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Promoting inclusion? ‘Inclusive’ and effective head teachers’ descriptions of their work
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Disciplinary Research. Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Other School Based Research.
Malmö University.
2014 (English)In: European Journal of Special Needs Education, ISSN 0885-6257, E-ISSN 1469-591X, Vol. 29, no 1, 74-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the reported interview study from Sweden is to contribute to our understanding of how head teachers can promote inclusive practices. Five head teachers were selected from a larger sample of head teachers working in compulsory schools (6–16) according to specific criteria in order to obtain head teachers who work effectively and express inclusive values relative to a relational perspective. The interviews were semi-structured, and a thematic analysis was performed. Head teachers’ strategies were in focus. The theoretical point of departure is critical pragmatism. Overall the five head teachers reported similar strategies. The head teachers describe the importance of educational leadership through observation and participation in activities in the classrooms. They advocate flexibility in the solutions provided for students in need of special support preferring solutions carried out in the regular classroom by the class/subject teacher. Head teachers see special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) as important partners in their work towards more inclusive practices. Head teachers express the importance of consensus among their staff. They seem to welcome government’s increasing demands and steering concerning how head teachers should manage their schools. Finally, it is discussed whether the head teachers can be said to work ‘inclusively’ and, more generally, the methodological challenges researchers must confront in studies concerning ‘inclusive’ education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 29, no 1, 74-90 p.
Keyword [en]
head teachers, inclusion, successful schools, leadership, strategies, methodological challenges
National Category
Learning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-22581DOI: 10.1080/08856257.2013.849845ISI: 000343600000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-22581DiVA: diva2:665059
Available from: 2013-11-18 Created: 2013-11-18 Last updated: 2016-09-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Who should do What to Whom?: Occupational Groups´ Views on Special Needs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Who should do What to Whom?: Occupational Groups´ Views on Special Needs
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to increase our knowledge of different occupational groups´ views on work with children in need of special support. This is explored in four separate studies.

The first study investigates the views of occupational groups in preschools and schools in one municipality. A questionnaire was handed out to all personnel (N=1297) in the municipality in 2008 (72.5 % response rate). The second study explores the views of educational leaders (N=45) in the same municipality. Questionnaire # 2 was distributed in 2009. All the educational leaders responded to the questionnaire. The third study describes the views of different occupational groups concerning special educational needs coordinators´ (SENCOs) role and work. This was highlighted by comparing responses from questionnaire #1 and # 2. Responses concerning SENCOs´ work were also added using a third questionnaire. This questionnaire was handed out in 2006 to chief education officers (N=290) in all municipalities in Sweden. The response rate was 90.3%. Finally, the fourth study presents five head teachers´ descriptions of their work with special needs issues. Study four was a follow-up study of questionnaire # 2. These head teachers were selected because of their inclusive values and because they seemed to be effective according to certain criteria. They were interviewed in January 2012.

The results reveal a number of interesting findings. For example, there are both similar and different views among the occupational groups concerning work with children in need of special support. A majority of the respondents in all groups state that children´s individual deficiencies is one common reason why children need special support in preschools/schools. Differences between the occupational groups become especially visible regarding their views of SENCOs‟ work.

Critical pragmatism (Cherryholmes, 1988) is applied as a theoretical point of departure. Skrtic´s (1991) critical reading and analysis of special education relative to general education is specifically used to interpret and discuss the outcome of the studies. Additionally, Abbott´s (1988) reasoning concerning the “division of expert labor” is used to discuss the occupational groups´ replies concerning “who should do what to whom”.

The findings in the studies are contextualized and theoretically interpreted in the separate articles. However in the first part of this thesis (in Swedish: Kappa), the theoretical interpretations of the empirical outcome are discussed in more detail and the results are further contextualized and synthesised. Inclusion and premises for inclusive education are also discussed in more depth in the first part of the present thesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: School of Education and Communication, 2013. 248 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 22
Keyword
Occupational groups, children in need of special support, views, special needs, inclusion, SENCOs, educational leaders, preschools and schools
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-22582 (URN)978-91-628-8856-5 (ISBN)978-91-628-8863-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, Föreläsningssal 6, Högskolan Dalarna, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-11-18 Created: 2013-11-18 Last updated: 2014-05-20Bibliographically approved

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