Talking about the ideas and practices we endeavour towards the present may seem complex and socially complicated. So is the topic of inclusive education and special education. Special and Inclusive education did not emerge suddenly. These knowledge base ideologies have evolved as a result of various ideologies and philosophies by different scholars.
Inclusive education and special education being a part of the same education system are often considered as conflicting ideologies. This essay intends to show how mainstreaming education system has made inclusion a part of the education system but the traditional special educational system and the ideologies behind the development of the knowledge base paradigm gave rise to exclusionary nature of education system and was view as an oxymoron by the authors.
(Kearney & Kane, 2006)Students who are disabled or have special needs are excluded as an immediate outcome of political and social regulation which is present within a school or society in general. While talking about the two concepts of inclusive and special education, the writers have stated few reasons as to viewing inclusive and special education as a part of the same education system contradictory ideologies. Marketization caused a problem of maintaining high standards affecting the participation of disabled students in regular schools because it served the individuals interest and to please parents by giving them a choice of selection of schools according to the standards displayed by the schools that led to the fact of social justice and well-being of the community being ignored as a whole. To maintain reputation and competitions between schools, marketization of education system has mainly focused at accelerating and enhancing the academic standards and behaviour. It basically focuses on gaining profits in term of students who are considered to not have extra needs and are considered valued members of the education system. These students add value to the school in contrast to students who have diverse needs. Students with diverse needs are considered a liability and are viewed as inviting trouble. Due to the competition that arises in the marketization of education, the higher authorities guarantee students with diverse needs will not be a barrier and hamper the development of their children. The academic standards of teaching and learning will be maintained therefore excluding the children with special needs.
As a result of marketization, there was a rise of self-managing school. This concept was considered as the school granted admission to students who were intellectual and would be an asset to the organisation excluding the special needs students. It was practiced to-ensure that the popularity of the school would be maintained which was contradicting the practice of inclusion. Parents regarded special needs students as an obstruction to the development of their children socially and academically and were concerned that special children would hinder high academic attainment. The league of table also known as a performance grading scale was another reason as self-managing schools aimed at achieving high grades which lead to the exclusion of weaker children. Hence, the marketing of schools was a source of pushing the education system to social injustice which was opposing inclusion which was based on social justice.
Schools protected self-interest of the majority by the means of education by restricting access to academic and professional qualifications which is viewed as a dominant force for social exclusion. Exclusion of the minority group (diverse needs) of students from gaining access to school and equity in the school curricula continues as the government protects the self-interest of the majority by adopting policies such as segregated special education facilities and publication of league table. In order to please the interest of the majority, exclusion is observed and thus restricting inclusion.
Special Education has to sustain and improve its identity as a force for social reform which aims at setting aside the idea of inclusion and reasons it out as faultiness to establish its practices in normal schools as disability according to the traditional special education paradigm. It is based on the quasi-medical model and students with disabilities require specialised teaching and expertise professionals which regular schools do not possess. Hence, those professionals who work and support the segregated special education provision do not want to accept the idea of inclusion and make all kinds of twists to exhibit a willingness to alter according to the new policies for inclusive education to avoid the change of position as it is against their interest.
Inclusive schooling cannot exist with special education based only on formulating policies. The main focus should be on the attitudes of the teachers, peers and society in general. The mentality of the teacher can play an important role in exclusion and which results in being a barrier to inclusion (Petrie, Devcich, & Fitzgerald, 2018). Teachers often have a way of looking at students with divers needs to be troublesome, disrupting the decorum of the class, require extra time and attention and also obstruct the learning of the other students present in the class. (Kearney & Kane, 2006) The main priority followed by the education system is on the implementation of the policies and not on changing the attitudes. Due to which, inclusion cannot be seen as a successful policy as teachers do not have a grounded understanding of inclusion. Hence, they confuse integration with inclusion and give rise to exclusionary practises which contradicts the inclusive nature of schooling. Needless to point out, with value come privileges. The greater the value, the greater privileges. The idea of normal and abnormal, difference and sameness are in line with valuable and less valuable from the traditional special education perspective. Therefore, if the students are different or not normal in context of physical, cognitive and behavioural means, they are not as valuable as students who are normal or fall within the socially accepted society. Hence, exclusion was a reason which lead to the segregation of students within the education system. The problem in understanding special education was based on the innate medical deficit traditionally rather than a socially constructed problem which is caused because of the interacting of the individual and the scenario they are operating in. Therefore, the attitudes of the society have to be altered from seeing disability as a medical problem and there should be a shift of attitudes and believes regarding the explanation of disability only then concept of inclusion will be understood (Staub, 1990). The reason people differentiate between those who belong to the society and those who are consider as outsiders are based on their childhood experiences, interactions and beliefs. This leads to valuing the majority and devaluing the minority. Thus, the way people perceive events are based strongly on their stereotypical nature, this in turn elicits exclusionary practices. Inclusion being an ongoing process is seen as an evolving concept and hence has not yet been clearly defined. Inclusive education has been seen since 1990s, as a subjective move from integration to fit students into existing schools to endeavour to change schools with the goal that every student can be empowered to partake in all regular school exercises. But Inclusive education was considered as simply one more philosophy and it is not in favour of the idea of integration for equity but as serving the powerful. In that capacity it might be viewed as incomprehensibly serving the effective, as one of the European associates once debated, that the idea of inclusive education as an instrument for the capable in the western world to keep up the norm, while seeming to demonstrate concern about the marginalised group.(GUEST EDITORIAL, 2007)
The beliefs, attitudes and practices of teachers in the mainstream school towards inclusion of special children can act as a barrier to inclusion as, the concept of disability as a kind of identity, views disability as abnormal in comparison to the majority. This discourse itself is problematic and cannot be solved alone. Hence as long as there is a mind-set of disability being a liability, there is discrimination and the issue of equity from and within school will remain(Florian, 2007). A negative attitude of the educators fosters a negative working environment. This makes it difficult to include children with diverse needs in a regular classroom as they are not a valued member. Along with attitudes and beliefs come a label for children with special needs. Labelling acts as an exclusionary force in an inclusive setting. (Arishi, Boyle, & Lauchlan, 2017) The term ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½labelï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ is derived from a social labelling theory. ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Disabilityï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ proposes a deficiency method of reasoning about the labelled students, when you label a student with an intention to provide support for the betterment in context of providing educational support, this sometimes can unintentionally exclude the individual placing them in a group of people who are considered different from the normal. This not only changes the way the teachers look at the individual but also judges the ability of the particular student. Hence questioning the ability of the student and violating their rights which opposes the idea of inclusion. According to the New Zealand policy the Ongoing Reviewable Resourcing scheme provided professional development training for teachers in regular schools to understand the concept and practices of inclusion. The first stage which focused on introducing the teachers to the policy was attended by most of the teachers but the second phase which focused on the curriculum, teaching and learning strategies and parent involvement techniques was attended by much smaller percentage of teachers and mainly involved were the special educators and not the regular classroom teachers which was seen as a casual approach towards inclusion giving the special educational professionals a reason to oppose inclusion (Kearney & Kane, 2006).It has been seen that special educators appear to use specialised techniques and strategies for differentiation than teachers in regular schools. Hence viewing special education as a separate or rather independent from regular education (Blecker & Boakes, 2010).
Arishi, L., Boyle, C. c. b. e. a. u., & Lauchlan, F. (2017). Inclusive education and the politics of difference: Considering the effectiveness of labelling in special education. Educational & Child Psychology, 34(4), 9-19.
Blecker, N. S., & Boakes, N. J. (2010). Creating a learning environment for all children: are teachers able and willing? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 14(5), 435-447. doi: 10.1080/13603110802504937
Florian, L. (2007). Reimagining special education. The Sage handbook of special education, 10-12.
GUEST EDITORIAL. (2007). Editorial, Support for Learning, pp. 50-51. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.canterbury.ac.nz/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eue&AN=25129750&site=ehost-live
Kearney, A., & Kane, R. (2006). Inclusive education policy in New Zealand: reality or ruse? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 10(2-3), 201-219. doi: 10.1080/13603110500256145
Petrie, K., Devcich, J., & Fitzgerald, H. (2018). Working towards inclusive physical education in a primary school: ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½some days I just donï¿½ï¿½ï¿½t get it rightï¿½ï¿½ï¿½. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 1-13. doi: 10.1080/17408989.2018.1441391
Staub, E. (1990). Moral exclusion, personal goal theory, and extreme destructiveness. part of a symposium on: Moral exclusion and injustice, 46, 47-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1990.tb00271.x
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