Innovative Approaches to Enhance Inclusive Education

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Special and Inclusive Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2024) | Viewed by 4826

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, 96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Interests: inclusive education; inter-professional teamwork; support for learning and schooling; student welfare work; educational transitions; teachers' professional development
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Guest Editor
Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds LS6 3QS, UK
Interests: social and educational inclusion; teacher education; student voice; digital education; minority heritage language education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Salamanca Statement (1994) marked a distinctive shift in understanding of how inclusive education provision might be facilitated across the globe as it moved the focus from only those young people with SEND to the wide range of young people who might require additional support to be successful in learning.  Since the seminal Salamanca Statement (1994), the diversity of the young people within many classrooms globally has continued to increase. This situation can pose ongoing challenges for policymakers who must provide legislation that supports inclusive education systems, for teacher educators preparing the future workforce in schools and for teachers who must provide relevant learning opportunities for all.

Whilst at one time an aspiration towards ‘inclusion’ was viewed as the panacea for the challenge of increasing diversity within classrooms, in recent years the definition – and indeed the usefulness of the term ‘inclusion’ has been challenged (Slee, 2011; 2018). In response to the challenge posed by Slee (2011; 2018), researchers have continued to undertake research to develop a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of classrooms, the intersectional identities that young people bring to their learning and the competences required by teachers for their future careers.

The recent global pandemic has highlighted ongoing societal inequalities which continue to impact young people’s experiences in education. The pandemic has resulted in new perspectives on what it means to be human, what it means to be part of a learning community and the importance for all individuals to be welcomed into the community no matter what age you are from the youngest to the oldest member of society.  Understanding the importance of inclusion within a welcoming community has resulted in new research approaches that explore how to value and embrace the diversity of our education populations and the need for education at all levels to support the inclusion of all more effectively.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Innovative approaches to enhancing the inclusive practices in educational provision
  • Professional collaboration, how to manage:
  • the complexity of a classroom
  • multi-professional dilemmas (language, power relations, roles)
  • identifying one’s own role in a team
  • the creation of knowledge when dealing with open, complex problems

-(Professional) Teacher agency, how to manage:

  • novel approaches in teacher education
  • ability to critical and reflective thinking
  • intentional agency/teacher leadership

-Sense of belonging:

  • Student perspective: how a student feels their position in their community, multiple voices
  • Teacher perspective: how are teachers able to create the feeling of being a welcomed and valuable member of your community; students’ intersectional identities - not to identify only one identity
  • School staff members: how to be able to value all colleagues, balancing power relations (e.g. between teachers and teaching assistants)

With this call for abstracts, the editors would like to invite responses that explore innovative research on inclusive education including school culture, leadership, inclusive practice across all sectors of education, development of new teacher education initiatives at all stages of teacher career; inter- and intra-professional initiatives that enhance inclusion and new philosophical understandings of inclusion. The editors particularly welcome responses where the research has been undertaken in a co-participatory manner with key stakeholders within the process.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Submission Deadlines:
1. Expression of interest with an abstract (200 words) for articles: 15 February 2023
2. Submission of full article: 31 August 2023

Dr. Suvi Lakkala
Prof. Dr. Mhairi C. Beaton
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • inclusive education
  • inclusive school culture and practices
  • professional collaboration and teacher agency
  • school leadership
  • sense of belonging
  • student perspective

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

26 pages, 3717 KiB  
Article
Children and Practitioners as Truth Seekers and Truth Tellers: Innovative, Counter-Hegemonic Approaches to Evaluating National Inclusion Policies
by Deborah Robinson and Geraldene Codina
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(4), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14040414 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 635
Abstract
This paper describes and defends the counter-hegemonic methods applied to the investigation of a high-profile national policy for Early Education and Care (ECCE) in Ireland. The policy, the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) seeks to ensure the full inclusion and meaningful participation of [...] Read more.
This paper describes and defends the counter-hegemonic methods applied to the investigation of a high-profile national policy for Early Education and Care (ECCE) in Ireland. The policy, the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) seeks to ensure the full inclusion and meaningful participation of children with disabilities in mainstream, state funded ECCE. It makes a significant contribution to data and debate on how research about inclusion can become inclusion in the context of policy evaluation. The design of the policy evaluation included surveys, in depth interviews and qualitative case studies of pre-schools and children supported by AIM which were deliberately designed to be counter-hegemonic through the recruitment of practitioners as co-researchers (as expert representatives within a feminised workforce), and the use of a participative method of elicitation that sough the perspectives and lived experiences of inclusion among fourteen children supported by AIM. This method was multi-modal mapping. With a focus on these counter-hegemonic elements, the paper poses questions about how the approach was counterhegemonic in terms of its theoretical underpinning, practical approach, and outcomes. Thematic analysis of the data collected by practitioner researchers for the child case studies showed that the approach did achieve counter-hegemony through the achievement of redistribution, representation, and recognition in both the enactment of the research, and in the reporting of children’s lived experience in the study as a whole. However, the extent of counter-hegemony achieved was limited when practitioner researchers were unable to deploy the multi-modal mapping method because of limited time, or because the child was not a speaker of English or was as yet, non-speaking. In a context where policy makers have a preference for positivist and rationalist approaches to evaluating the impact of policies, we assert that research about policies for inclusion, should be enacted as inclusion and social justice through the deliberate deployment of participatory and counter-hegemonic methods. We also assert that multi-modal mapping holds particular promise for researching the lived experience of inclusion and participation from the perspective of children and argue that more work needs to be done on developing these methods so that they are effective with all children, including those who are non-speaking. Finally, we posit that Fraser’s triune model of social justice can be applied as a benchmark for designing and evaluating counter-hegemonic modii and outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Approaches to Enhance Inclusive Education)
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12 pages, 396 KiB  
Article
Practitioner Enquiry as Lifelong Teacher Education for Inclusion
by Ines Alves, Annie Christodoulidis, Jeff Carpenter and Victoria Maria Hogg
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14030268 - 5 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1034
Abstract
This article focuses on the use of a practitioner enquiry (PE) course to develop teacher education for inclusion, particularly when referring to continuous professional development (CPD). The article aims to answer the following research questions: How does this PE course compared to other [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the use of a practitioner enquiry (PE) course to develop teacher education for inclusion, particularly when referring to continuous professional development (CPD). The article aims to answer the following research questions: How does this PE course compared to other experiences of CPD? To what extent is this model of CPD a way of promoting teacher education for inclusion? The data presented in this article were generated by three student-practitioners and a course tutor who engaged in a practitioner enquiry course offered in a higher education institution in Scotland during the academic year 2022–2023. Data were generated through autoethnography, and all authors individually reflected on their experiences of CPD, namely this PE course. The data were then analysed through a thematic analysis process that combined individual and collaborative tasks, including the writing of this article. This article concludes that long-term CPD with a constructivist alignment allows student-practitioners to develop their agency as inclusive educators. Engagement with research, both by critically analysing ‘global’ academic research and by designing and implementing a ‘local’ PE, provides lifelong tools for teachers to identify and remove barriers to ensuring that all learners can access, participate, and succeed in education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Approaches to Enhance Inclusive Education)
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18 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development: Action Research for Inclusion and Special Educational Needs and Disability
by Geraldene Codina and Deborah Robinson
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14020140 - 30 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1347
Abstract
In 2022, the authors of this paper were awarded with three years’ government funding to support seventy-five English schools and Further Education colleges with the running of their own Action Research for inclusion and special educational needs projects (ISEND). Based on the funder’s [...] Read more.
In 2022, the authors of this paper were awarded with three years’ government funding to support seventy-five English schools and Further Education colleges with the running of their own Action Research for inclusion and special educational needs projects (ISEND). Based on the funder’s interest in the identification and scaling-up of the evidence-base for SEND practice, this reflective account analyzes the evidence-base drawn upon and created by the Action Researchers for ISEND and the efficacy of the approach. Adopting an interpretivist, qualitative approach to content analysis, this paper analyzes data from the first seven completed Action Research for ISEND projects. Aligned with Dewey’s scientific model of reflection, analysis shows the Action Researchers for ISEND draw upon a complex synthesis of contextualized understanding, broadened horizons (including collaborative working and study), deepened and/or reshaped understandings, and data analysis to form their theorizations of praxis. Bearing no relation to evidence-based practice, the Action Researchers for ISEND adopt a constructivist ontology towards the inclusion of children with SEND, which challenges positivistic paradigms of “what works” in SEND and embeds a praxis of democracy which frequently includes the voices of learners with disabilities in decision making processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Approaches to Enhance Inclusive Education)
16 pages, 273 KiB  
Article
How Can Interprofessional Skills Be Taught during University Studies? Student Teachers, and Social Work and Law Students Solving Complex Student Welfare Cases
by Suvi Lakkala, Anna Nikupeteri and Lauri Lantela
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(8), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13080806 - 5 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 943
Abstract
This study focused on the learning of interprofessional skills through an interdisciplinary university course provided to student teachers, and social work and law students. This study explored the development of the course, the aim of which was to raise the student’s understanding of [...] Read more.
This study focused on the learning of interprofessional skills through an interdisciplinary university course provided to student teachers, and social work and law students. This study explored the development of the course, the aim of which was to raise the student’s understanding of interprofessional work to a more conscious level. The key research question was as follows: what kind of assignments and arrangements can be used to promote the interprofessional skills of students and their ability to solve complex student welfare cases? In this practice-oriented case study, we analyzed our own development process for the course, as well as the student’s reflective essays. Through our analysis, we identified four central themes of an interdisciplinary course that can enhance interprofessional skills in students: (1) identifying discipline-specific expertise as a part of a multi-professional network; (2) gaining an understanding of interprofessional working processes; (3) realizing the complexity of student welfare cases; and (4) orienting towards working life. Our research demonstrates that building an interdisciplinary university course based on flipped learning principles, which incorporates collaborative and reflective assignments supported by various course materials and literature, can promote the learning of interprofessional skills and processes by students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Approaches to Enhance Inclusive Education)
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