Call for Articles for “Enabling Education Review” Special Edition, 2017

03/11/2016

 

The theme of this special edition will be:

 “Inclusive education and street-connectedness”

 The Enabling Education Network (EENET) is publishing this extra edition of the Enabling Education Review.

The deadline for submitting first drafts of articles is 28 February 2017. Details of suggested topics and how to submit your articles are provided below. Contact info@eenet.org.uk with any questions.

 

  1. Why have we chosen this topic?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goal 4, aim to achieve inclusive and quality education for all, particularly focusing on children from the poorest households who are four times more likely to be out-of-school (SDG UNDP 2015). In order to improve the quality of education systems so that they become more inclusive, it is important to understand in each context which groups of learners are more likely to be excluded from, and what barriers they face to participating and achieving in, education. Street-connected children and youth is one such group that is often facing exclusion from and within formal education. Around the world existing programmes are successfully providing street-connected children and youth with education. Sharing their stories provides an opportunity for similar or new programmes to learn from their experiences. Also, education for street-connected children is often innovative and offers new ideas that could be adapted to support the inclusion of other marginalised learners in challenging situations.

 

  1. What could you write about?

We want to read about your experiences of supporting inclusive education for street-connected children and young people.

Enabling Education Review helps people share and learn from each other’s experiences. We therefore welcome articles that offer practical insights into education programmes, to help others who are looking for ideas that they can adapt and try. We like articles that provide a little background to the project or programme, and then explain how the project/programme is structured, its main objectives, and what activities are carried out, where, when, with or by whom, and why. And we like to read about the results of the too, if possible.

While this special edition focuses on a specific group of learners – children and young people in street situations – this group is not homogenous, offering a wide range of possible topics for articles. Street-connected children and young people face many different challenges, depending on the local context and their gender, age, disability, health status, ethnicity, and so on. The organisations that support them are therefore delivering many different interventions. Some projects focus just on one sector, like education; others are multi-sectoral and support education, health, social welfare and protection needs. Some education projects for street connected children and youth are separate from mainstream education, other initiatives seek to find ways to help these excluded learners return to mainstream education.

Possible topics include:

Types of interventions

  • Non-formal basic education programmes for children and young people living and/or working in street situations and currently unable to attend formal schools
  • Programmes that support children and young people to enrol in or return to mainstream/formal education (e.g. accelerated education or catch-up programmes)
  • Programmes that support mainstream schools and teachers to understand about street-connected children and young people, and then adapt their curricula, materials, timetables, etc, to become supportive of these learners, so that they can enrol in or return to formal education
  • Programmes that support older street-connected youth with catch-up basic education, literacy, numeracy, etc, and vocational and life-skills education
  • Programmes that support specific groups of street-connected children and young people, such as girls or boys, those with disabilities, those affected by drug, alcohol or substance abuse, those affected by HIV and AIDS, those who are from refugee or migrant communities, and so on
  • Programmes that connect various sectors, to support holistically the health, welfare, livelihoods and/or protection needs of street-connected children and youth, as well as their education
  • Programmes that offer educational support for pre-school-age street-connected children
  • Programmes that provide support to street-connected girls with babies so that they can continue their education
  • Advocacy programmes that have sought to change government and/or school policies to enable street-connected learners to access and participate in mainstream and/or non-formal education.

Financing and resourcing

  • Examples of budgeting / fundraising for more inclusive educational responses for children and young people in street situations.
  • Examples of advocating with donors for financial, material or human resource support for making education for children and young people in street situations more inclusive.

Sustainability

  • Examples of interventions that have sought to maintain improvements in inclusivity, or make wider education system changes.

Stakeholders’ views

  • We love to publish articles that feature the views or stories of stakeholders involved in delivering inclusive education, or benefiting from inclusive education. These can be case studies in their own right, or examples and quotations presented within an article on a specific topic.

 

  1. How can you submit an article?

Please email your article to info@eenet.org.uk or send a hard copy to the address at the end of this document.

Length – either 550 words (for a single-page article) or 1,100 words (for a double-page article). We may edit longer articles down to a single page, depending on the quantity and quality of articles received.

Style – please keep the article easy-to-read and non-academic. We encourage the use of sub-headings, bullet lists, etc. Have a look at previous editions of the publication if you are not sure what style to use: www.eenet.org.uk/resources/eenet_newsletter/index.php

Editing – we are very happy to help with editing the article, so don’t worry if you are not an experienced writer. We can work with you to improve the structure and content of your article, make it shorter/longer, etc.

Photos – it is great if you can add photos, drawings or diagrams to your article. When selecting photos, please look for the following:

  • Active images – e.g. children learning in groups, children playing, teachers working with pupils, parents taking actions to support the school, and so on
  • Images that are not too dark, blurred or pixelated.

Please send us high resolution images by email (these should be at least 1mb in size), or post us an original print/drawing. For every image you want to add to your article, you will probably need to remove about 75-100 words of text – but we can help with this editing. Please ensure that the people in any photos have given their permission for the photos to be published, or that parents/guardians have given permission for photos of children to be used. With each photo, please include the name of the photographer/organisation and a brief caption (activity, location, date, etc.).

Deadlines – the first deadline for draft submissions of articles is 28 February 2017. But we welcome submissions as soon as possible so we can spread the editing workload. We will then review all articles and work with the authors to edit them.

Selection – please note that we might not publish all of the articles we receive. In addition to ensuring that we publish articles that are easy-to-read and of practical use to a range of education stakeholders, we will also ensure that the final selection includes:

  • articles from a variety of countries/regions
  • articles about a range of different issues
  • articles by authors from different backgrounds (e.g. teachers, NGOs, parents, academics, government representatives, etc).

 

Articles that are not selected for publication in EER may instead be published on EENET’s website (www.eenet.org.uk).

Queries – if you have any questions, please email info@eenet.org.uk.

Postal address ­– if you want to send an article in hard copy or as an audio recording (e.g. on CD), please send to: EENET, PO Box 422, Hyde, Cheshire, SK14 9DT, UK


Call for Articles for “Enabling Education Review” 2015

02/05/2015

The theme for the 2015 newsletter will be:

“Inclusive education management”

 

1. Why have we chosen this topic?

This year we would like the Enabling Education Review (EER) to share practical experiences of planning, budgeting and fundraising for, managing, monitoring and evaluating inclusive education initiatives.

EENET has the benefit of being both an information network and a consultancy service provider. Through this diverse work we are privileged to learn about many different inclusive education initiatives – we get to see what makes them work well, and the problems they face.

For instance, we have seen first-hand that organisations and governments often invest heavily in baseline studies, but these studies are not always high quality or used effectively to inform project/programme design. We see that budgeting and resourcing for inclusive education can be a challenge, particularly when seeking funding to scale-up and move beyond pilot projects or model schools. We carry out many evaluations. A common challenge is the limited qualitative and quantitative record keeping, making it very difficult to collate information for the final evaluation. We also notice that more money is spent on final evaluations than on mid-term reviews, yet a high quality mid-term review (and/or effective ongoing monitoring) can enable improvements to be recommended and implemented ‘before it’s too late’.

However, we also know that there are organisations and governments working hard to improve their approaches to inclusive education planning, budgeting, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation. We therefore want to provide an opportunity for those involved in such initiatives to document and share their experiences.

 

2. What could you write about?

 Here are some ideas…

 

Planning

  • Your experience of conducting a high quality, practical and relevant baseline study. In particular we would like to hear about efforts to conduct participatory baselines, involving stakeholders and beneficiaries in the research activities (and even as researchers), so that the baseline process becomes an integral part of the initiative (not just a formal or academic ‘outsider research’ process).
  • Your experience with participatory planning – ensuring that your inclusive education initiative responds to the needs and ideas of stakeholders and beneficiaries; and/or ensuring that the initiative is planned as a genuine collaborative effort between NGO and government.

 

Financing and resourcing

  • Your experience with convincing large/international donors to support inclusive education (particularly convincing them to provide longer-term support – because inclusive education is not a ‘quick fix’).
  • Your experience with developing funding strategies that ensure shared financial responsibility between local/national government and NGOs, or which promote increased financial responsibility from the government for inclusive education.
  • Your experience of successfully reallocating resources to support inclusive education (rather than seeking new/extra resources).
  • Your experience with developing community-level financial, material or human resource support for inclusive education.

 

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Your experience of developing approaches that enable implementers/managers, stakeholders and beneficiaries to regularly reflect on and document their experiences, throughout the life of the inclusive education initiative.
  • Your experience or reflections on what makes a useful, high quality mid-term review or final evaluation.
  • Your experience with developing relevant and useful indicators for measuring progress/impact.
  • Your experience of developing joint monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, so that multiple partners (e.g. NGOs and government) contribute and learn collaboratively.

 

How do you submit an article?

Please email your article to ingridlewis@eenet.org.uk or send a hard copy to the address at the end of this document.

Length – either 550 words (for a single page article) or 1,100 words (for a double-page article). We may edit longer articles down to a single page, depending on the quantity and quality of articles received.

Style – please keep the article easy-to-read and non-academic. We encourage the use of sub-headings, bullet lists, etc. Have a look at previous editions of the publication if you are not sure what style to use.

Editing – we are very happy to help with editing the article, so don’t worry if you are not an experienced writer, we can work with you to improve the structure and content of your article, make it shorter/longer, etc.

Photos – it is great if you can add photos, drawings or diagrams to your article. Please send us high resolution images by email (these should be at least 1mb in size), or post us an original print/drawing. For every image you want to add to your article, you will probably need to remove about 75-100 words of text – but we can help with this editing. Please ensure that the people in any photos have given their permission for the photos to be published, or that parents/guardians have given permission for photos of children to be used.

Deadlines – the first deadline for draft submissions of articles is 30 June 2015.

But we welcome submissions as soon as possible so we can spread the editing workload. We will then review all articles and work with the authors to edit them. This process will happen July-August. We then aim to finalise articles and design the publication in September-October, so that it can be printed in November-December 2015.

Selection – please note that we might not publish all of the articles we receive. In addition to ensuring that we publish articles that are easy-to-read and of practical use to a range of education stakeholders, we will also ensure that the final selection includes:

  • articles from a variety of countries/regions
  • articles about a range of different issues
  • articles by authors from different backgrounds (e.g. teachers, NGOs, parents, academics, government representatives, etc).

Articles that are not selected for publication in the newsletter may instead be published on EENET’s website.

Queries – if you have any questions, please email ingridlewis@eenet.org.uk.

Postal address ­– if you want to send an article in hard copy or as an audio recording (e.g. on CD), please send to:

 

EENET CIC

37 Market Street

Hollingworth

Cheshire, SK14 8LS

UK


Street-connectedness and returning to mainstream education

23/12/2014

Su Corcoran

At EENET we see inclusive education as encompassing the inclusion of many different marginalised groups into education. One group that I actively advocate for is street-connected children. I am currently completing a PhD in education at the University of Manchester, exploring the experiences of transition of children and youth leaving the street in Kenya.

I use the term ‘street-connected children’ rather than ‘street children’. This is because ‘street children’ infers a specific situation that often fails to describe the lived reality of many children or young people found on the street. It is also a term that can stigmatise children by presenting them as being the problem. Street-connectedness better represents the varying levels of engagement with the opportunities and challenges inherent to the street. It also describes the situation of the street rather than defining the child or young person by the street. In so doing it does not lend itself to the traditional stereotypes of street children as either victims or delinquents. Instead, being a street-connected child or young person suggests a continuum of possible interactions with the opportunities and challenges inherent to the street.

Support to leave the street

Community-based organisations working with street children often prioritise assisting the children to leave the street. There are a number of different ways that this is done. Street-based outreach work or drop-in centres are a means of getting to know the children on the street and building trust between them and the teachers and social workers working with them. Some organisations provide rescue centres or interim care centres that are (semi-)residential. The children will stay at these for a number of months to overcome addictions they have developed on the street, to undergo counselling and to complete catch-up education, while the organisation decides if home is the best place for them. Most of them will go home, but in a minority instances (for example when parents are unable to adequately care for their children) extended family or foster parents may be encouraged to get involved. Older youth may be assisted with living independently. (Sarah Thomas de Benitez has written a participatory review of four such street to school projects in different countries, which is included in the EENET resource collection).

Returning to school

One of the important aspects of leaving the street and moving back home is going (back) to school. It can be difficult to start school at a much later age than your peers, or return to school after months or years away, especially when you are much older than your new classmates. Life on the street is very different to sitting in front of the teacher and it can be difficult to adapt to concentrating for a long time or doing everything you are told. On the street, children and youth must look after themselves, and are able to experience a relatively high degree of autonomy and freedom. But when they (re)enter the classroom the lessons are often teacher-led and proscriptive. For a small number of individuals, school was the reason that they went to the street in the first place, for instance due to arguments with teachers, boredom, or because other learning needs were not being met, and they felt they didn’t fit in.

Organisations such as Retrak or Child Rescue Kenya, working to assist children as they move away from the street, often provide intensive catch-up education to help them prepare for going (back) to school. The children I have interviewed in Kenya find such education important for helping them settle in to regular classes. However, this informal education is often more interactive and less structured than the education they will encounter back in school.

The importance of inclusive education for street-connected children returning to school

As advocates of inclusive education we understand that children leaving the street would benefit if the schools they move to use inclusive teaching practices. When teachers treat every child as a unique individual, and try to include all their learning needs into their planning and teaching, everyone benefits. I have read many articles that describe how teachers work on adapting to the needs of one child that is traditionally deemed in need of extra support, but then find that all members of their classroom are positively affected. Therefore, teachers working in areas where many children and youth migrate to the street need to be better prepared to include these children when they return to formal education.

A first step in trying to ensure a successful transition from the informal education provided by the community-based organisation to the mainstream classroom, would be for the teachers at both centres to collaborate and develop a supportive framework within which the transition takes place. The teachers and social workers employed by community-based organisations working with street-connected children and youth should work with regular teachers to help them recognise the issues faced by these children. Together they can develop a more informed plan of delivery for the informal education curriculum that better prepares the children for school, and at the same time change the teaching practices of regular teachers to be more inclusive.

 

Further reading on the education-focused research I have been conducting can be found in the Summer 2014 edition of Childhood Explorer and the Autumn/Winter 2014 edition of BERA’s Research Intelligence

You can also find lots more information about how to develop inclusive teaching practices on EENET’s website.

Su Corcoran is EENET’s Network Coordinator. She also spends time as a volunteer working with street-connected and vulnerable children in urban contexts in East Africa.


Gaza: an education system under siege

18/09/2014
Classroom in Gaza, August 2014 Photo by: Yousef Alejla

Classroom in Gaza, August 2014
Photo by: Yousef Alejla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Students in many countries are preparing to start the new academic year as I write this (August 2014). However, in Gaza the latest war means the start date for the new year remains uncertain for some learners. The Israeli assault (which lasted nearly 2 months) means children in Gaza are being denied their basic right to education.

 

 My little brother, Anas, is a ninth grader. He has already lived through two previous Israeli assaults (2009 and 2012), and says he is currently looking forward to surviving the third. Anas is a smart student with big dreams for the future. He was selected to participate in an education tour of the USA in 2012, organised by the United Nations. This year, Anas was excited to start the new school year and particularly keen to develop his English language skills. However, the current assault on Gaza has had a negative psychological effect. “I have no idea why our basic rights and especially my right to education are being denied. There is no excuse for the warplanes to bomb our schools. I did not enjoy my summer holiday and I am no longer excited about starting my new school year” Anas told me.

 

According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 26 schools were totally destroyed and another 221 schools damaged since 8 July. At least 11 higher education institutions were also affected. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education reported more than 30 education personnel killed and many employees, teachers and students injured. More than 30 education personnel were killed and many employees, teachers and students injured. One-quarter of the population is internally displaced, sheltering in UN or government schools.

The education system was already devastated by the 7-year Israeli blockade, which prevents basic supplies necessary for the development of the education sector from entering the Gaza Strip. Despite this, efforts had been made to introduce inclusive education, including improving school accessibility and welcoming children with disabilities into schools. Now, after weeks of Israeli bombardment and military activities, education agencies must divert their stretched resources into conducting damage assessments. They need to appraise surviving education infrastructure and gauge what support and education can be offered this year. Providing any sort of education will be a logistical challenge. Thousands of children are displaced and no longer able to attend their usual schools – assuming those schools even survived the bombings and are safe enough to use. There will be even greater classroom overcrowding, in schools that were already running double shifts before the war.

Even where school facilities can be found, or created temporarily, there won’t be a simple return to teaching and learning. UNRWA reports the rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among Gazan children having doubled since the 2012 assault. More than 350,000 children need mental health and psychosocial support services. They suffer from anxiety, depression and mood disorders. Longer-term, psychological and trauma healing interventions will be an essential part of education. UN and government schools will reportedly dedicate the first semester of the new year to providing mental health and psychological support. Safe, secure, inclusive and productive education for all children in Gaza remains a distant vision.

 

The Gaza Strip, part of Palestine, is 365km2. It is home to 1.8 million people. According to UNRWA, the majority (1.23 million) are registered as refugees, residing in 9 refugee camps. Around 65% of Gazans are under 25 and in constant need of education, health and other social services.

Ayman Qwaider is an education and human rights consultant and Arabic translator from Gaza, currently based in Australia. He is also working with EENET as an intern to help build networking on inclusive education in the Arabic region.

 This blog will also be published as an article in EENET’s annual “Enabling Education Review” issue 3, in November 2014.

 

The following French translation has been provided by the author:

 

Gaza, un système éducatif sous blocus

 

A l’heure à laquelle j’écris (août 2014), les élèves de nombreux pays sont en train de préparer la rentrée scolaire. Cependant, à Gaza, la dernière guerre signifie que la date de la rentrée scolaire reste incertaine pour de nombreux élèves. L’attaque israélienne (qui a duré près de deux mois) signifie que les enfants à Gaza sont privés de leur droit fondamental à l’education.

Mon petit frère Anas est en neuvième année. Il a déjà vécu les deux précédentes attaques israéliennes (2009 et 2012) et dit qu’il a actuellement hâte de survivre à la troisième. Anas est un élève intelligent avec de grands rêves pour le futur. Il avait été choisi pour participer à un voyage éducatif aux États-Unis organisé par les Nations Unies en 2012. Cette année, Anas était pressé de commencer la nouvelle année scolaire et tout particulièrement de développer ses compétences linguistiques en anglais. Cependant, l’agression sur la Bande de Gaza a eu des conséquences psychologiques négatives.

 “Je ne sais pas pourquoi nos droits fondamentaux et spécialement mon droit à l’education me sont refusés. Il n’y a pas de justifications aux bombardements de nos écoles. Je n’ai pas profité de mes vacances d’été et je ne suis plus excité à l’idée de démarrer mon année scolaire.“, m’a dit Anas.

 D’après le Bureau de la Coordination des Affaires Humanitaires (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – OCHA), 26 écoles ont été totalement détruites et 221 autres écoles ont été endommagées depuis le 8 juillet. Au moins 11 établissements de l’enseignement supérieur ont aussi été touchés. Le Ministère de l’Education et de l’Enseignement Supérieur a rapporté que plus de 30 membres du personnel éducatif ont été tués et de nombreux employés, professeurs, étudiants ont été blessés. Un quart de la population est déplacé dans l’enclave, se réfugiant dans des écoles des Nations Unies ou des écoles publiques.

Le système éducatif est déjà dévasté par 7 années de blocus israélien, qui entravent l’entrée dans la Bande de Gaza du matériel nécessaire au développement du secteur éducatif. Malgré cela, des efforts avaient été faits afin d’introduire une éducation inclusive comprenant l’amélioration de l’accès aux écoles et l’accueil au sein des établissements d’enfants atteints de handicaps. A présent, après des semaines de bombardements et d’activités militaires israéliennes, les organismes de formation doivent évaluer les dommages. Ils doivent évaluer l’état des établissements afin d’apprécier le travail éducatif qui devra être fourni cette année. Fournir toute sorte d’éducation sera un défi logistique. Des milliers d’enfants sont déplacés et ne sont plus en mesure d’assister aux cours dans leurs écoles habituelles, en supposant que ces écoles n’aient pas été bombardées et soient sûres pour être utilisées. Les classes seront encore plus surpeuplées dans des écoles qui recevaient déjà le double de leur capacité avant la guerre.

Même lorsque des établissements peuvent être utilisés, même temporairement, le retour à l’enseignement et l’apprentissage n’est pas simple. L’UNRWA indique que le taux de stress post-traumatique des enfants à Gaza a doublé depuis “Pilier de Défense en 2012. Plus de 350 000 enfants ont besoin de soutien mental et psychologique. Ils souffrent d’anxieté, de dépression, de sauts d’humeur.

À plus long terme, les accompagnements psychologiques et la guérison des traumatismes seront des éléments essentiels de l’éducation. Les Nations Unies et les écoles publiques consacreront le premier semestre de cette nouvelle année scolaire à fournir un soutien psychologique. Une éducation sûre, sécuritaire, inclusive et productive pour tous les enfants de Gaza reste un objectif à long terme.

 La Bande de Gaza, partie de la Palestine, fait 365km2. 1,8 millions de personnes y vivent. D’après l’UNRWA, plus de la majorité (1,23 millions) est enregistrée comme réfugiés, vivant dans 9 camps de réfugiés. Près de 65% des Gazaouis ont moins de 25 ans et ont continuellement besoin d’aides sur les plans éducatif, médical et social.

Ayman Qwaider est consultant en éducation et droits de l’homme et traducteur d’arabe. Il est originaire de Gaza et est actuellement basé en Australie. Il travaille également avec EENET en tant que stagiaire pour aider à la construction de réseaux sur l’éducation inclusive dans le monde arabe.


Experience in Co-operation: A story of special education teachers in mainstream schools

09/07/2014

 

Underneath the surface benefits of inclusive education, some mainstream school teachers experience difficulties as they co-operate and strive for a better quality leaning environment for their students. This blog features a fictionalised composite story1 of Lydia, based on my research on teachers’ attitudes toward inclusion.2

 

“Hi, My name is Lydia. I am a special education teacher in a public high school in Taiwan. I teach a Year Three resource class and help with advocacy for students with special educational needs across the school. There are six to seven students in my class. All my students belong to different general classes, only coming to my resource classroom at specific times.  

Based on students’ individualised education plans (IEPs), my duty is to co-operate with general teachers for an effective and supportive lesson plan for students. However, there are always some general teachers unwilling to co-operate with others, or unwilling to make adjustments for students within their teaching.

Recently I had a disagreement with one of these teachers due to the pass marks of one of the students with learning difficulties. The student is brilliant: she did really well with Maths and Science, but, due to her reading issues, her English and Chinese are not so good. According to current policy, she needs to pass both English and Chinese to graduate. If only the teacher would lower the pass score3 to take account of her needs, or even use alternative methods for her English and Chinese assessment, she could graduate this year. However, in the end, the student failed the exam and will be kicked out of school before she graduates. It is really a shame and I feel sad (or sometimes even angry) to learn that some teachers are just unwilling to change their approaches.

Nevertheless, there are general teachers with a good understanding of the idea of inclusion. One of the students who attends my resource class, a boy with autism, had a hard time in his previous class last year. He showed high anxiety and depression at school. Before the boy transferred to this year’s class, the teacher gave a short introduction on autism to the other students and taught them how to support him. The boy and his peers still had a rough time in the beginning, and the teacher came to me for help from time to time during the transition period. Nevertheless, with good co-operation between the teacher, the class and me, the boy’s behavioural issues started decreasing, he started to enjoy school, and the whole class started getting along. At the end of this semester, they even made a graduation video together.

I love my job and see it as an important role that influences each student’s life. I’m also passionate about advocating for quality education as a right for students with special needs. However, sometimes I feel frustrated working in a system driven by academic performance. Since there is often lower academic performance among students with special educational needs (at least that is how it is in my school), the school seldom pays attention to us. Special education teachers like me are identified as ‘people who solve the problem’ within the school. Only when a problem occurs among our students will the school come to us.

However, I’m also a teacher and a professional, providing valuable services for all students, whether or not they have special needs. I really hope that one day they will understand me and value what I am doing as a teacher.

Inclusive education is a process of improvement, not only for students but also for teachers and the education system. We move towards a goal -that all students have the right to access quality education – together. I’m not saying it will be easy, but with a little bit of change and a little bit of willingness to move forward together, there are high hopes for a better learning environment for all of us.”

 

This is the story of Lydia. Does some of her experience sound familiar to you? Do you agree with what she said, or what she believed?

Please leave a comment. It will be really encouraging to learn what you think.

 

In my next blog, some discussion will be made based on this story, so it is to be continued…

I-Jung Lu

 

 

Notes

1. Collective story: the combination of different stories, which is stated as ‘a collective, unified, chronological narrative’ (Pringle, 2008:221)

Pringle, R. (2008). ‘No rugby—no fear’: collective stories, masculinities and transformative possibilities in schools. Sport, Education and Society13(2), pp.215-237.

2. This collective story is based on:

Lu, I.J. (2013) Understanding the Special Educational Trainee Teacher and Experienced Teachers’ Attitudes to and Construction of Inclusion in Taiwan. MA Dissertation,University of Manchester.

3. In the Taiwanese secondary or high school education system, the pass mark is set at 60 out of 100. However, the course tutors and the office of academic affairs could reset the pass mark for students who have special learning needs or disabilities. The course tutors could also refuse to change the pass mark for the student if they felt it is not necessary.


Testing, learning outcomes and inclusion: how can we get it right?

29/05/2014

When I talk to teachers about including disabled children, we always get stuck on testing. In many countries there is a tough and inflexible exam at the end of primary school, for admission to secondary school. Disabled children are usually not entered for this exam. This may be because no one has considered how a child who can’t write can take the test, or because people think a disabled child is not capable of learning. Where disabled students have managed to make it to secondary school, they often find themselves with the same problem – no chance of taking formal exams at the end.

Many teachers worry whether it’s worth keeping children in primary school if they have no chance of passing exams. Some teachers will keep disabled children in lower primary for years in the hope of providing some learning, but parents can become frustrated at the lack of qualifications. Sometimes head teachers don’t want to enter disabled children for exams because they worry about bringing the school’s results down; but often it’s felt to be unfair to put a child through tests set up for them to fail.

I try to encourage discussion of alternative ways to test a child’s knowledge. If a child writes slowly, why not give extra time? If a child can’t see, why not read the questions and write the answers for them? Teachers are often enthusiastic, and discussing inclusive assessment can reframe the problem from ‘disabled children can’t learn’, to ‘disabled children’s knowledge isn’t captured well’. However, no matter how positive a teacher’s attitude, teachers rarely have the power to decide how formal testing works.

Many questions come up about making testing systems inclusive. Who will be running the exam? Is there any law or policy which requires adaptations? How should concerns about cheating be dealt with? (For example, if a child has to give their answers verbally, should the recorder be observed? What will it cost to provide two extra people to test one child?) How much extra exam time does each child need? What if a child doesn’t understand the language the exam is written in – is that an accessibility question or a wider policy issue? How can marks be given fairly if testing is done in different ways for different children?

The same questions apply to the large learning outcomes surveys used to show the impact of donor-funded projects. This provides a huge disincentive to include disabled children in education programmes. Why would the implementing agency bring children into a project who can’t participate in testing, when this will reduce the final averaged scores? If surveys are designed from baseline stage to be inclusive, this can be avoided, but it’s rare. This in turn makes it difficult to agree what types of adaptations meet international standards for learning outcomes testing.

All these issues can be dealt with, and there is some useful experience on what has been tried in the past. (Please comment below on what has worked for you!) But inclusive testing also needs new types of advocacy. The people who work as examination developers and learning outcomes experts are often not based in the front line of teaching, and come under pressure to make testing as rigorous as possible. Efforts to make testing equitable can be seen as attempts to reduce standards.

There is little research on the extent to which inaccessible testing pushes disabled children out of school. However, my experience has made me feel that education programmes should tackle testing at the start, rather than realising too late how much it damages equity and inclusion. This would mean building relationships with new groups of people, and having discussions about inclusion and education rights from different perspectives. Where once the question was, ‘How can we get all children into school?’, it’s fast becoming, ‘How can we make sure that enrolment leads to a worthwhile education for everyone?’

Helen Pinnock

Senior EENET Consultant


How I joined the EENET family

22/04/2014

Back in 2010 I was working with World Vision Armenia as an Education Expert and was managing two big projects on supporting inclusive education in Armenia. The first project was receiving funds through World Vision UK and DFID. It aimed to improve inclusive teaching practices in schools, strengthening the teachers’ capacity to adapt the curricula to the needs of children with special educational needs. The second project was funded through USAID, and focused on strengthening the capacity of disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to promote public understanding of disability and acceptance of inclusive education.

According to the logframe of my first project we needed to invite an international consultant to evaluate our efforts and provide recommendations on improvements and following steps. I am so thankful to WVUK for recommending Ingrid Lewis from EENET! Ten days we spent travelling throughout the project sites. Conducting meetings and round table discussions at schools, having lesson observations and informal communications with students helped me to understand the context well, my partners’ perception and understanding of both the project’s goals and inclusive education concept. It revealed our strengths and weaknesses alike and helped me view inclusive education from a totally different angle: it is not education for children with special educational needs, it is enabled education for ALL students, so that every child can gain from the hours spent at school in proportion to his/her abilities and capacities.

This consultancy supported me to recognize good teachers in our communities and develop role models for others through the first video manual for teachers in Armenia. It also helped me learn about and understand the Index for Inclusion and discover the global EENET community!

 

Children Armenia poster Teachers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a poster featuring the opinions of children in inclusive schools in Armenia

Two years later I was honored to enter the EENET family as a ‘Client Representative Director’ – a volunteering job, which gave me an opportunity to know in person other team members and experienced experts in the inclusive education field who are all very open and dedicated people ready to share their knowledge easily.

My role is to view EENET’s activities from the clients’ point of view (this is primarily about the consultancy clients, but I’m also interested to see EENET’s activities from the perspective of general network users). My role is to provide suggestions about what types of ‘services’ and resources the clients/users may request; in what format the information should be presented, etc.

I’ve always felt that EENET’s website provides wide access to resources on inclusive education practices; it is very supportive for teachers, offering different articles and methodologies for managing inclusive classes. It is accessible for different users (I find the on-line translator helps non-English speakers understand the core messages in all articles). I believe that this new blogging opportunity will increase EENET’s communication with a wider range of clients/users/partners.

I would love to read your views and suggestions about what you would like to see and or obtain through EENET’s website. You can leave comments here, or email me via consultancy@eenet.org.uk

Hasmik Ghukasyan

EENET’s Client Representative Director