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When differences are made into likenesses: the normative documentation and assessment culture of the preschool

KARLSUDD, Peter
2021

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This article is based on studies carried out within the Young children’s learning research education programme. This undertaking involved five graduate students, all recruited from the Swedish preschool system. The licentiate thesis makes up the final product of their education programme, and the focus of each candidate’s licentiate thesis was preschool-level documentation. Using the results of all five theses, a re-analysis was conducted with the concept of normality as the common starting point. The purpose was to investigate whether documentation and assessment can change the view of normality in preschools, and furthermore, what consequences there may be for preschool activity. ‘The narrow preschool and the wide preschool’ is the model used to support the analysis, which is a model used in previous studies to review and discuss educational choices and conditions in the school system. Results of the present investigation show that the documents and assessments performed in preschool have a strong focus on the individual child and a traditional, school-oriented learning is highly valued. The documentation and assessment practices that take place now in our preschools, therefore, most likely influence the preschool view of normality and restrict the acceptance of differences.

Using selected behaviour modification practices to enhance reinforcement of reading abilities among dyslexic learners in Kenya

OOKO, Pamela A
ALOKA , Peter J O
2021

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Background: Dyslexic learners have difficulties in accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities.

 

Objective: The present study investigated the use of selected behaviour modification practices to enhance reinforcement of reading abilities amongst dyslexic learners in primary schools in Kenya.

 

Methods: The Solomon four research design was adopted. A sample size of 229 dyslexic learners in four selected schools was obtained using purposive sampling technique. The tools used were the Bangor Dyslexia Test and a short reading comprehension test. Internal validity of the constructs was tested using the Kaiser–Meyer–Oklin measure of sampling adequacy (KMO Index) and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity. The reliability of the questionnaires was ascertained using Cronbach’s alpha and internal consistencies of 0.673–0.807 were reported.

 

Results: The findings reported a statistical significant difference between pre-test and post-test scores of the experiment group 1, t (48) = –15.059, p < 0.01, implying that a significant effect was found in the use of behaviour modification strategies in improving learner English language reading skills. The regression model explained 54.7% (R2 = 0.547) of the variability in the level of English language reading abilities amongst primary school learners with dyslexia.

 

Conclusion: The study concludes that coaching behaviour modification practice had the highest influence on English language reading abilities as compared to prompting, shaping and modelling practices. The study recommended training of teachers on the use of behaviour modification practices to improve dyslexic learners’ reading ability.

 

Teaching for inclusion – a review of research on the cooperation between regular teachers and special educators in the work with students in need of special support

PAULSRUD, David
NILHOLM, Claes
2020

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This article presents a review of qualitative research on interprofessional cooperation between regular teachers and special educators published from 2005 to 2019. The aim of the review was to gain knowledge about how different forms of cooperation take shape and about factors at multiple levels that facilitate or constrain cooperation as a means of achieving inclusion. In total, 25 studies were selected. The results are discussed in relation to Thomas Skrtic’s theory of bureaucracies within the school organisation in order to compare and analyse different forms of interprofessional cooperation and schools’ organisations of special educational work. Cooperative teaching, special educational consultations and mixed forms of cooperation were found to entail different benefits and challenges related to communication and the cooperating actors’ roles. Facilitating factors included personal chemistry, an equal distribution of power and responsibilities and support from the school management through provision of professional development and adequate planning time. In several studies, a flexible cooperation was argued to be hindered by curricular constraints and standardised testing. Education policy is therefore emphasised in this review as important for understanding the conditions under which school staff are responsible for inclusion.

Unheard children. Championing deaf children’s rights to family, community, education and independence in developing countries

DEAF CHILDREN WORLDWIDE
November 2020

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This report highlights the specific barriers facing deaf children and young people and demonstrates a number of smallscale approaches and initiatives that have succeeded in breaking down some of these barriers.

Topics are:

  • Language and communication. Early diagnosis and support (example from Bangladesh). Effective and affordable hearing technology. Communication choices. What is sign language? Tanzanian Sign Language – the need for more interpreters
  • Families. Early diagnosis and support. Upskilling parents and primary caregivers. Power to the parents (example from Uganda). Catalyst for change (example from India). 
  • Communities. Deaf role models (example from Bangladesh). Challenging the public and professionals. Educating the police force (example from India). Sharing knowledge across organisations
  • Education. Intensive communication. Extra help in the classroom (example from Kenya). Making secondary education accessible. Developing sign language skills. Inclusive further and higher education
  • Independence. Listening to deaf young people. Involving deaf young people in research. Support to make informed choices. Challenging perceptions in the workplace (example from Kenya)

 

 

Teachers’ Attitudes towards Inclusion of Blind or Partially-Sighted Students in Secondary Schools in Nigeria

Ajuwon, Paul M
Chitiyo, George
Onuigbo, Liziana N
Ahon, Adaka T
Olayi, James E
2020

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Purpose: This study investigated the attitudes of secondary school teachers towards students with blindness or partial sight in selected states in Nigeria.

 

Method: The authors utilised the modified version of a previous instrument to collect data from 306 secondary school teachers in Nigeria. Six basic questions were established to address: respondents’ attitudes towards inclusion; training acquired related to teaching; knowledge pertaining to policy and legislation; confidence levels to teach students with disabilities.; impact of geographical location; and differences in attitudes by the variables of subject(s) taught, school level taught, and years of teaching experience.

 

Results: Attitudes of participants were mixed but were generally positive. The level of training was low, with teachers showing limited knowledge of policy and legislation. A little over a quarter (27%) of them lacked confidence in teaching. There were differences in attitudes related to the geographical location of respondents. Those who taught at the senior secondary school level tended to have higher attitude scores on average than their counterparts at the junior secondary school level.

 

Conclusion and Limitations: This study used self-report measures, although observations and interviews could be additional ways to evaluate the attitudes of participants throughout the country. Moreover, in-service programmes may need to be implemented to increase teachers’ knowledge base and expand their experiences in line with established policies and legislation.

Psychosocial Functioning in Children with Dyslexia: Perspectives from Parents, Counsellors and Teachers

BAJAJ, Deepali
BHATIA, Sangeeta
2020

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Purpose: The study aimed to understand the issues and challenges encountered by various stakeholders (teachers, parents and counsellors) working with children with dyslexia in the inclusive school context.

 

Method: Using purposive and snowball sampling, 20 teachers, 20 counsellors and 20 parents (mothers) of children with specific learning disability (dyslexia) were selected from 8 inclusive schools in Delhi. A qualitative approach was adopted, with a semi-structured interview schedule to elicit responses. Qualitative thematic analysis was used as a framework for data analysis.

 

Results: Parents experienced negative feelings due to lack of awareness and acceptance of dyslexia. Counsellers felt parental ignorance led to delay in assessment and remediation. Parents and counsellors perceived lack of support from schools and lack of empathy among teachers. Teachers confessed they lacked training to deal with dyslexic learners, were unaware of policies and concessions for them, and were currently overburdened with their workload.

 

Conclusion: There is a need to hold psycho-educational workshops for parents in order to increase their awareness, and conduct training workshops (pre-service and in-service) for teachers to increase awareness and build empathy. Schools should provide in-house assistive services such as assessment and remediation, and redefine the goals of education to focus on the holistic skills of children.

The impact of special education resources and the general and the special education teacher’s competence on pupil mathematical achievement gain in inclusive classrooms

OPITZ, Elisabeth Moser
SCHNEPEL, Susanne
KRÄHENMANN, Helena
JANDL, Sarah
FELDER, Franziska
DESSEMONTET, Rachel Sermier
2020

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Research in inclusive settings is complicated by the nested relationships between the general education teacher (GET), the special education teacher (SET) and pupils. In this study, the impact of SET resource and selected variables of teacher competence (professional mathematical knowledge SET, attitude towards inclusion GET, classroom management GET) on the mathematical achievement gain of typically developing pupils (TYP) and pupils with intellectual disability (ID) was examined. Mathematical achievement was tested at the beginning of the school year (t1) and the end (t2) in 34 inclusive classrooms (sample ID: n = 42; sample TYP n = 525). IQ and gender – and the average mathematical achievement at class level in the sample TYP – were included as control variables. For pupils with ID, hierarchical regression modelling revealed that the mathematical knowledge at t1 explained most of the variance in mathematical achievement gain. For the group TYP, the results of a multi-level analysis showed that mathematical knowledge at t1, IQ and the average mathematical achievement at class level all had a positive effect on mathematical achievement gain. The more hours a SET was present in the classroom, the more the mathematical achievement of the group TYP increased. The other teacher competence variables had no apparent impact.

Special education reforms in Ireland: changing systems, changing schools

KENNY, Neil
MCCOY, Selina
MIHUT, Georgiana
2020

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Ireland has a distinct and complex history regarding the education of persons with special educational needs (SEN) and in its approach to inclusion. Special and general education largely developed in parallel and separately. As recently as the 1990s, legal actions by parents seeking educational rights for children with severe disabilities prompted appropriate provision for these students and a shift towards inclusive schools. The Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act set out important changes – although not all implemented – followed by a series of changes in resource allocation, culminating in the removal of the requirement for students to be diagnosed in order to access supports. International evidence suggests that resource allocation based on learners’ profile and SEN diagnosis have been linked to the overidentification of SEN students. Ability to pay for private assessments has also been shown to exacerbate inequality in Ireland and beyond. We examine how Ireland's policy changes are impacting on schools and students, drawing on emerging evidence. We consider concerns over the adequacy of teacher professional development, the intended and potentially unintended consequences from a process of ‘domestication’ at the school level and ultimately whether the changes are accompanied by sufficient and appropriate accountability measures.

Differentiation and individualisation in inclusive education: a systematic review and narrative synthesis

LINDNER, Katharina-Theresa
SCHWAB, Susanne
2020

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This study integrates research about differentiation and individualisation in inclusive education since the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 (United Nations, 2006). The concept of inclusive education for all learners increases the requirement for teachers to create educational spaces that encourage stimulating teaching and learning processes. Accordingly, a methodological shift from the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ model to individualised teaching and learning offers a starting point for educational equity. The aim of this paper is to investigate the progress of differentiated and individualised teaching practices in inclusive classroom settings considering collaboration and teamwork, instructional practices, organisational practices and social/emotional/behavioural practices (see Finkelstein, Sharma, & Furlonger, 2019. “The Inclusive Practices of Classroom Teachers: A Scoping Review and Thematic Analysis.” International Journal of Inclusive Education, 1–28). Results of a criteria-based review considering papers from 2008 to December 2018 encompass 17 articles that were included in the narrative synthesis. Results indicated that the following aspects are characteristic of inclusive education: collaboration and co-teaching, grouping, modification (of assessment, content, extent, instruction, learning environment, material, process, product and time frame), individual motivation and feedback, and personnel support of students. Implications of the findings and gaps in the research have been outlined.

Inclusion, access, and accessibility of educational resources in higher education institutions: exploring the Ethiopian context

BEYENE, Wondwossen Mulualem
MEKONNEN, Abraham Tulu
GIANNOUMIS, George Anthony
2020

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The right of persons with disabilities for equal access to education and educational resources is enshrined by international and country-specific anti-discrimination laws. Taking the Ethiopian context as an example, this paper sought to identify barriers of access to educational resources and explored ways for removing them. Seventeen students with visual impairments studying at Hawassa University were selected for semi-structured interviews. Moreover, five individuals working at the disability centre and the university library were interviewed. The results of the interviews were analysed thematically using the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health (ICF) as a framework. Access and accessibility problems that emanate from the learners’ diverse background, lack of educational resources in alternative formats, lack of institutional tools (policy, procedure, guidelines, etc.) to bridge the gap between law and practice, and the digital divide were among the problems identified and discussed. At the end, the paper showed how libraries, revitalised as learning and information commons, could help to ensure the accessibility of educational resources and help learners with disabilities to acquire skills that may help them in their studies and their future undertakings.

Segregated education as a challenge to inclusive processes: a total population study of Swedish teachers’ views on education for pupils with intellectual disability

GÖRANSSON, Kerstin
BENGTSSON, Karin
HANSSON, Susanne
KLANG, Nina
LINDQVIST, Gunilla
NILHOLM, Claes
2020

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Many pupils with disabilities receive schooling in segregated contexts, such as special classes or special schools. Furthermore, the percentage of pupils educated in segregated settings has increased in many European countries. Studies suggest that there is high commitment to the general ideology of inclusive education among teachers in ‘regular’ education in many countries. This survey study investigates the views of teachers in segregated types of school about education. A questionnaire was sent out, in 2016, to all Swedish teachers (N = 2871, response rate 57.7%) working full time in special classes for pupils with intellectual disability (ID). On a general level results show that there is a strong commitment to preserving a segregated school setting for pupils with ID, a limited desire to cooperate with colleagues from ‘regular schools’ and a view that schooling and teaching are not quite compatible with the idea of inclusive education. The results highlight the importance of investigating processes of resistance within segregated schools to the development of inclusive schools and education systems. We argue that, while research and debate about inclusive education are important, both are insufficient without analyses of existing types of segregated schooling.

A preschool for all children? – Swedish preschool teachers’ perspective on inclusion

HAU, Hanna Ginner
SELENIUS, Heidi
ÅKESSON, Eva Björck
2020

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Building on the Salamanca Statement from 1994, the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals 2030 embraces inclusion for children in early childhood education. The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education in 2015–2017 completed a project on inclusive early childhood education, focusing on structures, processes, and outcomes that ensure a systemic approach to high-quality Inclusive Early Childhood Education (IECE). An ecosystem model of IECE was developed with a self-reflection tool for improving inclusion. This study’s aim was to investigate practitioners’ perspective on the inclusive processes and supportive structures defined in the ecosystem model, to contribute to a deeper understanding of how inclusive practice might be enabled and how barriers for inclusion can be removed. The self-reflection tool was administered in a heterogeneous municipality in Sweden, where inclusive settings are standard. Documentation from approximately 70 teachers on 27 teams was received. The documentation was analysed with qualitative content analysis based on the ecosystem model. The results showed a strong emphasis on group-related processes, whereas data on individual-related processes were scarce. This one-sided focus on the group level might endanger the inclusive processes and outcomes concerning the individual child.

Managing to learn bimanual activities – experiences from children and adolescents with cerebral palsy – a qualitative analysis

LIDMAN, Git
HIMMELMAN, Kate
PENY-DAHLSTRAND, Marie
May 2020

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Purpose: Children and adolescents with cerebral palsy often have impaired hand function. This makes it difficult for them to deal with everyday activities. The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of children and adolescents with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy when it comes to learning and dealing with activities requiring bimanual use.

 

Method: Ten participants, attending mainstream schools, with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy (10–18 years, MACS-level I-III) took part in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative analysis with verbatim transcripts were analysed using a Grounded Theory approach.

 

Results: The learning of bimanual activities was described as a process taking place in interaction with the dynamics of everyday situations. Five categories describing the participants experiences emerged: “Reaching a point where you want to learn”, “Awareness and acceptance of your own abilities”, “Dealing with the boundaries of the disability”, “Dealing with the impact of people around you” and “Strategies for learning”. A multi-dimensional theory was derived, summarising how the participants learned bimanual activities in daily life.

 

Conclusions: Children and adolescents with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy express that the process of learning bimanual activities can only take place when it fits in with life as it unfolds. Thus, they have to adapt to a changing context and their own developing skills.

The effect of school leadership on implementing inclusive education: how transformational and instructional leadership practices affect individualised education planning

LAMBRECHT, Jennifer
LENKEIT, Jenny
HARTMANN, Anne
EHLERT, Antje
KNIGGE, Michel
SPÖRER, Nadine
2020

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Fostering equity by offering the best education possible to all students is one of the main goals of inclusive schooling. One instrument to implement individualised education is individualised education planning (IEP). IEP requires cooperation between special and regular teachers. From research on school leadership it is known that leadership styles are connected to the way, school leaders use their scope of action with respect to fostering collaboration. However, little is known about the relationship between the leadership of a school, the provision of structures for collaboration, and the implementation of IEP in an inclusive context. The article focuses on the question to what extent transformational (TL) and instructional leadership (IL) are connected to the provision of structures for collaboration and how TL and IL as well as structures for collaboration relate to the implementation of IEP directly and indirectly. Based on data of N = 135 German schools, a path model was calculated. It revealed medium relations between TL, IL, and structures for collaboration as well as a medium effect from structures to collaboration on implementation of IEP. The effect from TL towards implementation of IEP was fully mediated by structures for collaboration, while the effect from IL persisted.

Catering for ‘very different kids’: distance education teachers’ understandings of and strategies for student engagement

HARRIS, Lois
DARGUSCH, Joanne
AMES, Kate
BLOOMFIELD, Corey
2020

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Compulsory distance education has always sought to be inclusive, providing educational opportunities for K-12 students unable to attend mainstream, face-to-face schools for medical, geographical, or personal reasons. However, how to effectively engage these diverse learners has remained a perpetual challenge, with a need for further investigation into the nature of student engagement with compulsory school distance contexts and how teachers can best support it. This qualitative study used focus groups (n=2 groups, n=16 participants) to examine teacher definitions and student engagement strategies within eKindy-12 distance education in Queensland, Australia. Categorical analysis was conducted using a priori codes for definitions, focusing on four previously established engagement types (i.e. behavioural, emotional, cognitive, and agentic engagement), and in vivo codes for strategies. Teacher definitions focused strongly on behavioural engagement, but most also contained elements of emotional and cognitive engagement; agentic engagement was only occasionally evidenced via practice descriptions. Teachers described engaging students by: building relationships, creating a safe classroom environment through differentiation, using inclusive technological tools to facilitate interaction and monitor progress, making learning fun and relevant, drawing on school-wide pedagogical frameworks and teaching strategies, and encourage self-regulation. Findings suggest distance education teachers face unique challenges around evidencing engagement and supporting student agency.

The development of education for learners with diverse learning needs in the South African context: A bio-ecological systems analysis

SMIT, Suegnet
PRESTON, Lynn D
HAY, Johnnie
February 2020

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Background: Prior to 1994, special education in South Africa was marginalised and fragmented; therefore, the new democratic government promoted inclusive education as a means to transform education in general and diverse education in particular. However, transformation in diverse education is seemingly moving forward at a snail’s pace – too slow to benefit all learners experiencing barriers to learning and development.

 

Objectives: This article serves a dual purpose: firstly, to apply a bio-ecological approach to highlight the historic development of diverse education and, secondly, to explore the interactive processes within the systemic levels in the South African education system, which affects the learner on the person dimension of the bio-ecological approach.

 

Method: A document analysis approach was utilised to collect information by exploring a large body of research literature, which included academic articles, reports, policies and policy reviews. Data were categorised within the systems of the bio-ecological model to determine successes and challenges at each level.

 

Results: Results from the bio-ecological systems analysis of related literature revealed not only many successes but also many challenges that inhibit change, growth and development in the South African education system, even more so for children experiencing barriers to learning.

 

Conclusion: The transformation process of change from what was to what should be, regarding diverse education, seems to be stuck at what is and not moving forward to what could be. It has not transformed significantly enough to fill the gap between reality and the envisaged aim or dream of quality education for all.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020 

Activity bank for disabilities

EDUCATION ABOVE ALL INNOVATION DEVELOPMENT DIRECTORATE
2020

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Since the COVID-19 crisis has been particularly challenging for children with special needs, the Education Above All Innovation Development Directorate (IDD), in collaboration with experts in the field has developed the Activity Bank for Disabilities (ABD), an activity bank for children that require additional and specialized care, in order to support their continued development and learning.

The resources in the ABD have been developed for children with multiple needs. The domains and activities are meant to be chosen, customised and adapted by parents and caregivers depending on the learner needs and abilities. It is recommended that the activities are done under the constant supervision of the caregiver or parent.

Decolonising inclusive education: an example from a research in Colombia

KAMENOPOULOU, Leda
2020

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Inclusive education is a concept born in the global North. Research has shown that its relatively recent but widespread adoption by countries in the global South is often done without consideration of the actual needs of these contexts, and by solely focusing on strategies for learners with disabilities. As a result, inclusive education has been criticised as a neo-colonial project in need of renovation. The aim of this article is to show how research can broaden the understanding of inclusive education and make it more relevant to southern contexts. Drawing on an ethnographic research on inclusive education in Colombia, I present some unique examples of vulnerability, but also experiences of belonging in the direst of circumstances. I conclude that in order to decolonise the concept of inclusive education and make its practice sustainable in southern contexts, we need more culturally sensitive research to inform our understanding of these under-researched spaces.

 

Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2020, Vol. 7 No. 1

What I think of school: perceptions of school by people with intellectual disabilities

VALENTIM, António
VALENTIM, Joaquim Pires
2019

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For people with intellectual disabilities who do not enter the labour market, school is usually the main chapter of their socialization with the wider society. Nevertheless, little is known about their long-term perceptions of this period. We conducted interviews and focus groups on the school experiences of 16 Portuguese adults with intellectual disabilities. Results show differences between older and younger participants in their accounts of social relations and educational methods, which result from changes in special educational policies in Portugal. Overall, members of both groups evaluate their school experience positively. Our results indicate that although there is a move towards more inclusive schools, discrimination is still prevalent. These results are discussed in terms of their psychosocial consequences, as well as their implications for educational policies, and inclusion. This study contributes to a better understanding of the school experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and how policies impact them.

Teachers talk on student needs: exploring how teacher beliefs challenge inclusive education in a Norwegian context

AAS, Hanne Kristin
2019

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This study explores teacher talk in the early phase of a project in a Norwegian elementary school where Lesson Study is used as a method for professional development. The study focuses on inclusion and aims to explore what beliefs about student needs and teacher role and responsibilities become evident, and how these beliefs can challenge development towards a more inclusive practice. To this end, content analysis is applied to audio recordings of teacher teams’ planning meetings. Despite an overall positive attitude towards inclusion, and inclusive structures in the school, findings point at factors in teachers’ beliefs that can challenge the inclusion process. These factors are: student needs understood as individual problems, adaptation understood as individualised and laborious and a limited view on teacher role, where their responsibility mainly regard academic learning.

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