Examining the translation and enactment of the principles of inclusive pedagogy by experienced teachers.
The successful candidate will work with the Inclusive Practice team in the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen. This project builds on an existing body of work that has developed through a reciprocal cycle of teaching, research and teacher education, and would be the next phase in this process (See Spratt and Florian 2014).
The Inclusive Practice Programme delivers Master’s level courses to experienced teachers. In recent years our courses have been shaped around the concept of inclusive pedagogy, as developed by Florian and Black Hawkins (2010). Initial evidence suggests that for some teachers these ideas are transformative on their practice (Spratt and Florian 2014). This PhD would examine in more detail how experienced teachers understood the concept of inclusive pedagogy, in the context of their own professional role, and how the ideas were assimilated into their existing knowledge and experience. This project is not a course evaluation, it is a more nuanced research approach to build an evidence base of the different ways that the concept of inclusive pedagogy can be enacted in practice.
Inclusive pedagogy is a principled theoretical concept that has emerged from extensive studies of teachers who are committed to inclusion. It is based on the assumption that all children are different, and that inclusion involves positive responses to diversity. As all children and settings differ, inclusive pedagogy does not seek to provide a reductive list of instructions for inclusive practice. Instead it provides a framework that teachers can use to interrogate their practice, and make informed decisions about appropriate actions in the context in which they work (Florian and Spratt 2013).
Inclusive pedagogy rejects the categorisation of children according to ability, and seeks ways of avoiding marking children out as different. Instead of providing one set of activities for most children alongside something different or additional for some, it extends what is ordinarily available to everybody. In this way it encourages participation of all children in the learning community of the classroom. It views difficulties in learning as dilemmas for teachers, not deficits in children. It urges teachers to work with and through others to find new ways of supporting children who experience difficulty, and in so doing it challenges some existing professional boundaries (See Florian and Spratt 2013).
The successful candidate would be responsible for developing an appropriate methodology for conducting the research. It is envisaged that methods used would be largely qualitative.
This project is funded by a University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Scholarship. An Elphinstone Scholarship covers the cost of tuition fees, whether Home, EU or Overseas.
Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. Candidates would be expected to have a good honours degree in social sciences and / or postgraduate qualification in education. Knowledge and experience of using qualitative research methods is desirable.