Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UK education: Special needs students and teachers are victims of 'muddled' approach to schooling

Date:
July 7, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Pupils with special needs and teachers in mainstream schools in the UK are often the victims of a "one size fits all" approach to schooling and education, a leading academic has claimed.

Pupils with special needs and teachers in mainstream schools in the UK are often the victims of a "one size fits all" approach to schooling and education, a leading academic has claimed.

Professor Paul Cooper, a chartered psychologist and professor of education at the University of Leicester, said pupils with social, emotional and behavioural problems (SEBD) are at particular risk of under-achieving because schools are frequently ill-equipped to handle their problems.

Teachers need better training in the appropriate skills and methods for supporting pupils with special needs, while the children themselves require a more diverse range of provision to meet those needs both within and beyond mainstream schools.

In a new study, Professor Cooper and co-author Barbara Jacobs, also of the University of Leicester's School of Education, argue that it is not children with special needs that present the problems for schools and teachers -- but failings within the education system.

Professor Cooper, whose study also examines classroom strategies and approaches that have been found to be effective, said that too often "blanket assumptions" are made about pupils' needs, and teachers frequently lack the skills and knowledge to be able to support them.

He said: "There should be a diverse range of educational facilities so that children can move between one or another as needs arise. Everyone should have the right to go to their local school, but they also have a right to be educated in accordance with their needs and aspirations.

"It is patently obvious that many of our schools experience difficulties in catering for the needs of all students, and demanding that they do so in the absence of appropriate training and resources is disheartening for teachers and disastrous for students -- especially those who are most vulnerable.

Teachers are as much victims of this muddled approach as children, Professor Cooper argues.

"Initial teacher training has not changed sufficiently to accommodate the inclusion policy, leaving most teachers lacking in the skills required to deal with children with serious difficulties.

"This failure means that the most vulnerable pupils often do not tend to achieve educational success. There is also a knock on effect from this, whereby teachers facing the most challenging circumstances find themselves locked into a fire fighting role, which has a negative effect on the learning experience of all students."

The situation is not helped by some academics who get bogged down in ideological discourse rather than conducting useful research, Professor Cooper adds.

"Too much time is spent by some educationalists navel-gazing and fiddling around with concepts that fail to tackle the nuts and bolts of interaction in the classroom," he said. It's no wonder that policy makers and teachers pay little attention to what academics have to say, given the misguided nature of the discourse which too often vilifies specialist knowledge and skills and equates inclusion with where children are located rather than the quality of their educational engagement."

The study also examines the definition of the term 'inclusion'. Professor Cooper argues that this lacks a clear operational definition and, as a result, is interpreted in different ways by different people.

In these confused circumstances there is a tendency towards a default position which defines inclusion in relation to the location of the student. It follows that the success of the inclusion policy is measured in terms of the numbers of children who are located in non-mainstream provision (i.e. excluded) and the numbers of children who are located in mainstream schools (i.e. included). Such crude judgements underplay the importance of the quality of social-emotional and educational engagement experienced by the individual student.

Professor Cooper argues, however, that it is precisely this notion of quality of engagement that should reside at the heart of educational policy and practice. This view recognises that an appropriate educational setting is defined in terms of the extent to which it caters for the needs of the individual student, and not in relation to geographical location.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "UK education: Special needs students and teachers are victims of 'muddled' approach to schooling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110707101959.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, July 7). UK education: Special needs students and teachers are victims of 'muddled' approach to schooling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110707101959.htm
University of Leicester. "UK education: Special needs students and teachers are victims of 'muddled' approach to schooling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110707101959.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins