What the resource is:
This paper reports on the continuing research conducted by three UK researchers which seeks to address three contemporary issues:
i) The concept of achievement;
ii) Meanings of inclusion;
iii) The use of evidence to inform educational policies and practices.
It is important to note that this research states that it is not concerned primarily with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Disability, but rather the inclusion of all children within educational establishments and the relationship of inclusion and achievement in the classroom. The paper examines the relationship between educational achievement and inclusion and describes a Framework for Participation (a conceptual ltool developed to support the collection of detailed contextual evidence across case studies of four schools in England). The researchers also reflect on ways of building on previous and current work in order to support inclusive classroom pedagogies that support the achievement of all pupils. The paper discusses previous research conducted in England, whilst drawing on current work taking place in Scotland, allowing the researchers to explore some of the differences and similarities between two national educations systems and the possible effects on the development of inclusive pedagogies.
The aims of the resource:
Three overarching questions shaped the research being discussed:
i) What is the relationship between achievement and inclusion?
ii) How might a school's policies and practices raise the achievement and inclusion of all its students?
iii) What strategies might help teachers to understand, monitor and develop all students' achievement inclusion?
The focus was on the ways in which individual school accommodate variations amongst learners so that they all achieve, whether or not they have identified learning difficulties, SEN or disabilities. A case study approach was designed to examine the complex relationship between inclusion and achievement through stories about real schools, andto illustrate the wide range of approaches that different teachers adopt in monitoring, understanding and developing achievement and inclusion. The aim was to learn from the case study schools in ways which might be helpful to those who work in and with other schools through insights into the relationship between achievement and inclusion, and an understanding of the differences and similarities between schools and why such similarities and differences might exist.
Key findings or focus:
Key findings are addressed as follows:
Mediating tensions of excellence-equity
Although schools can be affected by marketplace educational reforms such as relative position in performance tables, this does not result in staff being less inclusive.
Staff as creative professionals working in dynamic problem solving organisations
The four schools used a range of different approaches to mediate tensions from the clash of conflicting philosophies that underpin inclusion and marketplace reform. Policies to support inclusion are dependent on the nature of learners' strengths, weaknesses and needs, the human and material resources available to the school. It is suggested that there is no single best way to build inclusive practice.
Supporting the achievements of all students, whilst safeguarding the needs of the most vulnerable
Schools which set out to support the highest achievements of all children also acknowledge differences between individual students in order to provide opportunities in which all are able to learn. In addition, when staff see their school as a problem solving organisation and consider themselves to be confident professionals, they are more able to respond creatively to the circumstances and needs of all students.
Putting relationships at the heart of developing achievement and inclusion
Relationships amongst students, staff and between staff and students are at the heart of understanding developing inclusion and achievement and acknowledge that teaching and learning takes place within the context of human relationships shaped by individuals and institutional values and beliefs.
The quality, authority and credibility of the resource from your subject perspective in relation to ITE:
This paper is written by researchers representing two UK Universities (Cambridge and Aberdeen) and was presented at the British Educational Research Association (BERA) in September 2008. The paper presents a thorough examination of an important issue through an evidence based gained using a multi-site case study approach with numerous interviews of teachers, students, support staff and parents/carers.
A Framework for Participation enabled the use of a conceptual lens through which each of the case studies could be constructed by careful analysis of who to interview, what to ask, what to observe, where to observe, what information to document and collect and then explore themes and concerns regarding the relationship between achievement and inclusion.
It should be enormously useful to any trainee teacher who wishes to be reflective, dynamic and thoughtful about their practice.
The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
This paper could be used by ITE tutors/mentors to encourage reflective thinking about:
- The nature of inclusion for all students
- The debate over inclusion vs integration
- The potential barriers to inclusion and how they might be overcome
- The nature of educational achievement
- The interplay and potential friction between the two concepts
- Reflective practice
- Policy design and implementation
- Evidence based practice
- Case study approach to research
The relevance to ITE students:
This paper is relevant to ITD students wishing to be reflective, forwarding thinking and thoughtful about their inclusive practice. It could be used in informing pedagogy design, inclusive policy design, parental partnership approaches and should encourage students to think about the needs of all learners in their classroom as being individual and specific and how best to design teaching and learning creatively to meet a range of needs.
The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:
Hart, J, Howieson, C, and Semple, S., (2010) Recognising Achievement: Literature Review and Model for Managing Recognition Processes. Education Line [Online: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/303752/0095220.pdf]
Postlethwaite, T., N. and Kellaghan, T., (2008) National assessments of educational achievement, International Institute for Educational Planning [Online: http://www.iaoed.org/files/9_finalweb.pdf]
Hayward, A., (2006) Making Inclusion Happen a Practical Guide, Paul Chapman/Sage: London