Schools' efforts to create inclusive learning environments

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Schools' efforts to create inclusive learning environments

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Publication Conference other
Title Schools' efforts to create inclusive learning environments
Author Ohlsson, Lisbeth ; Andersson, Helena ; Assarson, Inger ; Östlund, Daniel
Date 2016
English abstract
The study is part of a three-year school-improvement program in Sweden on creating inclusive learning environments, comprising several organizational levels from policy and management level to classroom praxis (http://www.ifous.se/programomraden-forskning/inkludering/). Research on inclusive education in an international context frequently focuses the placement of individual students, administrative and organizational problems and attitudes towards policy and steering documents (Forlin, Douglas & Hattie, 1996 ; Ainscow & Miles, 2008 ). Often, a praxis of exclusion is built into educational systems (Van de Putte & De Schauwer, 2013 ) where thinking of students in categories forces pedagogues into locked positions (Tetler, 2000 ). In school development, the formation of teachers into teams may play a central part as an improvement strategy (Nordholm and Blossing, 2014 ). The aim of the present study is to document and analyze the processes experienced by 32 school teams, chosen by their school leaders in 12 municipalities to implement the intentions to create inclusive learning environments in their schools. The research interest focuses how the informants describe pedagogical and didactic prerequisites and organizational conditions and how they acted when implementing inclusive learning environments in the local school context, their role and legitimacy, the support structures and the signs of change they have seen towards a more inclusive learning environment during the developmental program. The methodological approach is inspired by on-going evaluation (Ahnberg, Lundgren, Messing & von Schantz Lundgren, 2010) as a way to contribute knowledge about longitudinal developmental processes in school development close to local school context and praxis. Group interviews with the members of the teams were conducted each year in a dialogic manner with the ambition to give continuous feed back to the school teams as a way to promote developmental learning during the program. Except for visits to the schools and interviews, the researchers took part in seminars within the program and collected written documentation from the schools. The research interest concerns intentions expressed by the teams in the beginning of the program, the processes during the implementation phases and a final evaluation after three years. Data was analyzed according to qualitative content analysis and contains a rich variety of experiences and thick descriptions from the participants. Significant shifts of perspectives during the three years appear in the findings displaying how school problems and student-perspectives were understood, how the concept of inclusion was interpreted and enacted, how the teachers used analysis and reflection to promote inclusive learning environments and how frustration and insecurity among staff was transferred into collegial cooperation. The main shifts can be described in terms of taking steps from ideology to implementation, from being stuck in locked group constellations to finding flexible solutions, from seeing the teacher as the carrier of problems to collegial professionalism, and from viewing the student as the carrier of problems to analysing difficulties on several levels. School development related to inclusive learning environment is a democratic issue relevant in a Nordic as well as a global educational context and the complexity of educational organisation on different levels (Scheerens, 2015).
Conference
Social Justice, Equality and Solidarity in Education, Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA) (March 9-11, 2016 : Helsinki, Finland)
Link http://blogs.helsinki.fi/nera-2016/files/2014/09/Abstracts_NERA2016.pdf .Icon
Publisher NERA
Language eng (iso)
Subject Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/21547 Permalink to this page
Link http://blogs.helsinki.fi/nera-2016/... (external link to related web page)
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