Just like the faulty syllogism depicted by the cartoon, my personal rationale is based upon my struggle with the human rights orientation bias of inclusive education. The focus in my rationale is on the Indigenous children’s numeracy/literacy underperformance, how to address it wielding the principles and the ensuing micro-skills required to include them in my classroom. My assumption therefore is that one reason they are underperforming is because they are not effectively included in our teaching and learning process.
These pieces of legislations ensure that schools perpetuate this moral obligation of the state to its citizens. The teacher’s task is more than just the perfunctory delivery of the curriculum through meaningful learning experience, he/she must also ensure that no child is disadvantaged by the learning process. This is one tenet of middle years schooling.
These policies are either politically initiated in response to but not necessarily adopting popular discussions on the matter. An example of this the implementation of standardised assessment.
Even with the assumed validity of human rights as its reifying force, current practices deemed as inclusive are not necessarily inclusive (Graham & Slee, 2008, p.8). In his 2008 Boyer Lecture, Rupert Murdoch warned that “Australia’s system of public education can never be called a success until Aboriginal Australians benefit from it as much as any other citizens.” The statement is supported by some dismal statistics on our indigenous children. Another powerful statement by Yvone Butler, an Aboriginal woman says, “Education is the greatest single weapon to overcome disadvantage.” The Indigenous children’s numeracy and literacy underperformance is a prima facie indictment on our failure to include them in our schools which in effect questions our adherence to the 1948 Human Rights Declaration.
Teachers often view classroom diversity with trepidation rather than a challenge. Refuge is often found in the rigid adherence to a politically-mandated curriculum designed to foster equality rather than equity for all students. In other words, the curriculum mitigates the ill-conceived perception of including all students because of diversity. The Statement of Intent clearly sets the pace for a departure from this perception to a more dynamic pedagogy of indifference espoused by Lingard (2007) where exlusionary practices can be obviated through the teacher’s academic rigour (p.247). The lesson designs and the learning experiences employed should reflect the thinking of including all students in spite of their diversity. This is valuing diversity.
According to Australian Directions in Indigenous Education 2005-2008 (Ministerial Council on Employment, Education and Affairs, MCEETYA, 2005), Indigenous students are taught in classrooms using a curriculum designed to absorb all students regardless of their cultures for the sake of fairness for all students. The curriculum is often Anglo-Saxon in origin where the emphasis is making sense of information and their meaning is negotiated through texts; failing to understand the way Indigenous people interact with the land and with each other which affects the way language is used in schools and in the community at large (MCEETYA, 2005, p. 3)
Teaching the concept of measurement requires an onerous task. The need to define terms cannot take precedence over the actual task of measuring. Indigenous students need to be exposed to more kinaesthetic learning experience – although this is not to say that this is specific to their culture.
Without trivialising the conceptual error here demonstrated, one must see beyond the humour of the response. A non-Indigenous student can easily make this error too but this Year 9 Knowledge & Understanding item in an end-of-term exam highlights the need to incorporate the intangible aspects of language in order to convey the desired meaning. In this case, measurement.
One challenge of middle years schooling is providing a seamless transition between primary and secondary schooling so to lessen the shock of exposure to something that is unfamiliar. This is attained through a well-managed, school-based activity such as high school teachers regularly visiting Yr 7 classes, or taking them to a target high school. Another challenge is that of replicating primary schooling in early secondary studies. This diagram illustrates one effort by a MYS teacher.
The Melbourne Declaration (MCEETYA, 2008) stipulates for a just and democratic society where students need to become productive citizens through a democratic process in which, education is a mediatory institution (Brennan, 2000, p. 5). Throughout all phases of learning, students need the opportunity to be part of the decision-making of their school communities. Students need opportunities to negotiate curriculum and assessment and to practise reflective (and responsive) citizenship in their classroom and in their communities (Queensland State Education, 2001, p. 7).
INCLUSIVE EDUCATION My Rationale <ul><li>By Sandra Gutierrez-Sullivan </li></ul>
Why Inclusive Education? <ul><li>Because it is a legislative mandate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anti-discrimination Act 1991 (QLD) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (C’wealth) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disability Standards for Education 2005 (C’wealth) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986 (C’wealth) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (C’wealth) </li></ul></ul>
Why Inclusive Education (cont’d) <ul><li>Because it is a policy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2010 Queensland State Education – Education Training Reforms for the Future </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Framework for the Gifted (QLD) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inclusive Education Statement 2005 (QLD) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic Plan 2007 – 2011 (QLD) </li></ul></ul>
Human Rights Orientation – Is it such a bad thing? <ul><li>1948 Human Rights Declaration’s dictum: education is a basic human right (Wronka in Ife, 2001, p.6) </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive Education is for everybody and is everybody’s business (Slee in Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study, 2001, p.11) </li></ul><ul><li>Only 40% of Indigenous students remain at school from commencement to Yr 12 compared to 76% of the non-Indigenous; and of these, less than one-third attain the nationally accepted literacy/numeracy standards compared to 87% of non-Indigenous counterparts (MCEETYA, 2001, p.5) </li></ul>
DIVERSITY – a potential catalyst for Social Injustice <ul><li>Practicing inclusivity because of diversity or in spite of diversity? </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive Education Statement of Intent (Qld School Reform longitudinal Study, QSRLS, 2004-2010): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhancing education opportunities for all students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on quality teaching and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respect for diversity and commitment to social justice embedded in inclusive education </li></ul></ul>
The Current Curriculum - Not quite a fait accompli for the Indigenous Students <ul><li>Teaching Indigenous children require the concept of relatedness which is a fundamental feature of Indigenous world views </li></ul><ul><li>The equality approach is not necessarily equity in education just as including all students does not necessarily mean inclusive education (Graham & Slee, 2008, p.278) </li></ul>
Language – Breaching the gap <ul><li>Quantifiable Specification in Standard English </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Indigenous language has no formal terms when it comes to time, distance and quantity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indigenous students are disadvantaged because of the lack of formal quantification in their language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All forms of language must relate to the land, ancestors and with the community </li></ul></ul>
What’s wrong with Peter’s answer? (or, what’s wrong with the question?)
Making the Unfamiliar familiar! <ul><li>Seamless transition between primary & secondary schooling </li></ul><ul><li>Replicating familiar experience & prior knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher’s Responsibilities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>intellectually challenging classroom practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assessing and reporting to demonstrate that demonstrate learning outcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>authentic productive pedagogy </li></ul></ul>
Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study (2001) Finally…….
List of References <ul><li>Brennan, M. (2000). A new generation of high schools – Discussion paper . ACT: New Millenium </li></ul><ul><li>Graham, L. & Slee, R. (2007). An illusory interiority: interrogating the discourses of inclusion. Educational philosophy and theory 40 (2), 276 –292. </li></ul><ul><li>Ife, J. (2001). Human rights and social work towars rights-based practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Lingard, B. (2007). Pedagogies of indifference. International journal of inclusive education 11 (3) 245-266. </li></ul><ul><li>Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational goals for young Australians. </li></ul><ul><li>Queensland Education (2001). Queensland School Reform Longitudinal Study. </li></ul><ul><li>The Ministerial taskforce on Inclusive Education (2004). Students with disabilities. Queensland Government. </li></ul>