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ERIC Number: EJ813802
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
ISSN: ISSN-0885-6257
On Other People's Terms: Schools' Encounters with Disabled Students
Persson, Bengt
European Journal of Special Needs Education, v23 n4 p337-347 Nov 2008
According to Swedish legislation as well as laws pertaining to disabled citizens, Swedish schools are to be accessible for all children and adolescents. This implies that disabilities of any type must not be allowed to prevent students from completing their schooling on their own terms. The purpose of this research was to study the degree to which the Swedish school is accessible for all students. A total 200 professionals and politicians were interviewed alongside more than 30 upper secondary school students. The results show that the ambition level is high with regard to adapting educational programmes for the disabled student group, especially in the rhetoric of politicians and civil servants. However, in practice, teachers and head teachers have considerably more difficulty in delivering to students satisfactory schooling. This is often due to conflict between the striving for inclusion and the difficulty adapting learning environments during everyday classroom instruction. By use of institutional theory the study demonstrates that intentions as described of responsible politicians are altered in the system when confronted with the institutional reality. Schools' meeting the natural variation of difference in the student group causes complications in educational work in which various solutions are attempted. When educational differentiation is found wanting in attempts to meet students' various needs, various types of special solutions are sought, which have the objective of reducing heterogeneity among the students. This type of organisational differentiation seems accepted and legitimised where it concerns students having various kinds of school-related difficulties, while seeming to create a disadvantage for some other students. One should understand this as thought coercion, where pressure from professionals in schools leaves little room for other strategies and in which the concept of the inclusive school is challenged. (Contains 1 table and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Sweden