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New Educational Horizons in Contemporary Ireland

Trends and Challenges


Edited By Thomas Grenham and Patricia Kieran

Ireland is in the grip of a postmodern cultural deconstruction on many levels. The traditional ‘grand narratives’ are increasingly viewed with suspicion and disenchantment as Ireland struggles to understand its evolving identity. There is a growing need for comprehensive interdisciplinary research that will facilitate teaching and learning in this rapidly changing cultural and societal context.
This book brings a fresh approach to Irish educational debates, in which qualified educational specialists engage collaboratively in interdisciplinary reflection on their own teaching and learning. The volume addresses a multiplicity of key issues in Irish education (with a particular focus on the primary sector), including teacher formation, curriculum development, teaching and learning methods, educational policy, philosophy, history, religious education, ethics, special needs education and transformative education. The book aims both to critique new educational policy and practice and to identify the key challenges in providing innovative, imaginative and cutting-edge teaching and learning in contemporary Irish schools.


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Part IV - Diversity and Inclusion 213


Part IV Diversity and Inclusion Anne O’Byrne and Miriam Twomey 11 Perceptions of Inclusion: Students with Special Educational Needs Introduction Changing practice and perceptions of inclusion have resulted in the devel- opment of more inclusive, equitable systems for children with special edu- cational needs (SEN) and intellectual disability (ID) in Ireland. This is an important emerging trend in Irish education. While some limited provision for children with disabilities was in place in Ireland from the late nineteenth century, it was essentially from the 1960s onwards, that children with dis- abilities were accommodated by voluntary ef forts from religious groups1 and a medical and care orientation from the Department of Health was put in place. Subsequently, through legislation and the mainstreaming of services, equality and access have received attention in the form of special educational provision, located in special schools or separate classrooms in a mainstream environment. Since the 1998 Education Act, children have been accommodated in mainstream classrooms. Previously, children with SEN received their schooling in segregated settings. Until recently students with ID have not had access to third-level education. Education is seen as central to the establishment of human rights and as such must occupy a pivotal role in the development of the individual. This chapter endeavours to give a brief outline of the history and dif ferent philosophical underpinnings to the concept known as disability. Particular emphasis will be placed on access 1 Religious groups included the Carmelite Brothers and the Christian Brothers. 216 Anne O’Byrne and Miriam...

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