Educational Inclusion as Action Research: An Interpretive Discourse

Educational Inclusion as Action Research: An Interpretive Discourse

Educational Inclusion as Action Research: An Interpretive Discourse

Educational Inclusion as Action Research: An Interpretive Discourse

Synopsis

One of the most accessible features of the book is the incorporation of vignettes of real-life action research enquiries, and in some cases, drawing on the field notes an journals kept by the teachers themselves. There is much to welcome in this book. There is an engaging honesty of tone; an abiding sense of authenticity in the author's voice; this is writing which comes out of long professional experience of teaching pupils with learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, and equal experience of facilitating action research enquiries in her practice as a teacher educator. European Journal of Special Needs Education

In its detailed elaboration of action research as a basis for teacher professional development this book locates inclusive practice in a discursive process that continually interprets its meaning while at the same time inevitably changes educational cultures. The book starts by linking government policy with social justice and inclusion issues and argues that inclusion is currently promoted via a democratic political process, which needs to be complemented at a professional level through the demonstration of democratic and inclusive procedures in the investigatory process itself.

The text argues for:

• action research as a means of implementing and evaluating inclusive practice in classrooms and schools

• action research as an interpretive and discursive process

• inclusion related to specific educational contexts

• inclusion as responsive to change and improvement at any level

This book is ideal for postgraduate students, teachers and educational professionals who need a basis for developing inclusive practice.

Excerpt

'Inclusion' has become something of an international buzz-word. It's difficult to trace its provenance or the growth in its use over the last two decades, but what is certain is that it is now de rigeur for mission statements, political speeches and policy documents of all kinds. It has become a cliché – obligatory in the discourse of all right-thinking people.

The making of 'inclusion' into a cliché, inevitable as it perhaps is, is nevertheless disappointing, since it means that the word is often merely a filler in the conversation. It means that people can talk about 'inclusion' without really thinking about what they mean, merely to add a progressive gloss to what they are saying. Politicians who talk casually about the need for a more inclusive society know that they will be seen as open-minded and enlightened, and will be confident in the knowledge that all sorts of difficult practical questions can be circumvented. If this happens, and if there is insufficient thought about the nitty gritty mechanics (what the Fabians called 'gas and water' matters), those who do work hard for inclusion can easily be dismissed as peddling empty promises.

This series is dedicated to examining in detail some of the ideas which lie behind inclusive education. Inclusion, much more than 'integration' or 'mainstreaming', is embedded in a range of contexts – political and social as well as psychological and educational – and our aim in this series is to make some examination of these contexts. in providing a forum for discussion and critique we hope to provide the basis for a wider intellectual and practical foundation for more inclusive practice in schools and elsewhere.

In nothing that inclusive education is indeed about more than simply 'integration', it is important to stress that inclusive education is really about extending the comprehensive ideal in education. Those who talk about it are therefore less concerned with children's supposed 'special educational needs' (and it is becoming increasingly difficult meaningfully to define what such needs are) and more concerned with developing an education system in which tolerance, diversity and equity are striven for. To aim for such developments is . . .

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