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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 7: Coherence-Fragmentation

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Chapter 7 Coherence-Fragmentation Introduction Revisiting the metaphor of the spider’s web, if communicative routines are the fortified centre of the web of teachers’ constructions of inclusive prac- tices and attunement is the spiral of threads that maintains the orb of that web intact, coherence-fragmentation is the adhesiveness of the threads in determining their tensile strength to support the web and fulfil its purpose. This chapter focuses on the theme of coherence-fragmentation in teachers’ constructions of inclusive practices. As discussed in Chapter 4, there were contradictions between teach- ers’ understanding of inclusion as accepting all children and their promo- tion of varied practices across locations within the mainstream setting along with acceptance of an ability cut-off point beyond which children could not be included. Their understanding that inclusion involved joint responsibility on the part of both resource teacher and class teacher was at odds with the compartmentalised division of teaching duties evident in their interpretation of teachers’ roles. Also discussed were ambiguities between teachers’ involvement in the preparation of the educational pro- gramme for the child with special educational needs and subsequent lack of reference to this programme in planning for inclusion. Additionally, analysis of teachers’ pedagogical intentions revealed that the methods iden- tified as promoting inclusion also contributed to the pursuit of separate programmes, supporting dual-track approaches to teaching and learning for children with special educational needs. Using the contradictions in teachers’ intentions as an interpretative lens for understanding practice, observation and detailed analysis revealed that management of the dilemma...

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