Supporting Student Teachers to Understand Inclusion and Removing Barriers to Learning
What were the main aims of the initiative?
At the University of Winchester, UK, all Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students engage with a module about pupil progress in an inclusive environment. As part of the module, students develop a critical understanding of their teacherly role in supporting children described as having additional needs.
The aim of the programme of work is for student teachers to:
Location, setting, Scope, key events etc.
Approximately 350 students annually take part in a series of lectures/seminars on the topic of removing barriers to learning. Following the seminars, all students then carry out a ‘case study’ by working with one child or young person. The focus of this work is on removing barriers for the individual within an inclusive approach. The case study of one child builds on approaches developed and disseminated by Brahm Norwich and the team at Exeter University (UK).
What issues/challenges does the example address?
The module was implemented as a means to engage student teachers in research informed analysis of their own inclusive practice. Through a consideration of removing barriers for one child, student teachers are required to:
All students are introduced to the British social model of disability and Booth and Ainscow’s (2011) Index for Inclusion.
How was the Initiative implemented?
The approach has been phased in at the University of Winchester over the past four years. Initially the module involved one hundred and twenty five students in fifteen hours of taught input, and three weeks practice in school. As the approach has developed, various permutations have evolved; for example, one group of students have nine hours taught input, followed by nine weeks in school, another group have fourteen hours of input, followed by three days in school.
The lecturing team have a research and practice based understanding of inclusion and the removal of barriers for children described as having additional needs. By additional needs, the team refer to disabled children/young people, and children/young people who are described as: having ‘special educational needs’, learning English as an additional language and being of high ability.
What where the key Outcomes? What impact/added value did they prove? What were the biggest challenges?
The impact of this work has been measured through the gathering of pupil progress data. Student teachers have contributed to records detailing the progress made by the individual children that they have worked with.
In addition, module evaluation data indicates that students have valued both the taught input and practice based elements.
Has the initiative been evaluated or are there plans for this in the future?
The work is evaluated annually and this includes the monitoring of impact data, students’ grades and feedback. Challenges arise due to the large numbers of students involved, and the varied needs of the children whose progress they are promoting. As a means to support students, the use of an intranet forum has been very successful.
Have any plans been made for future direction of the initiative?
As the number of students has increased, the team has successfully developed the use of electronic surveys as a means to gather and collate key information.
As the team considers inclusion to involve the whole school community (children, staff, parents, governors, etc), and the concept of ‘additional needs’ to be broader than ‘special needs’, success has been found in approaches which involve a broad range of experts.
What are the main learning points?
As the approach requires students to establish their own perspectives around the topic of inclusion, the team have found it useful to discuss varied models for inclusive practice.
Are there further information about supporting materials?
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