Developing ITE for SEND and inclusive practices

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Developing ITE for SEND and inclusive practices
Developing effective inclusive
teacher education
Deborah Robinson
[email protected]
This presentation reports on a research study:
Developing ITE for SEND and inclusive practices
What models and approaches underpin effective
inclusive teacher education?
Across Europe and the World there is a widespread commitment
to inclusive education across two interrelated domains:
• Reduction of segregated special education
Placement of learners with special educational needs and
disabilities (SEND) in mainstream schools within their local
communities and among their peers.
• Securing effective education for ALL
Improving the capacity of the education system to adapt to an
increasingly complex, diverse and heterogeneous learner
population in pursuit of social justice.
(UNESCO, 2009; OECD, 2010; Council of the European Union, 2010)
An international commitment
There is also is widespread acknowledgement of the
fundamental importance of teachers to inclusive
educational reform.
The success of inclusive education depends to a large
degree on the quality, skill and effectiveness of the
teaching workforce.
(EADSNE, 2012; OECD, 2010)
The quality of teachers as a
deciding factor
There is clear evidence that Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is not having enough
impact on teacher preparedness for inclusive education.
2009 OECD teaching and learning international survey (TALIS)
23 countries (not including England)
93% of student teachers, 94% of teacher educators and 63% of
teachers said diversity issues were covered in their ITE programmes.
47% of student teachers, 51% of teacher educators and 66% of
teachers – current teacher education is not (or is only partially)
effective in preparing the profession for diversity.
Not much is known about what models and approaches are likely to be
effective in moving inclusive teacher education forward.
Developing effective inclusive teacher
education is a priority
Survey of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)
Survey takes place in the February of the NQT year
Gathers data on NQTs’ views of the quality of their ITE programmes.
Data below is related to preparedness to teach learners with special
educational needs and disabilities
Inclusive teacher education
in England
Effective models of teacher education tend to share the
following characteristics
 Carefully structured integration of theory and practice.
 Subject matter pedagogy taught in the context of practice
 Close collaboration between universities and schools
 A national and cohesive strategy for ITE and CPD with values
at the center
 Generous support for CPD
 A research orientation across the profession (student teacher
and experienced teachers engaged in and with research)
 A focus on instructional techniques and outcomes for learners
based in the authentic setting of the classroom
 High status and levels of autonomy in the teaching profession
Drawing on international evidence
There is evidence supporting the effectiveness of the following:
 Collaborative forms of practice and enquiry
 Experience of diverse learners
 High quality field experiences that enable students to
understand the gritty challenge of inclusive teaching whilst
carefully scaffolding the development of mastery (from ‘reality
shock’ to self-efficacy)
 Critical deconstruction of diverting discourses (normative,
medical, expertism, special pedagogy) and own belief systems
Drawing on the smaller evidence
base for effective inclusive teacher
Teacher education must take on a transformative
Teacher education must be transformed
 Depends on relinquishing the theory into practice model
 Theoretical inputs should be developed in response to the real
challenges student teachers are facing in schools in relation to the
learners they are responsible for
 Partnerships between schools and universities should be remodeled to
enable synchronous critical enquiry among teachers, students and
teacher educators.
McIntyre, 2009
McIntyre’s model of effective
inclusive teacher education
Student teachers cannot
transform the system
They need collaborators
in the venture!
Transforming the education system towards a more
inclusive model depends on breaking the cycle of
• The reality shock triggers a return to traditional modes of teaching
and a dislike for reflection and theoretical depth.
• The theory into practice model is not effective since student
teachers will quickly forget the alternative discourses and innovative
practices they have learned about in favour of those used by their
mentors or arising from memory of their own schooling
Korthagen et al., 2006; Stoddard et al., 2006
Breaking the cycle of
enquiry (teachers,
students and
university tutors)
Reflection Research
Reflexion orientation
Scaffolds to
support journey to
mastery and selfefficacy
Focus on
techniques and
outcomes for
The way forward
of diverting
Practice into
The study being reported today sought to take forward what was
known or hypothesized about effective inclusive teacher education:
• Designing a potentially effective pedagogic framework (based on
evidence/hypotheses in the literature) and then testing it out
• Located in a large partnership school that hosted several student
teachers for placement every year
• School a strong commitment to developing inclusive practice and
• 22 participants (student teachers, teaching assistants, teachers,
mentor, assistant heads, SENCo, university tutor)
• 22 months
• Inclusive Action Research combined with other methods to....
Taking it forward
Understand how effective inclusive teacher education could be
Understand what conditions, processes, activities were helpful
to the development of skill and confidence in the areas of SEND
and inclusive practices
Contribute to our understanding of what models of inclusive
teacher education may be effective
Respond to worldwide calls for empirical research in the area
The contribution
Based on the principles and methods of INCLUSIVE ACTION
RESEARCH - research ABOUT inclusion, FOR inclusion and
AS inclusion (O’Hanlon, 2003)
3 actions that the participating group believed were
relevant to development:
1. Lesson study
2. Personalised Learning Planning (PLP) process
3. Involving teaching assistants more closely in supporting
the professional development of student teachers
Inclusive Action Research
enquiry (teachers,
students and
university tutors)
Reflection Research
Reflexion orientation
Scaffolds to
support journey to
mastery and
Focus on
techniques and
outcomes for
of diverting
Practice into
enquiry (teachers,
students and
university tutors)
Reflection Research
Reflexion orientation
Scaffolds to
support journey to
mastery and selfefficacy
of diverting
Focus on
techniques and
outcomes for
There was strong evidence
in the study that taking
such principles forward into
the design of pedagogic
frameworks for school
placements WORKS!
Student teachers, teachers and teaching assistants are working in a
challenging, dilemmatic context.
They constantly used contradictory discourses, finding SEND a difficult
conceptual fit with inclusion.
Even among a group of participants very committed to inclusive
education, the presence of the concept ‘SEND’ triggered deficit,
medical discourses.
School staff had to mediate the potentially negative impact of external
cultures (resource issues, accountability pressures, the need to ‘label’,
a content heavy curriculum, attacks on their status as professional
They were often pressured into compromising their values for
pragmatic reasons. The voice of a disembodied external critic was
often present when they were talking about their professional life and
Findings: New insights
Teacher education will need to find ways to expose the reality of this
contradictory, troubled and unsettled context so as to avoid reality
shock. For example, student teachers may need to understand why
teachers might both simultaneously spurn labels at the same time as
seeking them. Policy makers will not help if they conceive classrooms
and schools as politically neutral, unproblematic and stable
environments and teaching as a ‘job’ rather than a profession.
Teacher education must prepare professionals to navigate moral,
conceptual and practical complexity.
A conception of learning to teach as ‘on the job training’ may not
(well, will not) create an effective model of inclusive teacher education.
Countering the
reality shock
Students were active in managing their own self-efficacy
and would adopt deliberate stances to help them to steady
themselves for the challenge.
For example, in deliberately promoting capacity discourses
above deficit ones or in systematically auditing their skills
and successes as a basis for building self-efficacy
Findings: New insights
Teacher educators are justified in making space for
reflective, reflexive and values work in their curricula.
In the same way that we should not underestimate the
challenges involved in inclusive education, we should not
underestimate the capacities of student teachers to sustain
positive identities and self-efficacies.
Reflection on values
and beliefs is an
important dimension
to inclusive teacher
Inclusive teaching is challenging, complex and multimodal.
Inclusive teacher education must be challenging, complex and multimodal.
More effective models are likely to include:
High quality, varied field placements
Experience of diverse learners in diverse contexts
Collegiate and collaborative ways of working
A research orientation
A values and beliefs dimension
A reflective and reflexive dimension
A critical-theoretical dimension
A practice into theory model
School staff (teachers and other professionals), university staff and student
teachers working together to construct inclusive practices and identities
Pedagogic frameworks that expose the gritty, unsettled and dilemmatic
challenges of inclusive education whilst supporting and scaffolding journey
towards a sense of mastery in a systematic way
A focus on outcomes for learners
Authentic contexts
The deliberate deconstruction of destructive discourses
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