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2. Haug - State of Play of Inclusive Education 0

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   1 The state of play in inclusive education Peder Haug European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) Salzburg conference 22nd-23rd October 2015 Introduction I will discuss the following question in this presentation: What seem to be the main challenges in developing inclusive education? I especially orient the content towards how research  presents and analyses this issue. The state of inclusive education in European countries differs widely, even within and between schools. Therefore, to be able to go into issues of relevance for everyone, I will present elements of general and overall interest. Since the Salamanca statement in 1994, European countries have acknowledged that inclusive education is an important premise to secure equal educational rights for all persons with special educational needs. But as Julie Allan (2008) has concluded “ There appears, however, to be deep uncertainty about how to create inclusive environments within schools and about how to teach inclusively. ” (p 10). An OECD-rapport claims that the main reasons for this uncertainty are a mixture of lack of political will and human beings’ endless resistance to change (OECD, 1999). A model of definitions of inclusive education I will discuss some of the key contemporary questions in inclusive education in relation to a model of inclusion that distinguishes between a horizontal dimension and a vertical dimension of the concept. I will here spend most of my time discussing the horizontal dimension, which is about the general understanding and operationalization of inclusive education. It deals with what inclusion actually is about. This is the practical institutionalization of the substantial content of the concept. The vertical dimension is about the coherence between the different organizational levels in school. The horizontal dimension, institutionalization of inclusive education If we turn to the official texts formulated by international organizations, such as UNICEF, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the European Union, the ideal definitions of inclusion have several common elements. Inclusion deals with the right to education for all students. The values associated with inclusion revolve around fellowship,   2  participation, democratization and benefit. Other aspects in the same way are equal access, quality, equity, justice, and the balancing of unity and diversity. Inclusion then involves two  processes, increasing fellowship and participation, and decreasing exclusion from school culture and curricula (Booth, 1996). This is a strong and widely accepted ethical ethos attributed to inclusion, which I will refer to as a masterpiece of rhetoric, difficult to be against or criticize. Inclusion is strongly value-and ideology-driven, in the same category as other similar concepts such as democracy and social  justice. The ambitious value aspects of inclusion have few negative positions or limitations. This also seems to be the view of The European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, when they explicitly formulate the challenges in this way: “The current debate is no longer about what inclusion is and why it is needed; the key question is how it is to be achieved”. (European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, 2014a, p. 5). In spite of a formal normative and overriding consensus, it is not possible to find one universally institutionalized definition of inclusive education. To the contrary, for a long time there has been a battle about the meaning of the concept of inclusion (Hansen & Qvortrup, 2013) . In the book “Contextualizing Inclusive Education” David D. Mitchell (2005b) presents sixteen propositions about inclusive education, based on analyses of inclusive education in many countries all over the world. His second proposition is that “Inclusive education is a complex and problematic concept.” (p. 3) He sees inclusive education both as ideology and as  practical products of multiple values that can support each other or be in conflict. He rejects a view that relates inclusion to one single dominant value and practice, creating a dichotomy. Either you have it, or you do not have it. He finds considerable ambiguities, confusions, and controversies connected to inclusion. Especially characteristic are deep-seated dilemmas, when you have to choose between several not favorable alternatives. Many of them relate to how to define, understand and operationalize inclusive education. A vast majority of research articles and books that I have gone through support this observation. The importance of this contest about meaning is that definitions affect the understanding and therefore the practices related to the concept, and from there, how inclusive education meets and treats different groups of students. In an analysis of research about the effects of inclusive education, Göransson and Nilholm (2014) found corresponding variations. They identified four levels of definitions, which are related hierarchically. The lowest level is about the placement of pupils with disabilities in a general education classroom. Next comes inclusion as meeting the social and/or academic   3 needs of these pupils. Then inclusion is to meet the social and/or academic needs of all students, and finally, inclusion is to create communities. These results are close to a typology developed by Ainscow, Booth, and Dyson (2006). This lack of consensus about the theoretical and practical meaning of inclusion could be a  problem. Perhaps the consequence is that since this concept has many meanings, it is in reality without meaning. On the other hand, many meanings could represent a richness that has yet to  be systematized and discussed (Florian, 2014). In the institutionalization of inclusion, there is a division between a narrow and a wide definition of the concept (Arduin, 2015; Thomas, 2013). They both concern what groups of students that are involved, and on what grounds, and both are of relevance here. The narrow definition The narrow definition deals with education of special relevance for students with disabilities. This is in line with the srcin of the concept, which is special education. In most countries, the narrow definition of inclusion is dominant, at least in practice. An analysis of relevant research databases from 2012 concluded that the use of the term inclusion in relation to disability still dominated the field (Norwich, 2014) . Integration introduced during the 1960’s was intended to abolish the dichotomy between ordinary and special education. However, the developments accentuated this dichotomy, and integration became a disappointment. Inclusion is now supposed to bring about the change that integration had not done (Graham & Jahnukainen, 2011). Inclusive education was a reaction against segregation, marginalization, discrimination and devaluation because of the special school system, and later because of the  practicing of integration in mainstream settings. Ideally, the students should be entitled to full membership in regular classes in neighborhood schools. They also should have access to differentiated and individualized support, programs and assessments. Inclusion also brings in a new perspective on educational failure. Inclusion contested the established explanation that low achievements in school were a result of students’ individual pathological characteristics and weaknesses. In inclusive education, the view is that students’ school failures are created  by the school system itself. This change from integration to inclusion came first in the USA during the 1970’s, and appeared later in Europe. Because of its srcin, inclusion often concerns placement, about where the teaching is going on, and together with whom.   4 In educational policy in Europe the practice of the narrow approach to inclusion varies a lot, and does not necessarily reflect the ideal definitions as I have presented them here (Graham & Jahnukainen, 2011; Smyth et al., 2014). There are countries that understand inclusive education primarily as being only about education for disabled students. Then inclusive education could mean to provide educational opportunities for disabled children, even in special schools with specialist teachers separated from the broader school system (Miles & Singal, 2010). In some countries education for students with disabilities is still underdeveloped and of poor quality. In other countries, inclusive education means to teach all students together in a normal school-class setting, where they all receive a teaching that corresponds to their abilities and interests (Anastasiou, Kauffman, & Di Nuovo, 2015; Haug, 2014). Then students with disabilities go to school together with all the other children coming from the same neighborhood. In all countries however, it is the gap between formulations and realizations of inclusive education, which is the most challenging issue in this area. Many schools still practice a dichotomy between special and ordinary education even within the intention of inclusion (Anastasiou et al., 2015; Ferguson, 2008; Haug, 2014). In spite of decisions about inclusiveness, the extent of special education has even increased in many countries, as well as the labeling, diagnosing and even segregation of students with disabilities (Allan, 2008; Anastasiou et al., 2015; Graham & Jahnukainen, 2011). Schools also administer special education outside normal class, some in separate groups as a two-track system. When, as happens in some countries, there also is a backdoor of different types of special provisions  beyond official policy and statistics, inclusion is set back (Anastasiou et al., 2015; Haug, 2014) . Authorities in some instances even narrow “ what    ‘general’ education is, and who  it should be for” (Graham & Jahnukainen, 2011, p. 25) by funding separately the teaching of students with serious, complex and multiple diagnoses in segregated institutions. It could be that special education has received too much attention within inclusive education, at the expense of exploring inclusion as an idea and practice in its own right (Vislie, 2003). That could be the reason why the narrow definition of inclusive education has come under heavy  pressure. The value dimensions behind the placement issue are neoliberal and individualistic (Arduin, 2015). An alternative way to use placement as criteria within the narrow approach is to define inclusive education not as full membership in an ordinary class but as the best place for learning. When deciding where to teach students, Mary Warnock (2005) gives priority to
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