Action Research for Inclusive Education: Changing Places, Changing Practice, Changing Minds

Action Research for Inclusive Education: Changing Places, Changing Practice, Changing Minds

Action Research for Inclusive Education: Changing Places, Changing Practice, Changing Minds

Action Research for Inclusive Education: Changing Places, Changing Practice, Changing Minds

Synopsis

This book presents and discusses an approach to action research to help reverse discriminatory and exclusionary practices in education. Insider accounts of action research will help challenge assumptions about the limits of inclusive education, and offer examples of how change can be realistically achieved through processes of collaboration and participation. Written by a team of practitioner researchers drawn from a wide range of schools and services, this book addresses a wide range of real-life situations by exploring ways in which teachers have tackled inequalities in the school environment through action research based on principles of equality and democracy. These include: * the co-ordination of services for minority ethnic groups, including refugee and asylum seeking children * young childrennbsp;with autism working with peers in the literacy hour * action research and the inclusion of gay students * developing the role of learning support assistants in inclusion * reducing exclusion of children with challenging behaviour * listening to the voices of young peoplenbsp;with nbsp;severe learning difficulties * developing links between special and mainstream schools * challenging marginalising practices in Further Education.

Excerpt

Len Barton

Having a desire to learn more about the perspectives and experiences of teachers in the increasingly complex, diverse and changing world of schools and post-school institutions, I approached reading this collection of insider accounts with an eager anticipation. I was not disappointed. Overall, the chapters contain a wealth of careful reflections, examples of critical incidents and significant challenges, of frustrations and uncertainties, points of risk-taking as well as new understandings and a clear indication of the fundamental importance of how these teachers viewed teaching in terms of making a difference in the lives of their pupils.

Inclusive thinking and practice are hard work and this is exemplified through insights into some of the complexities and contradictory contexts in which their teaching and research took place. It is also reflected in the serious questions that are raised in these accounts. Overall, the book is an informative, thoughtful, stimulating read. In the foreword I will identify several factors that have impressed me and which I feel are important to highlight. These are not meant to be exhaustive nor are they presented in order of priority.

An important dimension of the writing concerns the openness and honesty of these teachers. They express some of their deeply felt views about the ambiguity and contradictory nature of the national and local policy directives and contexts, the varied challenges that they had to continually face in their work, the personal and professional dilemmas and compromises that are a feature of their experiences as well as self-critical analysis of aspects of their practice. These chapters do therefore reflect the contradictions and messiness of the real world in which these teachers daily work and struggle.

Another impressive feature concerns the range and challenging nature of the questions that are raised, including those that are focused on their own personal and professional assumptions, values and understandings. These demonstrate the seriousness of their reflections with regard to identifying and challenging the varied barriers to learning and participation and establishing a series of priorities and agendas for future engagement. The

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