Academic journal article NAER - Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Inclusive Education in Schools in Rural Areas

Academic journal article NAER - Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Inclusive Education in Schools in Rural Areas

Article excerpt

1 INTRODUCTION

Quality education, in which we can all actively participate, is an objective shared by everyone involved in a student's formative process. This objective has been a long-standing concern and has brought about profound educational reforms, both in developed and developing regions (and countries) (Muntaner, 2010; 2013).

In our current educational context, we can appreciate how unjust and unsupportive it is to marginalize students and how dangerous it is from a social perspective to orientate them toward exclusion. Educational attention to students with permanent serious disabilities has helped increase their social integration. This has in turn substantially improved schools, from the institutional and organizational point of view, as well as at the teaching and political levels. Ultimately society as a whole is a beneficiary (Lopez-Torrijo & Mengual, 2014). Several causes explain why students fail to fully acquire educational competences (Carro et al., 2014), which can, and should, be considered the joint responsibility of everyone. They bear consequences for the educational future of the entire population. Inclusive education arises in order to find an educational model that really responds to every single person's educational demands (Lopez Melero, 2004). In other words it leads us towards the creation of an educational framework that respects each individual.

It is therefore necessary to adjust the components of the schooling process for thebenefit of students themselves, its end recipients, together with educational authorities, teachers, families and the community in general (Itzcovich, 2012) involved in the process. Thisshould constitute tan imperative for educational institutions.

What characterizes inclusive education is that it values diversity and respects individual differences present in any learning community. At the same time, it recognizes that these differences are due to social, educational and cultural factors as well as to individual competences. It favours a dynamic, open and, above all, participative process. The dynamic nature the educational task is involved in means that each school, taking into account its surrounding context (urban or rural), develops its own educational programme in response (Monge & Monge, 2009) to both its sociocultural reality and to the diversity of its pupils. Inclusive education must recognize four premises which inevitably form part of its being: inclusion as a human right; inclusion as a way to achieve educational equality; everyone has the right to be educated among peers and in the cultural context they live in; and lastly society must guarantee all children's rights, including their inclusion in a normalized school framework (Leon, 2010). Finally, as stated by Booth & Ainscow (2002), Inclusive Education must be understood as a process which increases students' participation in curricula, in culture and in their academic future, whilst simultaneously producing a reduction in exclusion. Moreover, as pointed out by Verdugo Alonso (2009):

Inclusive education is a process of change which slowly opens the doors
to tolerance towards students through the development of strategies and
processes which order efficient ways to attend them (p. 25).

Therefore, in ourresearch we have tried to find out how teachers in rural schools in the Sierra Sur area of Jaen, understand the principle of inclusion and, above all, what methodology they use to achieve it, taking into account that the very nature of the rural context may contribute to this principle.

2 INCLUSIVE EDUCATION, A REALITY IN CURRENT EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT AND LEGISLATION?

In the current educational context, the presence of pupils with differing potentials and needs in the classroom is evident. Since the Education Bill for Special Education was passed, schooling and integration of students with special educational needs (SEN) in normal schools has become ever more obvious. …

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