Inclusion Is Thought To Be A Complex Education Essay

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In general,inclusion of children with special educational needs in mainstream schools is an important issue and all European countries now have legislations encouraging inclusive educational settings. (Evans & Lunt, 2002). Even though inclusion has obtained various meanings throughout the years,since the introduction of the term in Warnock Report (1978) but also through many Codes of Practice, the meaning of effective inclusion is still unclarified. (Nind & Wearmouth ,2006). So, it seems necessary, according to Unicef (2012), to discriminate inclusion from two other terms. Firstly, segregation in which pupils are distributed to special schools according to their impairment. Secondly, from integration in which students can be placed in mainstream schools but in separate,special needs' classrooms and be part of this educational seeting as long as they adapt to its environment. Nevertheless, inclusion has a more embracing meaning as it proposes the suspension of all boundaries and a mutual assimilation of social,cultural, curricular identity of the child but also of the whole system. (Nowich,2008 ; G,Richards et Armstrong 2011). UNESCO refers this assimilation by emphasizing the responsibility of the society to offer education to everybody and by defining that inclusion as a "process of increasing participation in learning,cultures and communities and reducing exclusion within and from education" (Unicef 2012,4p). This combination of increasing access and also of eliminating exclusions led Booth(2003) to think inclusion as an endless procedure.

However, it is something more than placing all children,including those with SEN, in the same setting.It is,in contrast to integration,the adaptation of school to childrens' needs.(Heat et al. 2004). However,it is not easy to perceive the term of inclusion in theory but also in practice.That is why Giddens (1994) refers to an "utopian realism" that many desire but few really believe it can happen (Croll & Moses, 2000) while Slee (2004) metaphorically says that inclusion has become "jet lagged" in order to illustrate the variety of definitions existed for inclusion throughout the years.Indeed, inclusion is difficult to be understood and identified because of its diversity and the lack of a global meaning as in many countries it is confused with integration (Armstrong,2005). What is important to perceive is that we should consider inclusion in a wider context in order to achieve it.This

means that if the aim of eliminating segregated education is successful,it is only because society believes in inclusion and places emphasis on individuals' rights and not on their learning difficulties (Thomas, 1997). So,it is a matter of treating all children equally and not just in the same way (Wedell, 2008). This can be managed through a transformation in the whole society and its principles and afterwards in every smaller context such as the educational one....

On the other hand, SEBD is also considered a vague term and difficult to be understood because of lack of clarity and the diversity of their characteristics. Consequently,inclusion of children who are labelled as having SEBD raises many discussions throughout the years. (Cole & Knowles 2011).Nevertheless, it was not until 1981 through the Education Act that emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) as a term was introduced and accepted for the first time.The previous Educational Act (1944) had instigated the term "maladjusted" by making a more medical approach of these difficulties whereas in the nineteenth century,these pupils were confused with delinquents or "mental defectives".(Cole & Knowles 30p.) However,despite the abolishment of ''maladjusted children'' as a definition, the Education Act continued to promote integration and not the inclusion of people with special needs in general.....Besides,this progress from dealing these students as being maladjusted or having emotional disorders to children with multiple difficulties was also considerable for shifting away from the medical model and going towards the social one......

Many researchers argue that there is not a globally accepted definition for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties (see e.g Benett & Aalsvoort, 2005) even though many changes in policy have been made through governmental documents in order to promote inclusion of these students in mainstream schools (Goodman, 2010). It is used as a "quasi-official term" that concerns students' behaviour described as "disruptive", "exlcuded", "challenging" or "at risk" (Clough,Garner, Pardek,Yuen 2005 p.7). Despite the vagueness and the multiple definitions existed,there have been many governmental changes that increase the chances for students with SEN such as those characterised as having SEBD to be part of mainstream education.(Goodman & Burton 2010).

For instance,SEN Code of Practice explains SEBD as :

"a learning difficulty where children and young people demonstrate features of emotional and behavioural difficulties such as: being withdrawn or isolated,disrupting and disrupted;being hyperactive and lacking concentration;having immature social skills; or

presenting challenging behaviour arising from other complex special needs" ( DCSF 2008,paragraph 49).

Indeed,it is an imprecise term, as Goodman and Burton note, that is connected with many different behaviours, internalising and externalising but also with other difficulties such as the problem in learning or the hyperactivity. However, one of the most important issues that might be raised is how teaching and inclusion can be effective when the meaning of umbrella terms such as SEN or SEBD have so many assumptions.(Campbell 2002).Furthermore, reflections should be made about how to realise the aims of inclusion and why all these barriers for its achievement exist.Is it appropriate to talk about a gap between theory and practice? Jull (2009) summarises that inclusion of children with SEBD faces many problems in implementation because of lack of educational and administrative organisation but also because of the behaviour itself of students as the main difficulty to achieve inclusion.Indeed, children with SEBD are at great risk of being excluded (DfeS, 2004) as their antisocial behaviour is thought to be a great challenge (White Paper 2010; Green Paper, 2007).

The difficulties briefly outlined above highlight the complexity of inclusion of children identified as having SEBD in UK context as there is a range of issues,challenges and dilemmas being raised. As a result, after analysing these barriers,I will suggest possible ways forward to overcome them. Moreover, I will argue that despite the problems and reflections, inclusion can be achieved but in order to be effective, a whole transformation must be occurred in society and educational settings. Therefore, I will make connections to my own personal experience in Greece as a six months volunteer teacher of handiwork and language to adolescents and adults with high-functioning autism and Down syndrome who also faced emotional and behavioural diificulties.