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Inclusion in Context

Policy, Practice and Pedagogy

Órla Ní Bhroin

Recent years have seen a rapid policy transformation from segregation to inclusion in the education of children with special educational needs in Ireland. This book investigates how resource teachers and class teachers interpret the policy and principles of inclusion and enact these in their practice. Based on a study of nine resource teachers and nine class teachers, each paired in a particular school, it includes material from both interviews and observations of practice, providing a detailed qualitative account of the actions and interactions of teaching/learning experiences. The findings provide valuable insights into how inclusion is understood, interpreted and experienced in the classroom. They will be of interest to all those who are active in the field of education for inclusion, particularly teachers and policymakers.

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Chapter 5: Communicative Routines

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Chapter 5 Communicative Routines Introduction This chapter focuses on the theme of communicative routines in resource teachers’ and class teachers’ interpretations and constructions of inclusive practice. Resonating with a Vygotskian perspective that emphasises the importance of verbal interactions as a catalyst for promoting thinking (1978), communicative routines refer to the dialogic exchanges that facili- tate learning and enable learners’ cognitive development. Communicative routines constitute the substance of “talk” which Mercer (1996) argues is “recognised as more than a means of sharing thoughts: it is a social mode of thinking, a tool for the joint construction of knowledge by teachers and learners” (p. 374). As discussed in Chapter 4, teachers identified the use of talk and discussion rather than completion of written activities and workbook exercises as a key teaching and learning approach to facilitate inclusion. As such, learning through language featured in teachers’ understanding of inclusive practice. Using learning through language as an interpretative lens, prolonged observation and detailed analysis of practice during the second phase of data generation led to the prominence of communicative routines as one of three central themes of teachers’ constructions of inclusive practice. In the outline of method provided at the end of Chapter 3, it was indicated that as analysis of data led to progressive focusing of the substan- tive issue on teachers’ communicative routines, structured observations of the verbal interactions enabling learners’ cognitive development and promoting their thinking were conducted. These involved the combined use of systematic observation schedule followed by a running...

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