Aims

What were the main aims of the initiative?

The teacher training process outlined in this example combines an inclusive approach with on-going self-assessment. The relationship between self-assessment, thought and action provides an analysis-, choice- and action-oriented training which can create and sustain the inclusive power of school, organisation and teaching practices. In this perspective, continuous training is the most consistent format to support the outlined processes, variables and any changes. The training process is structured on an individual level and also on a second level within a network of teachers and schools that provides opportunities to share ideas, language, methods, results and inclusive practices.

Themes:

The teacher training process has the following aims:

  1. Building a network of teachers and schools for continuous training on inclusive education;
  2. Sharing inclusive assumptions and language: the aim is education for all pupils in the school;
  3. Sharing reflections on the core values of an inclusive school;
  4. Sharing an engagement in overcoming barriers to participation and learning through the reconsideration of the assumptions and instruments on which traditional teaching models are based;
  5. Developing theoretical and methodological skills in order to detect, analyse and understand the processes that promote or act as barriers to inclusion;
  6. Developing theoretical and methodological skills in order to design shared participatory planning to improve inclusion;
  7. Sharing and using tools consistent with the outlined model: SADI (Self-assessment tool for Inclusive Education) and the Index for Inclusion (Booth and Ainscow, 2011) for the quality analysis of inclusive education and inclusive schools;
  8. Activating discussion groups within and between schools in order to share ideas, information, methodologies and results;
  9. Promoting the dissemination of best practices within the network.


Background

Location, setting, Scope, key events etc.

The relationship between training, education and learning processes and the social and institutional affiliation of the school is a topic that nowadays characterises the inclusive idea: it shifts the focus from the integration of an individual into a specific context to the general processes of cohesion through which memberships are defined and in which aspirations, expectations and meanings of people with disabilities and their families are expressed. In this perspective, teachers’ self-assessment of cultures, school organisation and teaching practices plays a key role.


ISSUES ADDRESSED

What issues/challenges does the example address?

Teacher self-assessment and related actions require knowledge, theoretical and methodological skills in order to understand how to define education as ‘inclusive’. Relevant skills are also required to detect and analyse the organisational and didactic processes of the schools and to make appropriate choices, in order to overcome barriers to the participation and learning of all pupils and students.

The outlined model is not only limited to a macro process for the self-assessment of cultures, mission and organisation of the school, but it also involves micro processes related to teaching in the classroom.

The course outlined in this example provides training to teachers in the form of blended learning (in face to face and online activities throughout). The main objective of both types of training is to support reflection upon inclusive topics and sustain the application of shared self-assessment tools through comparisons, consultations and comprehensive material such as papers, experiences and analyses conducted by the trainees.

 


Implementation

How was the Initiative implemented?

The training model is planned for teachers and is divided into four phases:

PHASE 1. Training in face to face and online activities with the aim of sharing inclusive theoretical backgrounds and self-assessment tools: SADI and INDEX FOR INCLUSION (see attachment 1: SADI, in Italian only)

This phase includes:

  • Training managed by trainers; training teachers present in the classroom;
  • Workshops and focus groups on the theoretical background relating to self-assessment of the inclusive quality of the school and teaching;
  • Workshops and focus groups relating to the analysis tools and their application under the supervision of trainers;
  • Workshops and focus groups with trainers to simulate the application of the tools, data collection and comparison of results among the trainee teachers;
  • Individual in-depth study and online discussion, with the support of trainers, of material suggested by trainers and trainees.

PHASE 2. Online support to reflection and implement the shared tools and the data collected through their use (see attachment 2: online material, in Italian only)

This phase includes:

  • Activities in an online ‘virtual classroom’ composed by participants:
    • Trainers’ online counselling for application, administration, data collection and subsequent data interpretation;
    • Interaction and collaboration with trainers and the group of trainees through intervention in thematic forums related to data collection and interpretation.

PHASE 3. Feedback (see attachment 3, in Italian only)

This phase includes:

  • Collective work coordinated by trainers on results and analysis;
  • Selection of areas found to be weak during self-assessment in order to design improvement actions.

PHASE 4. Monitoring

This phase includes:

  • Activities in an online ‘virtual classroom’ composed by participants:
    • Trainers’ online counselling for application, administration, data collection and subsequent data interpretation
    • Interaction and collaboration with trainers and the group of trainees through intervention in thematic forums related to data collection and interpretation


KEY OUTCOMES & IMPACT

What where the key Outcomes? What impact/added value did they prove? What were the biggest challenges?

Interview 1

Mariachiara Rossi, Pedagogue, school counsellor - Istituto Gallio (Como: nursery school, secondary school- first level, secondary school-second level) presents the self-analysis experience related to the inclusive prospective of school and teaching.

The Index for Inclusion (Booth T. and Ainscow M, 2002, 2011) is used as tool for the macro self-analysis and the SADI (Strumento di Autovalutazione della didattica Inclusiva, Medeghini R. 2015) for the micro self-analysis in the class.

Interview 2

Elena Della Corte, teacher in primary school (Torino) analyses the relationship between inclusion and new technologies. The self-analysis experience produced by the school underlines that new technologies do not produce inclusive improvements if they are not involved in the class change (organization, times, methodologies, relationship among students and relationship between students and teachers).

Interview 3

Josha Miotto, PhD at University of Padova presents a project with the aim to evaluate the accessibility giving particular attention to new technologies. Data from the focus groups with 15 people with disabilities highlight  a sub-use of these tools

Interview 4

Mariagrazia Massara, Pedagogue, counsellor - Gazza Ladra (Gozzano, Novara - a center dealing with disability and special educational needs) , presents the self-analysis experience produced by the équipe that deals with training and planning. The topics concern the inclusive idea and the professional power idea of each équipe component.

Interview 5

Alessandra Galletti, PhD student in Architecture (Università di Ferrara) proposes the evaluation of structures and the spatial organization in nursery and primary schools. The tool used comes from the Index for Inclusion and it aims to make architects aware of the influence that space can have on student needs.

 

Key outcomes include the following:

  • Sharing the idea that inclusion is not limited to integration and adaptation;
  • Acquisition of theoretical skills which allow trainees to detect, analyse and understand the processes that promote or hinder inclusion;
  • Acquisition of methodologies related to self-assessment;
  • Sharing criteria for data analysis;
  • Acquisition of methodologies related to shared planning to improve inclusion;
  • Becoming aware of the necessary processes to improve inclusion;
  • Developing the ability to act in a network of teachers and schools with the aim of continuous training;
  • Developing the ability to record and share the practices of self-assessment and inclusion improvement in their own context.


EVALUATION

Has the initiative been evaluated or are there plans for this in the future?

(See attachment 5)

A focus group and activity reports have been used to assess the training model. These are summarised in a grid that includes:

  • An inclusive perspective not limited to integration and adaptation;
  • Consideration of tools consistent with the inclusive perspective;
  • Inclusive research methodology;
  • Data collection and analysis consistent with the inclusive perspective;
  • Discussion and cooperation with the group of trainees;
  • Planning of inclusive actions.

The analysis revealed three major difficulties:

  1. Teachers’ resistance to change towards inclusion, especially in the higher school grade and at nursery school.
  2. Overcoming the teacher’s centrality in order to self-assess individual theoretical perspectives that influence culture, organisation and teaching practices.
  3. Analysis of teaching practices and of classroom context as possible barriers to learning and participation.

Such limits can be attributed to an educational culture that links the idea of difficulty to an individual disorder and not to the idea that context and teaching influence learning outcomes.

The training process outlined here is intended primarily to question the pedagogical assumptions (autonomy, differences, needs, adaptation, skills, and freedom of education) and analyse tools and practices consistent with the inclusive perspective.

Such difficulties have been overcome by:

  • collecting and discussing the positive outcomes related to the application of inclusive best practices;
  • selecting some critical and positive aspects highlighted by self-assessment in order to guide subsequent actions;
  • increasing trainers’ support for the analysis of results and the subsequent organization of teaching actions;
  • developing and improving the networks of teachers and schools.


FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS / SUSTAINABILITY

Have any plans been made for future direction of the initiative?

The following suggestions have been identified in order to further improve the model and to ensure its sustainability:

  • discussion of improvement and online sharing of materials;
  • selection of critical and positive aspects, such as the contents of continuous training, in order to identify what promotes inclusion and what prevents it;
  • use of focus groups to share ideas, information and perspectives;
  • use of networks.


LEARNING POINTS

What are the main learning points?

Some of the reflections on the experience and suggestions on how to support the implementation of similar projects include:

  • continuous training in the form of blended learning;
  • building networks of teachers and schools;
  • providing support from trainers at the start and during the process;
  • involving teachers as tutors during continuous training;
  • publishing/disseminating methods, results and analysis of the experiences through the network.


Materials

Are there further information about supporting materials?

The project comes with the following attachments:

  1. Summary of SADI (Self-assessment tool of Inclusive Education) (in Italian only)
  2. Examples of online discussions between trainers and trainees (in Italian only)
  3. Report on the outcomes and decisions about self-assessment of the inclusive quality of school and teaching (in Italian only)
  4. Interview with some teachers on the course (see section above with videos)
  5. Example of self-assessment of teaching with SADI

 

References:

Bocchi G. & Ceruti M. (2004), Educazione e globalizzazione. Milano: Cortina Editore

Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2011) Index for Inclusion: Developing Learning and Participation in Schools. Bristol: CSIE.

Demo H. et al (2013), Index per l’inclusione nella pratica. Index für Inklusion in der Praxis. Milano: FrancoAngeli

Medeghini R. (2011) L’inclusione nella prospettiva ecologica delle relazioni. In Medeghini R., Fornasa W. (a cura di). L’educazione inclusiva. Culture e pratiche nei contesti educativi e scolastici: una prospettiva psicopedagogica. Milano: Angeli Editore, pp.95-127

Medeghini R., D’Alessio S.et al. (2015). L’approccio dei Disability Studies per lo sviluppo delle pratiche scolastiche inclusive in Italia. In Vianello R., Di Novo S. Oltre le posizioni ideologiche: risultati della ricerca. Trento: Centro Studi Erickson, pp.151-179

Morin E. (1999), Educare gli educatori. Roma: Primeraro Editrice

Morin E. (2014), Insegnare a vivere. Milano: Cortina Editore


ContacT

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Roberto Medeghini, Researcher in Inclusive Education , GRIDS ITALY (Group of Research in Inclusive Education and Disability Studies), Italy

Heidrun Demo, Researcher, Faculty of Education, Free University of Bolzano, Italy

Silvia Dalla Zuanna, Training Officer, Didactic and Educational Department Edizioni Centro Studi Erickson S.p.A., Italy

Mariachiara Rossi, Pedagogue

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