Problematizing inclusive systems
Co-convenors: Elizabeth Walton and Amy Parker
‘Inclusive education’. ‘Leave no one behind’. ‘Equity in learning’. These phrases have become common parlance – but what do they actually mean, and what will it take truly to achieve quality, inclusive education for all? Are there fallacies that need to be challenged? In this theme we welcome abstracts that explore and interrogate different components of the holistic ‘inclusive education’ system. What is working, what is not working and what has the potential to work?
At the institutional level, how does policy enable or constrain inclusivity? To what end can curricula and pedagogies work to include or exclude different groups of learners? What role does language of instruction play? What high leverage approaches address exclusionary pressures and practices that cut across identity and place – or do governments need to have a new and different approach for each group of learners – migrants, refugees, people with disabilities, girls and those from other marginalised groups? And in what ways do we include to exclude?
At the community level, how might parent/ caregiver engagement impact inclusive education? Community awareness-raising is often a key component of education programmes – what examples and evidence are there that demonstrate a shift from understanding to positive attitudinal change to lasting behavioural change? What learning can we take from initiatives that have not worked, or have resulted in unintended negative outcomes?
At the individual level, do systems consider voice and participation when policy and practice are developed, implemented and reviewed? What value is placed on different concepts and beliefs when it comes to inclusiveness, and how should context-specific limited notions of inclusiveness – where inclusion for some is accepted, but not for all groups – be understood? How might individual or locally-driven inclusive education initiatives be brought to scale?
This theme seeks to take a critical view of extant policies and practices, while also proposing generative ideas for taking the imperative for inclusive education systems forward. We welcome theoretical or conceptual ‘think-pieces’ as well as empirical research and lessons from practice.