Unlocking education: developing inclusive education in exclusionary times.
Exclusion is a constant companion to inclusion, both theoretically and in practice. The experience of exclusion, both within and beyond schools, is driven by issues of social justice, well-being and the construction of identities associated with disability, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Challenging and overcoming these experiences of exclusion needs to be a constant focus for inclusive education. This special call provides an provides an opportunity to foster study and debate concerning the role inclusive education can play in responding to and counteracting these exclusionary pressures as they are experienced within our schooling systems.
We are at a moment in history where the challenges of a pandemic and a climate crisis sit alongside global concerns related to well-being and mental health. This is set against a backdrop of international campaigns for social justice, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, and international calls for meaningful access to sustainable education for all. At this same moment, many of our political and social structures are still reeling from the long term impact of austerity and struggling with decolonisation, and many peoples’ lives are blighted by issues of migration and intolerance. It would seem that at this time, we need to have strong and unified inclusive education systems which help us to come together and overcome these divisive forces.
Inclusive education seeks to enhance collaboration, participation, and democratization, to the benefit of all pupils by meaningfully involving every pupil in these processes (Haug, 2014). However, in most countries, the initial enthusiastic drive for inclusion has been been constrained by a narrow focus upon special education, which is itself resurgent in various guises (Richardson & Powell, 2011; Rix, 2015; Hausstatter & Jahnukainen, 2015). Where systems have changed, practitioners recognise that practice has remained largely unchanged or has soon reverted to what was being done before (Rix et al., 2013; Gunnþórsdóttir, 2017). Education is still dominated by two discourses associated with economic and psycho-medical thinking (Dovigo, 2017; Buchner & Proyer, 2020) and consequently where there have been advances in participation there are still challenges around key issues such as assessment, training and notions of success (Alves et al., 2020; Jovanović et al. 2017). As a result, there is frequently a gap between the policy and practice (Haug, 2017) and key aspects of practice which research suggests will lead to inclusive practice are still not in evidence.
In light of these circumstances Network 04 has a particular interest in papers which explore experiences, policies and practices associated with developing inclusive practice during uncertain and contradictory times.
Fabio Dovigo (fado(at)edu.au.dk)
Alves, I., Pinto, P.C. and Pinto, T.J., (2020). Developing inclusive education in Portugal: Evidence and challenges. Prospects, pp.1-16.
Buchner, T., & Proyer, M. (2020). From special to inclusive education policies in Austria–developments and implications for schools and teacher education. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(1), 83-94.
Dovigo, F., (2017). Linking Theory to Practice in Inclusive Education. In Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Practices (pp. 33-62). Brill Sense.
Gunnþórsdóttir, H. (2018). Student-Teachers Reflecting on Student Diversity in Schools and Their Future Role as Teachers. International Journal of Bias, Identity and Diversities in Education (IJBIDE), 3(2), 31-44. doi:10.4018/IJBIDE.2018070103
Haug, P. (2017) "Understanding inclusive education: ideals & reality." Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 19:3 (p. 206- 217)
Haug, P., 2014. The practices of dealing with children with special needs in school: a Norwegian perspective. Emotional and behavioural difficulties, 19(3), 296-310.
Hausstätter, R. & Jahnukainen, M. (2015) ‘From integration to inclusion and the role of special education’, in F. Kiuppis and R. Hausstätter (eds) Inclusive Education Twenty Years after Salamanca. New York: Peter Lang.
Jovanović, O., Vladisavljević, M., Branković, M., & Žeželj, I. (2017). Methods Section: Quantitative and Qualitative Examination of Social Identities and Their Mutual Relations. In Shaping Social Identities After Violent Conflict (pp. 53-67). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Richardson, J. & Powell, J. (2011) Comparing Special Education: origins to contemporary paradoxes. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Rix, J. (2015) Must Inclusion be Special? Rethinking educational support within a community of provision. London: Routledge.
Rix, J., Sheehy, K., Fletcher-Campbell, F., Crisp, M. & Harper, A. (2013) ‘Exploring provision for children identified with special educational needs: an international review of policy and practice’, European Journal of Special Needs Education, 28 (4), 375–391