Research Communities

This initiative aims to produce knowledge and advance our understanding of inclusive education across spaces and times. We feature in this page various projects that we and our partners are conducting on inclusive education around the world.

Equity in Inclusive Education in Guatemala

Inclusive education has become a global movement in the last two decades. However, despite the positive aspects of the definition and goals of this movement, there are challenges and obstacles associated with its implementation. On the one hand, inclusive education aims to restructure, not only pedagogical and curricular strategies, but also the premises, policies and conditions of entire educational systems. On the other hand, research and evaluations of these models tend to be restricted to descriptive profiles of the components and dimensions of inclusive programs. The bulk of research studies have been conducted in developed nations, and while inclusion projects aspire to include ALL groups of learners, the majority of experiences and studies on this topic focus on students with disabilities. The intersections of disability with social class, race, language, gender, and/or ethnicity have been ignored in this literature; this is an issue of significant importance in the context of developing nations where the majority of students with disabilities live.

This study examines the challenges of inclusive education implementation in Guatemala. The goals of the study include: 1. Document local school actors’ visions of inclusive education. 2. Contrast the local school actors’ understandings of inclusive education with the visions represented at different levels of the educational system. 3. Identify the inclusive practices in which equity dilemmas/challenges emerge most frequently and how they get resolved.

 

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Equity in Inclusive Education

This research project encompasses fourteen scholars representing 11 countries and four continents, and is concerned with equity issues in inclusive education from a global perspective. It focuses on the interplay of two critical themes germane to the organization of inclusive educational systems across societies, and their consequences for educational practices and outcomes. More specifically, it examines how constructions of inclusive education are mediated by each nation’s (a) purposes and goals of public education and (b) access to an array of intellectual, human, and material resources, and (c) collective understandings and educational responses to sociocultural differences. The Equity in Inclusive Education project allows for situating inclusive education in a nation’s larger projects of collective identity and social engineering that are pursued in part through inclusive social and educational policies and practices.

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The ID Project

Learning implies becoming a different person and constructing a different identity. The Inclusive Identities (ID) project focused on the development of preservice teacher’s inclusive identities as they participate in an inclusive education teacher program. The ID project conceptualizes identity formation as an ongoing negotiation process between preservice teachers, other community members (e.g. students, parents, other colleagues), and the context in which they work. The project aims to answer the following questions: (a) How do student teachers transform their identities as they become inclusive teachers in an urban public school?, (b) what social discourses mediate their identity formation?, and (b) How does their identity formation mediate their participation in classroom activities?

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The Rosario Project

The Rosario project is situated in an urban school that serves predominately Latino families. It seeks to examine the role of school structural factors (e.g., design of curricula based on monocultural and top down conceptions of knowledge, assumptions embedded in programs that regulate discipline and the assessment of learning, ideologies about Latino students and their families) mediate the ability of schools to shape educational outcomes. The Rosario project relies on a teacher inquiry group model to understand the social and material contexts in which teaching and learning processes are co-constructed in classrooms for Latino struggling learners. By designing a teacher-inquiry learning environment, the Rosario project engages in authentic teacher practices and generates knowledge that accounts for the social and individual facets of learning. This project aims to answer the following questions: (a) How do structural, social, and cultural factors mediate the work of a teacher inquiry group that is concerned with addressing the needs of Latino struggling learners?, (b) how do structural, social, and cultural factors mediate the impact of a teacher inquiry group on Latino student learning?

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Teacher Learning for Inclusive Education

The International Initiative for Inclusive Education participates in ongoing activities with a group of scholars to generate and disseminate innovative approaches for teacher learning for inclusive education. This group was brought together at the Symposium Teacher Education for Inclusion: Changing Paradigms and Innovative Approaches by Chris Forlin from the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The outcomes of this symposium include and edited volume published by Routledge, two special issues— one in the International Journal of Inclusive Education and another in Whole Schooling — and a symposium at the Inclusive and Supportive Education Conference 2010.

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