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Cascading special lynchings into why our jS find this end, and how to give what we together reply to enter or see better. If the rethinking is, please read us suppress. Whilst we continue to be ignorant about the features of good inclusion, we are assailed with advice about effective inclusion, all of which is appallingly meaningless and likely to entrench the sense of failure among teachers.
As Booth et al a note, inclusion is understood differently by scholars, or at least they start from different positions, and as Garcia and Metcalf point out, there is a continuous invention of new terminology and nomenclature, aimed at being more neutral than what previously existed. The attempt by Booth and his colleagues a to produce a composite view of inclusion from contributors to their edited collection seems only to add further confusion.
Inclusive education, the preferred epithet for some, is used without recognising its oxymoronic nature and without considering that schools were never meant to be for everyone Slee, and must, in order to function, position some individuals as failures. Although she never argued, in that report, that all children and young people should be educated in mainstream and indeed maintained that there would continue to be a place for some special schools, the report came to stand for mainstreaming. The second warning concerned social deprivation and the Committee was urged to exclude children in such circumstances, including those for whom English was a second language, from its deliberations.
Although there has been a growth in the number of parents challenging the refusal of a place in mainstream schools through the tribunal process, this still represents a small proportion of the population of parents with disabled children. The Audit Commission reported on the stress experienced by parents in England and Wales who had to fight to get a statement for their child, even though this was no guarantee of a mainstream placement.
For black and ethnic minority parents, restricted information on schooling options are commonplace and the impression is often given that special schooling is the only option. Research undertaken for the voluntary organisation Parents for Inclusion Broomfield, reported that some disabled black children were placed in a mainstream setting without any support and their parents were then placed under intense pressure to remove them and to pursue a segregated placement. Instead of inclusion being a source of debate among researchers and scholars, it has become a curious, highly emotive, and somewhat irrational space of confrontation.
Bandwagons provide a communal sense of purpose, an energizing camaraderie, and a collective voice whose power exceeds its importance. Bandwagons are used to champion a cause, engage in sweeping yet attractive rhetoric, and generally to promise far more than they ever have hope of delivering while simultaneously downplaying or ignoring the negative aspects of their edicts Kavale and Mostert, , p.
She made the point that inclusion was, of course, ideological, as indeed were the attempts to defend the special education empire. Brantlinger a. According to Warnock, it is, of course, the children who suffer from the effects of ideology: The fact is that, if educated in mainstream schools, many such children are not included at all. They suffer all the pains of the permanent outsider. No political ideology should impose this on them p. The special education scholars such as Fuchs and Fuchs and Kauffman and Hallahan have a particularly powerful influence within the US, within Higher Education Institutions HEIs and on editorial boards of journals.
This is a good illustration of the confusion which surrounds inclusion and the superficiality which characterises much of the discussion about it. Special educationists are in a less powerful position outside the US, in both their HEIs and in the journals, but this is because, as Slee b notes, many of them have reinvented themselves as inclusionists, continuing to preach special education to students under a more publicly acceptable guise and with more judicious language: Traditional special educators demonstrate a remarkable resilience through linguistic dexterity.
While they use a contemporary lexicon of inclusion, the cosmetic amendments to practices and procedures reflect assumptions about pathological defect and normality based upon a disposition of calibration and exclusion p.
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Even when contradictory positions are posed, the text simply expands to incorporate them Cormack and Comber, , p. They have to cut corners in the work by doing essential things first, including a host of administrative and other non-teaching duties, at the expense of creative work like preparation. They face the potential atrophy of teaching skills through lack of opportunity for engagement with teachers in professional development and participation in collaborative networks Smyth et al, , p.
This is profoundly exclusionary. The accountability culture creates closures, but also catches everyone — policymakers, teacher educators, researchers, teachers, parents and students — in a performance, forcing them to enact a version of inclusion which is merely about the tolerance and the management of presence and difference. This response highlights the damage which the careless and unreflexive language of inclusion does to those at whom it is directed.
The frustration expressed by teachers and their union representatives, who contend that they cannot achieve inclusion in the present climate, is hardly surprising even if it is disconcerting. Warnock is clear that it is disruptive youngsters who create the biggest problem for schools: Since , heads and governors have been liable to a criminal charge if they exclude a disruptive child from a mainstream school against the wishes of the parent.
Yet it seems clear that disruptive children frequently hinder teaching and learning ibid, p. The House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee also noted the frustration caused to everyone by the growing number of children with problem behaviour in mainstream schools: The Warnock SEN framework is struggling to remain fit for purpose and where significant cracks are developing in the system — most starkly demonstrated by the failure of the system to cope with the rising number of children with autism and social, emotional or behavioural difficulties SEBD — this is causing high levels of frustration to parents, children, teachers and local authorities p.
Teachers have expressed doubts about the extent to which they feel they can contain these medicated and often violent youngsters within ordinary classrooms. There is little doubt that those children who have acquired this label, whether medicated or not, present their teachers with enormous anxieties about how to ensure effective support and safety.
In the third year with the same school district, I thought things were going to be better. I was finally impressed with her new teacher, but one month later she quit and moved away. She was propped up against a bar in a big metal spaceship on the playground. She was not spotted my daughter can bear weight on her legs but cannot stand on her own. She fell back and split her head open. This resulted in her getting 3 staples put in her head Special Child, n. Those things still hurt. It was as if we were being excluded ourselves. The whole family Barkkman, , p. I can see how I wound up to melting down.
I just hit the wall. Black and ethnic minority disabled youngsters are far more likely to be placed in a segregated setting than their white counterparts Broomfield, They are also more likely to be poorer, have fewer of their social, educational and health needs met, and to face a bleak future segregated from the rest of society with limited independence and employment opportunities.
Although this creates high levels of frustration for black and ethnic minority parents, it appears that few feel able to challenge schools or education authorities. The frustration experienced by teachers and by parents at the apparent impossibility of inclusion has an intensity and depth which is disturbing, especially where it appears to lead to significant personal costs. GUILT The difficulty in embracing full inclusion has produced, as well as a sense of failure, considerable guilt about the youngsters who, it is felt, are being let down.
He is so young but he is also so badly mentally disturbed. The policy of inclusion is finishing this child off — not saving him Sunday Herald, 16 January, , p. If my job depends on their test scores and they are reading at a first- or second-grade level and I am teaching fourth grade. I do because I am a teacher and went into teaching to help kids.
But if my job depends on it. Inclusion for these children appears elusive, a ghostly presence that can never quite be achieved. Teachers have done this in the only ways open to them, through defensive statements such as those voiced by the teachers unions, or by the othering of particular children as beyond the capabilities of ordinary teachers. Policy documents contain a critical problematisation of inclusion, albeit in a more subtle way.
The subtle and not so subtle language shifts enacted in policy discourse are examined in more detail in Chapter 2. The critical problematisation of inclusion by teachers and in their more subtle forms within policies seeks to minimise guilt and enables responsibility to be evaded. The tired person no longer has any subjective possibility at his disposal; he therefore cannot realize the slightest objective possibility. The tired person has merely exhausted the realization, whereas the exhausted person exhausts the whole of the possible. The tired person can no longer realise, but the exhausted person can no longer possibilize.
He exhausts himself in exhausting the possible, and vice-versa. He exhausts that which, in the possible, is not realized. The increasing talk of inclusion as an insurmountable challenge, whose possibilities have been exhausted, is cause for concern. What is perhaps more alarming is that the exhaustion with the struggle for inclusion leads to a search for approaches which are simpler or less intensive or have fewer costs associated with them. This kind of search, notes Gregoriou , citing Lyotard , is a demand which: Threatens to totalize experience, to reduce language to Newspeak, to rob thinking of its childhood and pedagogy of its philosophical moment.
These mantras reduce inclusion to a problem to be managed with techniques and methods Sebba and Sachdev, ; Farrell and Ainscow, The absence of any discussion of values in these resources for teachers is alarming and furthermore, these guides miss the point that inclusion is and should be a struggle and allow institutions and teachers to evade responsibility for making more significant cultural and political changes in practice and thinking. Student teachers will encounter some elements of inclusion and special needs during their initial teacher education and indeed have to demonstrate competence in this area.
As Brantlinger b has observed, education policy has replaced theory as a source of guidance for practitioners and this forms the content of much of teacher education. The absence of any critical interrogation of these texts ensures that complex thinking is denied Britzman, ; Pinar, and that the values associated with difference, inclusion and justice are given little attention.
The school contexts in which student teachers do their placements are experienced as bewildering and frightening and, of course, bear no resemblance to the texts the student teachers have read. Student teachers are understandably concerned with their own plausibility and acceptance in these settings. Yet, because student teachers are not taught to read these contexts critically, they remain ignorant and ill at ease within them. These individuals are unlikely to invite questioning from student teachers about values or about how to create the necessary conditions for inclusion.
The coils of a serpent are even more complex than the burrows of a molehill pp. At the same time, the notion of a teacher as expert persists and forces beginning teachers to feign confidence in an effort to convince onlookers of their competence: The view of the teacher as expert also tends to reinforce the image of the teacher as an autonomous individual. As a possession, knowledge also implies territorial rights, which become naturalized by the compartmentalization of the curriculum. The cultural myth of teachers as experts, then, contributes to the reification of both knowledge and the knower Britzman, , pp.
The standards which new teachers must achieve before they are accorded the status of qualified status envelop the student teacher within rigid stratifications Roy, which deny complex thinking and firmly entrench their novice and incompetent identities. Such low expectations in relation to inter-professional practice, together with the scarce mention of other professionals, and even then only as generalised others, inevitably leaves the beginning teacher surmising that a lack of importance is given to this work and encourages a focus on the more singular aspects of professional practice.
The influence does not appear to be a benign one. Accomplished generalist teachers have to show that they can: address issues of diversity proactively to promote equity and to ensure that their students — regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, exceptionalities, primary spoken language, socieconomic status, sexual orientation, body image, or gender — receive equal opportunities to participate in, enjoy, and benefit from instructional activities and resources National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, The problem with these standards is that they create a problem and a spectacle of difference, to be managed and tolerated by the beginning teacher.
The standards relating to inclusion merely have to be performed without necessarily committing to the values associated with them. And since there has been little attempt to specify what inclusive teaching might look like, it is inevitable that scrutiny of these standards will be light compared with the attention given to the more visible aspects of teaching such as classroom management.
The exclusion and injustices which student teachers encounter during their training is clearly not lost on them and Booth et al a ask if this could make them question the value of creating inclusive cultures in the schools they go to work in. Specialist postgraduate training consolidates this expert identity and whilst they are expected to address whole school issues and collaboration, they are also encouraged to pursue interests in particular impairments such as dyslexia.
Attempts to persuade their colleagues to adopt more inclusive practices are often pursued as an act of conversion, but are met with resistance or, worse still, apathy.
They can never give enough and are offered scant guidance on their uphill struggle. Continuing Professional Development CPD offers little to teachers to assuage their frustration, confusion, guilt or exhaustion over inclusion. She may offer vindication for those believing that inclusion was, and still is, wrong headed, but, as I have suggested, also adds another layer of confusion, especially in the recommendation to relaunch special schools as inclusive special schools.
A Government Working Group on special schools reported in that on the basis of the trends, full inclusion would be achieved by and that some English local authorities, including Manchester, parts of London Wandsworth, Lambeth and Lewisham and Brighton and Hove, would take years DfES, They have to do so in a legislative and policy context in which attempts to create inclusion appear consistently to fail. But first, it is necessary to consider in more detail how the repetition of exclusion seems to be irresistible.
It was, of course, wishful thinking that such a formidable component of the educational lexicon could be announced away, its demise assured by the authority of HMI. In one sense, the Inspector was merely signalling that the new legislation, introduced in Scotland in , removed special educational needs from the statutory language and replaced it with the term additional support needs. This chapter considers the processes within policy and legislation through which the point about inclusion continues to be missed in the search for the calculable and the certain.
Well intentioned efforts to develop inclusive policy and legislation appear to always lead to the repetition of exclusion and add to the confusion, frustration, guilt and exhaustion experienced by teachers. This chapter considers policy and legislation relating to inclusion, and questions why exclusion is so impossible to resist. The fragmented policy arena within which inclusion is wedged is examined. An example of legislation, The Additional Support Needs Act in Scotland, which replaced the system of formally assessing disabled children, is considered alongside the Parliamentary Inquiry which recommended the change and to which I was Adviser.
This example is discussed in some detail and whilst it is particular to Scotland, the insights through being unusually close to the policymaking process may be of interest. The absence of children and young people in the policy and legislative processes is also considered. It is recognised as an expectation, and even an imperative, as much as it exists in written form. It is an ideology for some, and a harmful one at that. The consensus which is assumed to characterise the policymaking process, however, is far from the reality: There is ad hocery, negotiation and serendipity within the state, within the policy formulation process.
As Ball notes, sometimes the policy texts are not read in the original but are mediated and delegitimized, for example by teachers unions. Ball helpfully distinguishes between policy as text and policy as discourse. As was seen above, the texts themselves are full of contradictions and contestations. As discourses, policies create effects through the way they speak of objects and of people. It is the discursive aspect of policy that is the most significant because it works on people in their local situations and masks its own effects: It changes the possibilities we have for thinking otherwise; thus it limits our responses to change, and leads us to misunderstand what policy is by misunderstanding what it does.
Further, policy as discourse may have the effect of redistributing voice, so that it does not matter what some people say or think, and only certain voices can be heard as meaningful or authoritative Ball, , p. Analyses of inclusion policy have shed little light on its contradictions and complexities. They either conflate policy and legislation into generalisations about context eg Riddell and Brown, ; Peter, , ignore what Ozga calls the bigger picture or take the meaning of policy for granted.
Analysis of educational policy has not been well done, as several commentators have noted Ball, , Scheurich, The problem, according to Scheurich , is that they treat social problems like diseases and assume that a policy remedy will suffice. Even policy analysts who claim to be writing from a postpositive perspective, viewing the policy process as a struggle over symbols, retreat into commentaries of social deficiencies and of the relative merits of different prescriptions Hawkesworth, ; Scheurich, Her analysis highlights how inclusion policy is located within a moral system of values which in turn is set in a political system which has a hierarchy of values.
This creates normalised expectations, for example about what children can be expected to do, and permissions, for example to label and exclude, if they do not meet these expectations.
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HMI, The persistent refrain from commentators on these policies is that they offer little insight on how to do inclusion and are themselves messy, complex and confused Riddell, ; Danforth, Dyson is less inclined to read UK policy as confused, suggesting that the elision of inclusion with social inclusion by New Labour is a more calculated form of slippage which ties it to the standards agenda. The inclusion policies certainly appear to do little to assuage the confusion, frustration, guilt and exhaustion experienced by teachers.
The obsession with examination results has led politicians and policymakers to claim great improvements by students overall, while inequalities on the basis of gender, ethnic origin social class worsened Arnot et al, ; Connell, ; Gillborn and Youdell, The impact of policies on these inequalities has not been scrutinised and as a consequence: At every turn there is scope for a worsening of social inequality.
As our data testify, despite the best intentions of some teachers and the struggles, effort and resistance of many pupils, the reforms seem relentlessly to embody an increasingly diverse and exclusionary notion of education Gillborn and Youdell, , p. Inclusion policy as discourse appears to function in two ways. On the other hand, it is placed within a heavily technicist context which reduces the practice of inclusion to a set of techniques and skills. These pull the teacher in different directions and create impossibilities.
The teacher is caught somewhere in between these intentions and with an awful sense of foreboding that children are being let down and for which they are being held responsible. The highly charged challenges to inclusion policy by teachers unions have already been witnessed. These enable teachers to cope with what is imposed upon them, but do not, he suggests, amount to significant resistance. This statutory form of assessment of children with special educational needs had been established by the legislation which her report in DES, had generated but had created winners and losers among individual children and among schools.
The Scottish equivalent of statementing, recording, was also recognised as problematic and a Scottish Parliamentary Inquiry into special educational needs Scottish Parliament, a documented its iniquity, inefficiency and failure to meet the needs of children and their parents. The Inquiry, undertaken by the Education, Culture and Sport Committee, set out to examine the diversity of provision across Scotland in special needs education; to investigate the effectiveness of current integration strategies at all levels of pre-school and school education; to investigate the effectiveness of transition arrangements for special needs pupils at each stage in the school education system; and to consider how effectively the requirements of special needs families are understood and fulfilled by education services.
I acted as Adviser to the Inquiry and assured the Members of the Scottish Parliament MSPs that such a bold move would be regarded with interest and perhaps even respect from outside Scotland. Taking the step to remove the system of recording was, for me at least, an example of what the Scottish Parliament should be about. The Scottish Executive responded swiftly and, following a series of consultations, drafted The Education Additional Support for Learning Scotland Bill which went onto the statute in , replacing the existing system of recording with a new approach.
The new legislation, however, will recreate exclusion on a number of counts, as key figures who have given evidence in Parliament have pointed out. The first problematic area concerns the language used in the definitions in the legislation, the confusion and the potential exclusions that these create. When I first came across the new term to replace special educational needs, additional support needs, I was confused and, anxious about the prospect of sounding thus during a planned conversation with an education journalist, looked for clarification of the term within the Consultation on the draft bill Scottish Executive, There was little comfort to be had: A child or young person has additional support needs for the purposes of this Act where, for whatever reason, the child or young person is, or is likely to be, unable without the provision of additional support to benefit from school education provided or to be provided for the child or young person p.
After struggling with this tautology for some time, I eventually gave up and confessed my confusion to the journalist, who, as an English graduate, revealed that he had also struggled to make sense of the definition. When I was invited back to give evidence in Parliament, I was still confused by the language and said so.
It appeared that only children who required support from an external agency would be entitled to a CSP. Donna Martin, of Parents Awareness Forum Fife, described the angst which the uncertainty over who will and will not receive particular plans, and the support that went with it, had caused parents: I agree that we need change, but I am very concerned about which children will get a co-ordinated support plan, which children will get a personal learning plan and where our children will fit into the system Scottish Parliament, a, Col.
In the vernacular, that could be a means of copping out b, Col. Concerns were also raised in Parliament about the impact that the legislation would have on teachers and on their capacity to provide support. Speaking on behalf of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Councillor the Rev Ewan Aitken voiced some fears: We are concerned about the demands that the bill will place on teachers and other school staff, especially in the context of the national teachers agreement. Who exactly will manage each of the plans? Scottish Parliament, c, Col. These concerns were echoed by George Haggarty of the Headteachers Association of Scotland, who feared that schools could be blamed for failing to make provision: We hope that the bill will not lead to a system that is more demanding of the school sector — we are thinking of the focus that could be put on the apparent failure of schools to deliver additional support needs Scottish Parliament, d, Col.
It is much easier, more efficient and much less time consuming. That is what is happening now Scottish Parliament, a, Col. As the Bill went through its subsequent parliamentary stages, the Scottish Executive responded to some of the criticisms made and to the advice given and introduced some amendments. These included the introduction of a duty on Education Authorities to provide additional support to certain children under the age of three and added protection in the short term for those with a Record of Needs. Whilst these were important accommodations, there were still reservations that the legislation would not adequately serve children and young people and their families.
When the MSPs presented their report, which included their recommendations to abolish the system of recording, to the Scottish Parliament, there was cross-party consensus and strong emotions. The report was, as one MSP contended: another example of Scotland becoming a much better place to live in because of the existence of the Scottish Parliament, which is able to address subjects that would not have been given any kind of political airing under the old political system with which we are all too familiar McAllion, Labour, Scottish Parliament b, Col. Instead it is about supporting, helping, caring for and involving the children who are in the chamber today and many others.
If we see the debate in such a way, the Parliament is not some dry and arid place, but part of the living development of the Scottish community. The debate is not about figures, politics or. During the process of the Inquiry I was impressed by the extent to which the MSPs understood the need to alter their terms of reference from an examination of integration to inclusion and recognised the significance of the distinction.
The MSPs came to the realisation that inclusion was not just about children with special needs, but was about schools and professionals changing to ensure that no-one was left out Barton, Although they were clear on this point, they also recognised the complexity associated with inclusion and accepted that many problems had been generated by simplistic policy solutions.
In private sessions following the questioning of witnesses, and with the microphones switched off, the MSPs confessed to their mounting uncertainty about how inclusion for all pupils might be achieved. The experience of the Inquiry had affected some MSPs profoundly as they had been forced to confront their own ignorance and prejudice and they revealed this publicly: I will make something of a confession. Looking back on that, I realise that that is exactly the kind of impression that we must challenge among young people who are growing up now.
Children with special educational needs, despite those needs, are not different from other children in Scotland and should not be treated differently. They should be able to expect the same high standard of education that every other child does Gillon, Labour, Scottish Parliament b, Col. I knew very little about this subject when the Inquiry started. I approached the subject and my first visit to some schools involved with trepidation, but I have scarcely seen more caring, loving and enjoyable places in which to spend time Russell, SNP, b, Col.
The new legislation, on the other hand, appeared to be an act of reterritorialization: not. He asked whether having a special unit in a mainstream school would count as mainstreaming of youngsters with special needs. Could you give me a shorter answer to that question? Monteith, Cons, Scottish Parliament, a, Col. The responsibilities of holding the Executive to account were met effectively within the official Parliamentary sessions, but the MSPs have been less successful in seeing the process through and ensuring that the civil servants carry out their recommendations.
As a result, the officials have been able to reinstate fudge and blur within policy and to refuse anything that requires significant change. This form of words has been accepted by many writers on inclusion Allan, , Barton, ; Slee, and was met with enthusiasm among the MSPs.
When the MSP who was opening the debate in Parliament invited me to offer any suggestions for her address, I suggested that she challenge this refusal: I am disappointed that ministers felt unable to endorse our definition of inclusive education or to accept the need for a clear and agreed definition.
I hope that the minister will inform us of the actions that he will pursue in the light of our recommendations McGugan, SNP, Scottish Parliament, b, Col. The Minister, in his response, claimed to have accepted the definition of inclusive education after all, but seemed to have missed the important second part of the formula, concerned with removing barriers: A key feature of that approach is to assist education authorities to include children with special educational needs in mainstream education wherever possible and wherever that is appropriate to the needs of the child.
That does not mean that we take a dogmatic view on inclusion in the main stream regardless of the needs of the individual child. Here the Inspectors attempted to pin down a definition of inclusive education and did indeed make reference to barriers to participation.
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Barriers to learning may also arise from difficult circumstances such as parents who abuse drugs or alcohol. Children who are looked after may also face barriers to learning HMIe, So what happened? Reason is installed as the power which identifies and equalises difference Ansell Pearson, , p. The socius exists on the basis of disequilibrium and the imbalance of debt and credit, creating a psychic economy Nietzsche, of inequality.
Baker portrays a more sinister dimension of the inevitability of the repetition of exclusion, arguing that we — as teachers and as researchers — are unable to resist hunting down disability and difference. Baker contends that we need to find the pathological in order to function ourselves. This negative ontology goes on relentlessly; even when we pursue alternatives, we simply reinvent the hierarchies that help sustain these negatives and social order, Baker suggests, is a euphemism for the colonisation of privilege.
The quest for certainty and the calculable within educational policy and practice may also effect reterritorialisation and the repetition of exclusion. This closes down possibilities for creating the kinds of policy and legislation which will generate inclusiveness and allows for the deferral of responsibility. Furthermore, the certainty with which recommendations — for example about what constitutes good practice — need to be made, enables responsibility to be evaded.
The increasing emphasis on what works pushes us towards technical solutions and further away from understanding the features of inclusion which might be meaningful to children and young people and their families. The guarantees and assurances of quality, value added, or enhancement , which are increasingly expected within education, set up an inertia from which it is impossible to break away: Any presumption of guarantee and of non-contradiction in so paroxystic a situation.
The pursuit of justice, Derrida argues, must embrace the undecidable and the incalculable; if these are absent, then there is injustice and irresponsibility. It is this very moment of madness when one has to decide what to do, but yet a just decision is impossible Edgoose, , which opens the door to the possibility of justice. The prospects of creating a more just and responsible inclusion through the creation of policy and practice aporias Derrida, are explored in Chapter 4. This included an examination of assessment procedures and they visited the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive in order to learn from their experience of the legislative change.
Once again, I was wheeled into Parliament and was able to outline the problematic areas which had been identified by those giving evidence in the Scottish Inquiry. I had neither the inclination nor the capacity to offer advice on how to avoid the repetition of exclusion; rather I highlighted some of the tensions and contradictions in the task of establishing a just system and issued some general enjoinders to involve children in the review process — properly, in a way that invites them to make policy — and to consider radical reform of teacher education.
It took written evidence from over individuals and organisations, took evidence in Parliament from 50 witnesses and visited schools. Parliament is governed by the majority party of the day and therefore the will of Parliament reflects the will of the incumbent government of which he is a Minister. Equally we have also received a large number of memoranda from parents whose children have been placed in a special school and they have had to fight to allow them to be included in a mainstream school p.
The Government should be up-front about its change of direction on SEN policy and the inclusion agenda, if this is indeed the case, and should reflect this in updated statutory and non-statutory guidance to the sector p. This had not previously been stated anywhere. This is further indication that the Government is re-thinking its policy on SEN p.
The Committee did not share this view. Furthermore, parents have a right to choose a school for their child, but only one which is outside the state sector. Thus, they can remove a child from the public education, but they cannot choose within it. This created a troubling situation over which parents had no control: There are many parents that believe either their children are educated in mainstream schools against their wishes or that their children are not being given access to mainstream schooling when they should be.
For children with SEN, the qualification regarding the efficient education of other children puts the final decision making power in the hands of officials and professionals rather than the parents of children with SEN. Parents increasingly have their expectations raised with regard to parental choice and this is understandably causing conflict and frustration when their experience is so different pp.
Parents were further disadvantaged by two further contradictions relating to statementing, the statutory system of assessment and the cost of tribunals. The Committee identified a conflict of interests in the linking of assessment and resources which had led to some bad practices within Local Education Authorities, including refusing to assess children and adopting blanket policies of avoiding quantifying educational provision in statements. The Committee undertook some skilled detective work on documents and in its questioning of the witnesses.
It presented the contradictions within the system as what Derrida calls aporias or double contradictory imperatives, and wondered about how, or if, these could be squared. It is somewhat disappointing that in its recommendations, the Committee called for measures which would inevitably create closure and reinscribe the exclusion it sought to banish. Demanding that the Government makes its position clear is both unlikely to produce a result and misses the opportunity to offer guidance to the Government on what its position ought to be.
These pleas, however, were rejected and the recommendation of a national framework was allowed to stand. The calls for greater recognition and valuing of special schools have been met with dismay in some quarters, viewing it as a further nail in the coffin of inclusion. Difference is continuously verified and valorised and the individuals upon whom inclusion is to be practised are marked out with a special status.
Interesting as he is in his own whiskery way, I would not equate him with the invaluable complexity, wonder and joy that is a child. But I think it is a very serious matter when we stop talking about children in our classrooms and schools p. The Scottish Parliament Inquiry into special needs, unusually, heard from, and learned a great deal from, children and young people who had experienced exclusion, in both special and mainstream schools. For this student, mainstream schooling amounted to a refusal of his deaf identity and an attempt to assimilate him, which had led to his exclusion: At breaks and lunch time, all my hearing friends would go into groups.
They would listen to music and talk about pop records, so I felt very isolated. I went through some depression. It was also extremely difficult to communicate with the teachers who could not sign. How was I supposed to ask questions?
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I had an interpreter, but I did not have the interpreter for all classes — only for English or maths. For classes such as physical education, there was no interpreter. Therefore, I would have to write things down. I felt embarrassed about that.
During my time at mainstream school, my confidence had deteriorated and I decided that I could not go back. I stayed at home for six months Scottish Parliament, b, Cols. This youngster had moved to a special school for the Deaf and had been astonished at the contrast: I was shocked; the college was so different from mainstream schooling. I had not realised how good it would be for me. I thought that it was just the equivalent of mainstream school, but in fact it was the opposite.
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Everyone can sign — the teachers, children, cleaners and gardeners — communication is vital and it is very easy b, Cols. For this young person, the effortless communication that was possible in his new school, but had been denied in the mainstream, made the difference between inclusion and exclusion.
Further evidence from children and young people alerted the MSPs to the need to move beyond considerations of the physical placement of children to recognise the potentially highly exclusionary nature of some mainstream settings: Inclusion is about more than being in the same building; it is about being with others, sharing experiences, building lasting friendships, being recognised for making a valued contribution and being missed when you are not there.
Inclusion is not an issue of geography.
Yes, we need buildings to be made accessible, but change can happen only if people have accessible minds. We need to realise that it is a fundamental right of all children to be educated together. We need to work together in partnership to secure that future Scottish Parliament, b, Col. The children and young people who gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament inquiry demonstrated an acute understanding of inclusion and exclusion, which was striking when compared with some of the confusion experienced by adults.
They described the most significant barrier to inclusion as being negative attitudes towards them and low expectations of what they could achieve: Often kids get stuck in a cycle of diminished expectation because of social perceptions and beliefs. I wish there could be a shift in perception b, Col.
One individual described barriers which were placed in his way by professionals and which almost denied him a mainstream placement, but his parents fought on his behalf: Both my parents were adamant that I should have the same rights, opportunities and life experiences as other kids. After many months of fighting with doctors, psychologists and local authorities, I was finally given the green light to begin my schooling in a mainstream class b, Col.
Although this young person had finally been able to attend a mainstream school, he had encountered further obstacles within school, for example by being denied the opportunity to go on a foreign exchange trip with his peers or participate in afterschool activities. The House of Commons Education and Skills Select Committee considered evidence from children and young people, but only indirectly through a project on participation in education and the Powerful Voices conferences and in written submissions from organisations representing children and young people.
It is curious that the MSPs did not choose to hear what children and young people had to say. Had they done so, they might have learned a great deal and produced a rather different set of recommendations. Research on inclusion and disability has even, it has been suggested, contributed to the marginalisation and exclusion of disabled people Oliver, , while ethnic minority groups have argued that research done upon them has been damaging because of the labels with which it is constrained to work Artiles, More generally, educational research has come under attack for failing to produce knowledge that is useful to the policy and practice community.
This chapter considers some of the problems associated with research on inclusion and disability and the damaging effects on those upon whom it is practised and reflects on some of the wider criticisms of educational research. Researchers entering the field of inclusion either as students or as novices face a particular challenge. As a consequence, new researchers may end up undertaking research which is highly exclusionary, but which they do not recognise as such.
The failure of research on inclusion and disability to make a difference to those most affected have led to frustration and pain for some and for others has reinforced a sense of futility about the whole inclusion enterprise. Disabled scholars such as Oliver have contended that able bodied researchers, because of their lack of attention to the material consequences of their research, have done little for disabled people. At one level, as has been argued repeatedly Slee and Allan, ; Slee, , the problem with research on inclusion is that it has never been able to shed itself of the formidable special education — positivistic — paradigm and continues to be shaped and judged by it.
At another level, research in this field lacks a number of key elements without which exclusion is perpetuated: the voices of the researched are absent from the process; there has been little or no debate about the purpose of inclusion and hence there is uncertainty about what would constitute evidence for its success. Educational research more generally has been roundly criticised, but judgements about it are based on criteria which are inappropriate and which ignore values and issues of power. They and their families are best placed to comment on the kind of inclusion outcomes which would be acceptable to them, yet there have been limited efforts to work systematically with children and young people to obtain their views on their experiences of inclusion and exclusion.
As Masson notes, legislation in relation to children is concerned with care and protection and this may extend to limiting their participation in research, but parents and teachers may be the most effective gatekeepers.
The uncertainty surrounding childhood James et al, leads to children being constructed as having an ambiguous status both in research and in educational policy and practice more generally. The absence of the voices of minority groups has been a major problem in research in inclusion and Linton argues that the missing voices of disabled people has created serious gaps in knowledge: New scholars of all stripes must recognize their moral and intellectual obligation to evaluate gaps and faults in the knowledge base they disseminate to students that result from the missing voices of disabled people p.
This exclusion has been both wilful and unintentional. The effect has been to render minority groups invisible in research Netto, et al, It has been unintentional where individuals have been consulted in a genuine attempt to hear their voices, but then these have been subjected to interpretation, reductive explanations based on professional frameworks of knowledge or on judgements about the competence of disabled people Alderson, Alongside concerns about the absence of the voices of minority groups, attention has been drawn to the presence of ethnic minorities within special education Artiles et al, ; Ferri, Artiles and colleagues are hugely critical of the failure of research involving minority ethnic groups to address issues of language and culture and the varying contexts of practice.
They are also critical of the interpretation of research findings and application to culturally and linguistically diverse students, particularly when these groups have not been included in the sample or demographic information, when other relevant information about them has been under-reported or when there has been no disaggregation of the data to show how particular interventions may have differentially affected students from diverse backgrounds.
So whilst there is a caution against forcing students to carry the markers of diversity within research, these authors also urge for greater recognition within research of the particular cultural contexts and circumstances of minority ethnic groups. Both experiential and participatory accounts of disability have been unsatisfactory, according to Oliver Oliver also suggests that those involved in experiential research get caught up in highly emotionally charged arguments about who has the right to obtain such accounts.
Most significantly, experiential research fails disabled people because it fails to tie itself to emancipatory theory or praxis, offering no way out for the subjects of the research. Attempts at enhancing participation are usually tokenistic and restricted to involving a few disabled people in some of the research processes, whilst retaining control over the important aspects of resources and agendas. As Oliver points out, this ensures that disabled people continue to be positioned in oppressive ways: Whether we like it or not, failing to give disabled people through their own representative organisations complete control over research resources and agendas inevitably positions disabled people as inferior to those who are in control Oliver, , p.
The effects upon disabled people are, according to Oliver, devastating. This is explored in Chapter 9. The continuing domination of research in inclusion by the special education paradigm appears impossible to shake off. An escape route from special education knowledge has been provided by disabled people eg Barnes, ; Oliver, in the form of the social model of disability, which shifts the focus of attention onto the environmental, structural and attitudinal barriers within institutions and society.
There has, however, been a reluctance to use the social model to guide research. In spite of the many calls to investigate inclusion and exclusion simultaneously Ballard, b; Booth and Ainscow, , there are few pieces of research which contain detailed social model analyses of the barriers to participation, especially within schools. The apparent indifference to the social model by educational researchers has angered the disabled scholars who were responsible for its development Oliver, Oliver may have been misguided in accusing them of being intellectual, but he was raising a serious point concerning the right of non-disabled people to discuss the labelling of disabled people, without involving them, and their failure to be influenced by the thinking EXCLUDING RESEARCH 47 of disabled scholars.
Shakespeare contends that there are significant problems with the social model and it has become an obstacle to the development of the disability movement and to disability studies: I have come to the conclusion that the British social model of disability studies has reached a dead end, having taken a wrong turn back in the s when the Union of Physically Impaired Against Segregation UPIAS social model conception became the dominant UK understanding of disability.