Methodological Principles and Practice
Edited By Michael Grenfell and Frédéric Lebaron
The Interaction Between Identity, Power and Inclusive Practice in a Minority Language School
The movement toward inclusion of students with special needs in the regular classroom has evolved in the education systems of countries around the world. This is a result of government policy, legal battles, and society’s changing response to the segregation of groups and the rights of individuals (Kavale and Forness 2000). Inclusion involves not only placement, but as an ideal it promotes the belonging of all students as part of their neighbourhood learning communities, regardless of language, creed, colour, race, or physical, social or mental ability. Research has found that the practice of inclusion has been more difficult to implement than its philosophy (Valentine 2001). The practices at the school level are what ultimately determine the extent of inclusion of students with special needs – be those needs physical, academic, or social (Carrington 1999).
These practices include not only those of teachers in classrooms, but also interactions between staff, parents, and students (Pearson 2000). The experiences and beliefs that all participants in inclusion bring to these interactions influence the success of inclusion at the school level (Carrington 1999). As noted, Bourdieu (1986, 1994a and b, 1991b, 1995b, 1977b/72) theorized that individuals act on their own self-perceptions of their worth, as compared to others in social groups within society. This theory underpins the approach I have taken to my research into better understanding the way that inclusion is implemented.