• Agency in the darkness: ‘fear of the unknown’, learning disability and teacher education for inclusion

      Robinson, Deborah; Goodey, Chris; University of Derby; University of Leicester; Institute of Education, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK (Taylor and Francis, 2017-09-04)
      This paper proposes inclusion phobia as a sharper and more operative definition of the ‘fear of the unknown’ often cited as an explanation for resistance to inclusive education. Using ‘severe and profound learning disability’ as the paradigm case, we situate the phobia surrounding this label in its social and historical context. Our hypothesis is that resistance to inclusion for this group is not rational but amounts to a thought disorder in a psychiatric sense. Using qualitative case studies of pre-service teachers on practicum and head teachers engaged in decisions about admissions, we demonstrate the workings and impact of inclusion phobia. We illustrate its trajectory from a general social dysfunction, to the systems that channel it to the individuals caught up in it. Our aim is to expose inclusion phobia so that, teacher educators, teachers and pre-service teachers might, in knowing it, find new ways to remedy it. In doing so, long standing resistance to inclusive education is made more tractable. We conclude with our own proposals for an anti-phobic curriculum for teacher education.
    • Can’t spell, can’t teach? An exploration of stakeholder attitudes towards those with dyslexia, training to be primary classroom teachers

      Charles, Sarah; University of Derby (2017-05-12)
      Aim: This paper seeks to investigate whether the dominance of a standards drive approach to ITE, and the teaching profession, has perpetuated attitudinal barriers to the recruitment and employment of students with dyslexia. Stakeholder understanding of the term dyslexia; perceived strengths/challenges those with dyslexia bring to the profession; what constitutes as reasonable adjustments and employability prospects, based on disclosure, are explored. Content: The presentation will disseminate and discuss key findings related to ITE stakeholder attitudes towards those with dyslexia, training to be primary teachers on ITE programmes. Findings suggest that there remains uncertainty and confusion about dyslexia, its associated characteristics/causes. Many stakeholders perceive dyslexia negatively, couched in deficits rather than difference. This research found strengths such as empathy, inclusive practice and ease of identification of children with dyslexia are attributed to those training to teach with dyslexia. Stakeholder concerns, of those entering the profession, with dyslexia, are identified as being– ability to cope with the demands of the profession; the inability to teach particular age groups/subjects; the level of support needed to ensure success and retention following qualification. This latter concern constitutes a key finding of this research, as the level of support afforded by universities is perceived as being unrealistic in the workplace. The notion of what constitutes ‘reasonable adjustments’ is questioned by many ITE stakeholders. A number of ‘reasonable adjustments’ are perceived by stakeholders as being unreasonable within the teaching profession due to the professional roles, responsibilities and requirements of being a teaching professional. Furthermore, uncertainty exists as to how schools can actually support those with dyslexia, in light of professional standards. A significant majority of stakeholders demonstrated a negative attitude towards the notion of people with dyslexia entering the teaching profession, believing that parents should be concerned if their child is being taught by someone with dyslexia. Both of these findings could have serious implications on the future disclosure of those with dyslexia. This research has found that a fear of stigmatisation and potential discrimination, which deter those with dyslexia from disclosing on course and job applications are justified and real. This research concludes that employability chances are lessened upon disclosure of dyslexia. This presentation will seek to engage the audience to consider their own understanding of dyslexia; their institutional policies regarding disclosure, support and training in light of equality legislation and, ultimately, their own attitudes towards the suitability of those with dyslexia studying on, ITE programmes. Thinking deeply about teacher education: This is a thought provoking presentation which encourages the audience to think carefully about those with dyslexia on ITE programmes, and the potential professional, legal, ethical and moral tensions due to concerns that; “The drive for high literacy standards will be compromised if teachers with ‘weaker’ literacy standards are employed” (Riddick, 2003, p.390). The country/ies to which the presentation relates: This presentation has scope and relevance to all countries where there is incidence of dyslexia and where students are required to meet professional standards to enter the teaching profession.
    • The mental health needs of refugee pupils.

      Hewitt, Shirley; University of Derby (Routledge, 2017-08-23)
    • The SENCO as a leader of professional learning for inclusive practice

      Robinson, Deborah; University of Derby (Routledge, 2021-04-22)
      This chapter explores the theory and practice of professional development for inclusive practice. The SENCO’s remit to ‘inspire inclusive practice’ (Wharton, Codina, Middleton and Esposito, 2019, p16) through leading teacher learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is theoretically framed within epistemologies of difference and ontologies of change so that the challenges of this remit are treated with the depth they demand. The chapter defends practice inquiry for transformational teacher development towards inclusion. Using the example of Lesson Study, it explores Practice Inquiry as a form of CPD of value to SENCOs. A core argument in the chapter is that Practice Inquiry has the capacity to loosen unhelpful, obdurate paradigms of learning difficulty with positive consequences for practice. The purpose of the chapter is to provide a meaningful framework for SENCOs to theorise their CPD remit and how it might be implemented to make inclusion more enduringly manifest in the classroom.