result of difficult or negative experiences with mentors who are not able to deal with diversity in the classroom students’ attitude towards inclusion can even deteriorate (ibid). To counter such developments an international component was added to the pilot seminar:
The Cologne students will be enabled to get in dialog about inclusive values with teacher students from all over the world via a virtual e-portfolio-platform. This will encourage all international students to work on the same reflecting-tools and key-questions. The aim is to widen the perspectives about becoming a teacher in inclusive developments and to support the students in the process of becoming aware of their attitudes in consideration of contrasting perspectives.
The seminar offers different ways of “inclusive treatment”:
- (International) peer reflections: working on metaphorical questions, “working theories”, personal attitudes, “biographical journey”-exercises
- practice period in “integrative” settings
- theoretical inputs about inclusive developments
- attitudes about inclusive values
- e-portfolio documentation and reflection
The focus lies on a multiperspective reflection-process based on a heterogeneous student-group. Previous studies showed the importance of reflection processes for inclusive teacher education: it could be shown that attitudes, beliefs and values in initial teacher education play a key-role (Avramidis 2002).
Taking the well documented „ importance of positive experiences in changing attitudes” (TE4I: p. 31 opp. & challenges) into account, the research project raises the following question:
Do dialogic reflection processes with and encouraged by international peers positively effect the student’s attitudes concerning one of the core values of Inclusive Teacher Education: „Learner Diversity“?
- The Teacher Ecucation for Inclusion project (TE4I)
Altheide, David L. (1996): Qualitative Media Analysis, London: Sage. Amrhein, B.; Kricke, M. (2013): LehrerInnenbildung für eine inklusive Schule: Chancen portfoliogestützter Reflexionsarbeit in der Begleitung von Orientierungspraktika, In: Rohr & Hummelsheim & Kricke & Amrhein (2013): Reflexionsmethoden in der Praktikumsbegleitung - Am Beispiel der Lehramtsausbildung an der Universität zu Köln. Avramidis, E. & Norwich, B. 2002. Teachers' attitudes towards integration/inclusion: a review of the literature, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 17, 2, 129-147 Cohen, L., Manion, L. and Morrison, K. (2007) Research Methods in Education, 6th edition, London and New York: Routledge. European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2011): TEACHER EDUCATION FOR INCLUSION ACROSS EUROPE– Challenges and Opportunities. European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education (2012): Teacher Education for Inclusion - Profile of Inclusive Teachers, URL: http://www.european-agency.org/agency-projects/Teacher-Education-for-Inclusion/Profile-of-Inclusive-Teachers.pdf [25.01.2013] Forlin, C. (2010) Developing and implementing quality inclusive education in Hong Kong: implications for teacher education. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 10 (1), 177-184 Mayring (2008): Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken (Beltz Pädagogik).
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