Continuities and Developments in Research into the Education of Pupils with Learning Difficulties

Abstract
This paper surveys a sample of current research into the education of pupils with learning difficulties. Examples of the three major established research traditions are discussed, namely the psychomedical, organisational and sociological traditions. It is argued that much of this work seeks to extend the theoretical framework associated with one or another of these traditions, but fails to overcome the common limitation of reductionism. An emerging current of work is identified which adopts an anti-reductionist perspective. The characteristics of the new approach are illustrated, and a specific need for further search within this framework, focusing on the dynamics of the school development process, is identified.
Keywords special education  inclusion  pragmatism  ideology
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DOI 10.1111/1467-8527.00099
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