'Is this inclusive?'; teachers' perspectives on inclusion for children labelled with autism

CHANTLER, Susan Anne (2013). 'Is this inclusive?'; teachers' perspectives on inclusion for children labelled with autism. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Abstract

This dissertation is an account of a phenomenological investigation which was undertaken with a group of teachers working in primary schools in one locality in England. It examines their perspectives of the process of inclusion for children with the label of autism, as for many of these children inclusion into mainstream schools can be a problematic process. The study has as a central focus the impact of the individual and social models of disability on how these teachers conceive of their practice. The teachers were participants on a module on a university based professional development programme. Data were gathered from discussions between the teachers and from weekly reflective logs which were written by the teachers as part of their participation on the module. The teachers engaged in a process of reflection on their practice and the discussions in the module sessions were constructed as ‘conversation research communities’ (Dadds 2005). Teachers find themselves affected by existing political developments, pulled between the competing agendas of performativity and inclusion which have conflicting relationships with the individual and the social models of disability. It emerged that for the teachers in this study, the agenda of performativity has a limiting effect on inclusive practice, affecting as it does the formation of a teacher’s professional identity and also their ability to act as an agent of change. In addition, the fact that these teachers did not readily name or identify the social model of disability as an influence on their practice, despite evidence that it does have an impact, illustrates the need for more overt debate about educational inclusion in a wider social and political context. It is argued in this study that there should be wider opportunities for teachers to engage with debate about the social model of disability as a platform for them to be able to interrogate educational policy development and to explore their own professional identities. In this way teachers may be better enabled to develop inclusive professional identities and to act as agents of change. It is also argued that one way towards articulating a model of inclusive education is for teachers and education researchers to work together in conceptualising practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Supervisors: Dr. Karen Dunn and Dr. Nick Hodge.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2017 13:32
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2017 15:34
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17142

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