Preparing student teachers for 'inclusion'; debating outcomes from students' extended placement in a specialist setting
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AbstractThis presentation communicates tentative findings from the evaluation of experiences in a 20 day extended placement for student teachers in a special needs school or resource base setting (TDA funded project). The potential impact on students’ knowledge, skills and attitudes to inclusive practice and course design is discussed in the context of an understanding that inclusion is by no means only about special educational needs. More than a decade ago, it was stated that it had not been difficult for a teacher in England to acquire a tendency to exclude (Clough, 1999); unless teachers opted during their initial training to teach children with learning difficulties, they were not expected to do so and the case tends to remain similar until now. This can be a great barrier to inclusive attitudes and practices as teachers often do not seem to have enough exposure to difference and the conceptual preparation that enables them to understand difference and cater for it (Paliokosta and Blandford, 2010). A project like the above could claim to respond to what Garner (2000) refers to as 'conceptual unpreparedness' in the context of initial teacher training, by giving student teachers the opportunity for in-depth study of teaching pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. This presentation, thus, explores debates that arise from the analysis of findings of a qualitative study investigating the following questions; 1. What are the key learning experiences of different stakeholders (student teachers, school mentors, university lecturers) and their potential impact on practice? 2. How knowledge generated can inform the modular design and the teaching approaches to special educational needs/ inclusion on a three year BA (Hons) course? The outcome of this small scale evaluation will inform the course and modular design and the pedagogical approaches to teaching undergraduate teacher education students about inclusive education. The findings will be compared and contrasted with other similar studies and findings, such as Feeny et al’s (2008) evaluation that characterised this type of placements as a ‘transformative’ experience, whereas implications on preparedness and effectiveness of new teachers for inclusive education in this context is reflected upon and debated.
TypeConference or Workshop Item
Paliokosta, Panagiota and Cullum, Bronwen (2012) Preparing student teachers for 'inclusion'; debating outcomes from students' extended placement in a specialist setting. In: 3rd Teacher Education Advancement Network Annual Conference; 18 May 2012, Birmingham, U.K.. (Unpublished)