Students negotiating the borders between general and special education classes : an ethnographic and participatory research study

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Riitaoja , A-L , Helakorpi , J & Holm , G 2019 , ' Students negotiating the borders between general and special education classes : an ethnographic and participatory research study ' , European Journal of Special Needs Education , vol. 34 , no. 5 , pp. 586-600 . https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2019.1572093

Title: Students negotiating the borders between general and special education classes : an ethnographic and participatory research study
Author: Riitaoja, Anna-Leena; Helakorpi, Jenni; Holm, Gunilla
Contributor organization: Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care
CEREN (The Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism)
Swedish School of Social Science Subunit
Department of Education
Education of Education
Gunilla Holm / Principal Investigator
Helsinki Inequality Initiative (INEQ)
Date: 2019-10-20
Language: eng
Number of pages: 15
Belongs to series: European Journal of Special Needs Education
ISSN: 0885-6257
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08856257.2019.1572093
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/310438
Abstract: Although Finnish basic education is based on inclusion, 37% of students receiving special support still study in either separate schools or separate classes in comprehensive schools. In this study we explore how policies of inclusion are implemented in a school with separated special educational needs (SEN) and general education (GE) classes. More specifically we conducted a two-year ethnographic study focusing particularly on exclusion and the sense of belonging in a lower secondary school (students aged 13–16) in the capital region of Finland. During the fieldwork, several students attending the SEN-class expressed an interest in changing from the SEN-class to a GE-class, or in breaking the borders between SEN and GE classes in other ways. As part of the negotiations with the school, students who criticised the GE- and SEN-class division were offered an opportunity to transfer to GE-classes but in the end, all of them wanted to stay in the SEN-class. In this investigation, we focus on the students’ reasoning and the teachers’ reactions when students negotiate the borders between SEN and GE-classes. In this study we found a clash between integration and inclusive thinking.Although Finnish basic education is based on inclusion, 37% of students receiving special support still study in either separate schools or separate classes in comprehensive schools. In this study we explore how policies of inclusion are implemented in a school with separated special educational needs (SEN) and general education (GE) classes. More specifically we conducted a two-year ethnographic study focusing particularly on exclusion and the sense of belonging in a lower secondary school (students aged 13–16) in the capital region of Finland. During the fieldwork, several students attending the SEN-class expressed an interest in changing from the SEN-class to a GE-class, or in breaking the borders between SEN and GE classes in other ways. As part of the negotiations with the school, students who criticised the GE- and SEN-class division were offered an opportunity to transfer to GE-classes but in the end, all of them wanted to stay in the SEN-class. In this investigation, we focus on the students’ reasoning and the teachers’ reactions when students negotiate the borders between SEN and GE-classes. In this study we found a clash between integration and inclusive thinking.
Subject: 516 Educational sciences
Special educational needs
exclusion
inclusion
integration
ethnography
collaborative research
INCLUSION
SCHOOLS
VIEWS
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: unspecified
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion


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