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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 8: Whither Inclusion? Policy, Practice and Pedagogy

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CHAPTER 8

Whither Inclusion? Policy, Practice and Pedagogy

Introduction

Focusing on resource teachers’ and class teachers’ interpretations of policy and principles of inclusion, and on the manner in which policy and principle are enacted in their practice, the question addressed by this study related to how resource teachers and class teachers interpret and construct practices to include children with special educational needs in mainstream primary schools. The purpose was to provide insight into inclusive practice in the mainstream setting from the perspectives of the key constructors of that practice and to increase understanding of inclusion by systematically documenting teachers’ intentions and pedagogical routines. It was also anticipated that documenting these realities had potential to inform policy while also providing insights relating to improvement of practice through professional development programmes. Interviews to elicit teachers’ interpretations combined with observations to document the detail of practice generated data from which nine case studies were crafted. Based on the naturalistic paradigmatic assumption that by studying individual cases, insights are gained which can “illuminate the general” (Denscombe, 2003, p. 30), adequate contextual detail has been furnished to enable the reader to assess the “transferability” of findings to other situations (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 124). Consistent with interpretive enquiry espousing a grounded theory approach, the cumulative impact of detail and interpretation serves to provide a theoretically convincing base to support the insights garnered in terms of contributing to understanding of inclusion. Drawing on the study’s...

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