Impacting inclusive education: A theory-driven approach to subject design

    Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


    As noted in various studies (Boe, Shin & Cook, 2007; Carroll, Forlin & Jobling, 2003), the use of research based practice for inclusive education is widespread. What is missing is the theory base that holds these strategies together and allows for ongoing feedback and improvement in practice (Lancaster & Bain, 2010; Zundans-Fraser & Lancaster, 2012). This study was an initial investigation into the effects of a theoretically-designed subject for preservice teachers enrolled in a mandatory inclusive education subject. Theoretically driven subject design means that a subject is developed based on the tenets of a theory. In this instance our approach was based upon theoretical work related to self-organisation and complex adaptive systems (Kauffman, 1995; Prigogene & Stengers, 1984; Waldrop, 1992). The premise of this study was that the use of four theoretical principles of self-organisation –embedded design, emergent feedback, common schema, dispersed control - would go some way to helping the maintenance of inclusive knowledge and skills. We then looked at how these particular principles were enacted in an inclusive education subject. The principles utilised in this setting were incorporated with established research based pedagogies of inclusion: explicit teaching, cooperative learning and collaborative practice. The subject design was based around teaching the application of these three pedagogies of inclusion in a subject organised using the design principles, and then investigating how this was received by students.Initial findings indicate that the theoretically-designed subject created an explicit scaffold for students and a teaching and learning design with which they became familiar throughout the session. Feedback also indicated that the completion of the subject increased the confidence of students in teaching children with disabilities and the significance of having instructors familiar with, and actively engaged in, the field of inclusive education. Limitations of the present study will be discussed as well as implications for future practice in the design of preservice subjects for inclusive education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Duration: 30 Jun 201303 Jul 2013


    ConferenceAustralian Teacher Education Association Conference


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