Under What Conditions? Including students with learning disabilities within Australian classrooms

Journal of Moral Education 30 (3):261-272 (2001)
Abstract
In Australian schools, "inclusion" is a term that is used to challenge a previously narrow focus on students with disabilities and their integration within and distribution amongst "mainstream" schools and classrooms. Nevertheless, this article argues that, as a concept, "inclusion" requires further broadening and deepening, particularly in arenas of practice, if it is to serve the interests of all students. Informed by notions of recognitive justice, the paper advocates rethinking inclusion to accommodate student differences in more socially just ways - emphasising students' contributions rather than their disabilities - and what this means for the organisation of classrooms and schools. Within the article, research data are focused primarily on students with learning disabilities and draw on twenty semi-structured interviews conducted with parents and teachers across six Australian state primary and secondary schools. Three sets of conditions are proposed as necessary for inclusive classroom and school processes: specifically, those that promote self-identity and respect, self expression and development and selfdetermination and decision-making
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