INCLUSIVE EDUCATION What does it mean and (how) can it be accomplished? Claes Nilholm Professor of Education at Malmö University - PDF

INCLUSIVE EDUCATION What does it mean and (how) can it be accomplished? Claes Nilholm Professor of Education at Malmö University Inclusive education One (actually several) ideas about

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INCLUSIVE EDUCATION What does it mean and (how) can it be accomplished? Claes Nilholm Professor of Education at Malmö University Inclusive education One (actually several) ideas about what constitutes good environment for children (with disabilities) In relation to the conference theme: about creating learning (and other things) for all Basic questions - What is inclusive education? - Is inclusion a reasonable goal? - How is inclusion to be accomplished? (what can be learned from research?) Question 1 What is inclusive education? One common misunderstanding Inclusive education is when the educational situation fits the child with a disability, then the child is included (i.e. special schools can be inclusive) Physical placement Inclusive Education occurs when children (with a disability) are part of the mainstream classroom/preschool Invidividual participation Inclusion is not only about placement of children with disabilities, all children have to be educationally and socially included Community Inclusion is a concept which has implications for all children and the whole learning environment Different aspects of a community - Everyone involved in joint activities (whole class teaching, group work) - A sense of a we - Joint goals - Democratic processes - Differences are celebrated/valued/accepted Tentative (radical) definition Inclusion means that one school system takes responsibility for all pupils regardless of their individual characteristics and that no segregated educational solutions are created for different categories of pupils. An inclusive system involves community at different levels of the system and differences are valued. Cooperation and joint problems solving are important aspects of such communities and democratic processes are central. All pupils feel socially and educationally included. To be educationally included means both to be a part of a learning community and the right to develop as far as possible given one s potential. Question 2 Is (some form of) inclusive education a reasonable goal? Educational philosophy What environments are schools and preschools supposed to be? The basic question in all forms of evaluation Is inclusion a reasonable goal? - It is one way of thinking about what schools should accomplish Necessary distinctions: 1) what inclusion theorists want to accomplish 2) the goals that have been decided upon 3) the goals that are at work Deliberation the will for power Three roles of the researcher Missionary (help school achieve goals that from the researcher s perspective are good goals) Civil servant (help schools achieve goals that have been democratically decided upon) The ignorant (help schools achieve goals that the researcher believes are the goals of schooling; or does not understand the problem involved) Question 3 How is inclusion to be accomplished? How is inclusion to be accomplished? Very little methodological sound research concerning how schools, classrooms or preschools are to become more inclusive given the community or the participation definitions Most research is about effects of placement Since inclusion per definition is prescribing certain effects (both in the community and participation definitions) it is strange to ask about effects of inclusion; however, one can ask about what makes inclusion come about What is needed? Research which has a clear basis in educational philosophy Indicators (of level of community, celebration of difference etc) Before/after designs Factors that are mentioned to be important for making education inclusive - A clear vision - Resources - Involvement - Excellent teachers that can (and are willing) to adapt the curriculum to all learners Returning back Inclusive education - what does it mean and (how) can it be accomplished?
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