This year our TIG consisted of 18 participants from 10 different countries. Three participants contributed online, as an experiment. Some participants presented and told about the way children with special needs are handled in their country, others reported about ways how to teach about special educational needs.
The research, a survey among 242 teachers, tends to reveal the common issue that though a lot of teachers strive for inclusive education, it costs a lot in terms of money and in terms of teachers engagement and competences. Motivation and quality of teaching decreases often by lack of resources. Final results of this research can be expected on next year’s conference.
When considering the outcome of a review study of 15 studies from 9 countries on inclusion, the only conclusion he (or anyone else) could find is: you can’t say, on a general level, that inclusion works or that it doesn’t. It is apparent, he continued, that ‘the why’ and ‘the way’ of the research should be considered critically.
So maybe the most useful conclusion of this research is, that we can’t rely only on generalized knowledge from a meta study, but need to supplement with qualitative studies, contextual insights and practical experience to gather inspiration for our local practises. And this, luckily, is exactly what we do in our TIG.
In a workshop Mieke Hilster-Verhart, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) had us discuss in groups questions and propositions derived from the “8 golden keys for inclusiveness within education” developed by RUAS. The 8 keys are based on Inclusive Excellence by dr. Frank Tuitt. In a consecutive workshop conducted by Edna Green & Ofira Jacobson ( David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem) confronted us (softly) with our ideas and prejudices about students with mental disorders by naming the common denominators when considering both perspectives (teacher-student and vice versa).
In the first of two online sessions, Deia Ganayem (Al-QasemiAcademic College of Education, Israel) talked about his research on teachers perspectives on parental partnership and involvement. The second online session by William Grey andCarl Luke, both from the Northumbria University (United Kingdom), gave our group some valuable insight on how to use simulation in teaching to help students to feel more prepared working with children with SEN. Using real life videos (fi. a SENCO talking and commenting about a child with SEN) and documents on children with SEN as parts of contextualised learning can help bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Ivana Juzova (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) continued our live sessions by giving an introduction on special education in the Czech educational system. She talked about the different stages the educational system went through when considering views on children with special educational needs and their teachers.
Chris De Bruin, Utrecht University of applied sciences, talked about coaching long term students in a study support room and the model he designed to help these students getting back on track.
To conclude Fridays sessions Dina Bethere (Liepaja University, Latvia) gave us some insights in how special education in Latvia has evolved and she gave us an example of a program that was developed for children with moderate and severe mental disorders.
Jordan Shurr from Queens’ University, Canada, talked to us on Saturday morning. He developed a way to activate students more when learning about UDL (Universal Design of Learning) by having them comment on teachers lesson plans, which led to a better mutual understanding of learning and UDL.
Finally, Uffe Lund, Annette Bruun and Rikke Pedersen, (University College KP, Denmark) raised our interest on working in COIL’s (Collaborative Online International Learning). We then evaluated this year’s conference and chose our new CO-TIG leader (= Mieke).
These sessions in our SEN TIG were diverse, inspiring and interesting. Meeting like this help us all to learn, to identify, to compare, to differ, to connect, to collaborate and to inspire each other and to make way for better education with attention for the needs of every child.
Thanks to all of you, “tiggies”. See you next year in Leeuwarden!
Petra van de Ree (University of applied science, MarnixAcademie, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Categories: 2023 Nürnberg, Conferences, Special Ed Needs
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