Students negotiating the borders between general and special education classes

an ethnographic and participatory research study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Although Finnish basic education is based on inclusion, 37% of students receiving special support still study in either separate schools or separate classes in comprehensive schools. In this study we explore how policies of inclusion are implemented in a school with separated special educational needs (SEN) and general education (GE) classes. More specifically we conducted a two-year ethnographic study focusing particularly on exclusion and the sense of belonging in a lower secondary school (students aged 13–16) in the capital region of Finland. During the fieldwork, several students attending the SEN-class expressed an interest in changing from the SEN-class to a GE-class, or in breaking the borders between SEN and GE classes in other ways. As part of the negotiations with the school, students who criticised the GE- and SEN-class division were offered an opportunity to transfer to GE-classes but in the end, all of them wanted to stay in the SEN-class. In this investigation, we focus on the students’ reasoning and the teachers’ reactions when students negotiate the borders between SEN and GE-classes. In this study we found a clash between integration and inclusive thinking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Special Needs Education
Volume34
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)586-600
Number of pages15
ISSN0885-6257
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Special educational needs
  • exclusion
  • inclusion
  • integration
  • ethnography
  • collaborative research
  • INCLUSION
  • SCHOOLS
  • VIEWS

Cite this

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title = "Students negotiating the borders between general and special education classes: an ethnographic and participatory research study",
abstract = "Although Finnish basic education is based on inclusion, 37{\%} of students receiving special support still study in either separate schools or separate classes in comprehensive schools. In this study we explore how policies of inclusion are implemented in a school with separated special educational needs (SEN) and general education (GE) classes. More specifically we conducted a two-year ethnographic study focusing particularly on exclusion and the sense of belonging in a lower secondary school (students aged 13–16) in the capital region of Finland. During the fieldwork, several students attending the SEN-class expressed an interest in changing from the SEN-class to a GE-class, or in breaking the borders between SEN and GE classes in other ways. As part of the negotiations with the school, students who criticised the GE- and SEN-class division were offered an opportunity to transfer to GE-classes but in the end, all of them wanted to stay in the SEN-class. In this investigation, we focus on the students’ reasoning and the teachers’ reactions when students negotiate the borders between SEN and GE-classes. In this study we found a clash between integration and inclusive thinking.",
keywords = "516 Educational sciences, Special educational needs, exclusion, inclusion, integration, ethnography, collaborative research, INCLUSION, SCHOOLS, VIEWS",
author = "Anna-Leena Riitaoja and Jenni Helakorpi and Gunilla Holm",
year = "2019",
month = "10",
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doi = "10.1080/08856257.2019.1572093",
language = "English",
volume = "34",
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journal = "European Journal of Special Needs Education",
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T1 - Students negotiating the borders between general and special education classes

T2 - an ethnographic and participatory research study

AU - Riitaoja, Anna-Leena

AU - Helakorpi, Jenni

AU - Holm, Gunilla

PY - 2019/10/20

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N2 - Although Finnish basic education is based on inclusion, 37% of students receiving special support still study in either separate schools or separate classes in comprehensive schools. In this study we explore how policies of inclusion are implemented in a school with separated special educational needs (SEN) and general education (GE) classes. More specifically we conducted a two-year ethnographic study focusing particularly on exclusion and the sense of belonging in a lower secondary school (students aged 13–16) in the capital region of Finland. During the fieldwork, several students attending the SEN-class expressed an interest in changing from the SEN-class to a GE-class, or in breaking the borders between SEN and GE classes in other ways. As part of the negotiations with the school, students who criticised the GE- and SEN-class division were offered an opportunity to transfer to GE-classes but in the end, all of them wanted to stay in the SEN-class. In this investigation, we focus on the students’ reasoning and the teachers’ reactions when students negotiate the borders between SEN and GE-classes. In this study we found a clash between integration and inclusive thinking.

AB - Although Finnish basic education is based on inclusion, 37% of students receiving special support still study in either separate schools or separate classes in comprehensive schools. In this study we explore how policies of inclusion are implemented in a school with separated special educational needs (SEN) and general education (GE) classes. More specifically we conducted a two-year ethnographic study focusing particularly on exclusion and the sense of belonging in a lower secondary school (students aged 13–16) in the capital region of Finland. During the fieldwork, several students attending the SEN-class expressed an interest in changing from the SEN-class to a GE-class, or in breaking the borders between SEN and GE classes in other ways. As part of the negotiations with the school, students who criticised the GE- and SEN-class division were offered an opportunity to transfer to GE-classes but in the end, all of them wanted to stay in the SEN-class. In this investigation, we focus on the students’ reasoning and the teachers’ reactions when students negotiate the borders between SEN and GE-classes. In this study we found a clash between integration and inclusive thinking.

KW - 516 Educational sciences

KW - Special educational needs

KW - exclusion

KW - inclusion

KW - integration

KW - ethnography

KW - collaborative research

KW - INCLUSION

KW - SCHOOLS

KW - VIEWS

U2 - 10.1080/08856257.2019.1572093

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