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Preparing for inclusive education through effective teaching

This thesis synthesizes developmental trends toward a more democratic and equitous education system in New Zealand. It traces progress toward inclusion in New Zealand schools. It describes how the reform of special education began with the Draft Review of Special Education in 1987 that advocated abandoning the parallel special/regular education system in favour of a combined general education system based upon mainstreaming, in which the author played a part. This reform was effected through the Special Education 2000 policy, introduced in 1996 which went a step further, introducing an intention to develop an inclusive education system within a decade. To achieve such a change required teachers and school leaders to adopt practices that enabled inclusion to be successful. In the period between these two events, the author was engaged in a systematic process of trialing the introduction of effective teaching and learning practices in primary and secondary schools. The new policy demanded a paradigmatic change that was necessary for an inclusive education system. A series of stepping-stone projects carried out by the author contributed to the establishment of a national professional development programme for Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) which was expected to act as a catalyst for change. The ways in which this training programme has contributed to inclusive teaching practices is noted. The thesis is set out in four parts. Part One sets the scene where education has moved from highly selective, elitist schooling for a privileged few to universal education for all students. Within this context, inequities and disrespect for diversity, discrimination against students with disabilities, and elitism had still to be overcome. The author's advocacy for inclusion is noted. Part Two goes on to describe three projects initiated by the author that laid out pathways toward effective teaching and learning. Each project builds upon those before it, demonstrating how teachers can respond to the needs of all their students, including those who are struggling to achieve. In the first two projects, ways in which a collaborative consultant can work with classroom teachers and school leaders to introduce effective teaching practices is illustrated. The third project describes ways in which trainee teachers can learn and put effective teaching strategies into practice. Part Three examines four critical elements emerging from the stepping-stone projects and the literature, for implementing a paradigmatic change process in special and regular education - the change process itself, managing professional development, collaborative problem solving and ecological assessment. Part Four examines the ways in which an emerging model for special education has developed in New Zealand through the RTLB professional development programme. This thesis describes one person’s contribution to the challenge of reforming regular education to be inclusive of all students in New Zealand schools. The critical elements that make up a transformational change process are identified. A vision for the future is offered, noting the conceptual and operational issues that constitute a challenge for inclusive education in New Zealand.
Type of thesis
Brown, D. F. (2002). Preparing for inclusive education through effective teaching (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13993
The University of Waikato
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