Learning and inclusion for disadvantaged youth

Carter, Susan and Abawi, Lindy-Anne (2018) Learning and inclusion for disadvantaged youth. In: European Educational Research Association 2018 Conference (ECER 2018), 3-7 Sept 2018, Bolzano, Italy .

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More people are pursuing asylum than at any time since World War II (Gurria, 2016). Migration flow inevitably impacts schools with children enrolled in contexts where their home language is not the spoken language used at the school (Muller, 2015). In addition, many children are impoverished and have experienced trauma thereby requiring targeted support to cope with daily life (Armstrong, Armstrong & Spandagou, 2011). Schools require knowledge on how to support children to cope, and communities require knowledge on how to welcome and include families from diverse cultural backgrounds ensuring equitable learning opportunity (Ballard, 2016).

In 2015, approximately 244 million people were residing in OECD countries beyond their country of birth (Gurria, 2016). In such circumstances, publicly funded schools are presumed to ensure equity of access and learning opportunities for all children (Ballard, 2016). In practice, this is far more complex, as there are differing ideas, opinions and beliefs on what this means, and how this could and should occur. Leaders, teachers, children, and parents have to be encouraged to embrace a shared philosophy of inclusion and engage in practices that promote equity.

The inclusion of all students in regular schools is an international movement (Rouse & Florian, 2012; UNESCO, 2009). Creating an inclusive school that respects diversity (Menter & Hulme, 2012) and caters for the needs of all children is a complex challenge (UNESCO, 2005). The term inclusion originally focused on the inclusion of students with specific disabilities or learning difficulties (Gause, 2011) but now means catering for the needs of all children, including those who are refugees, live in poverty, have mental health issues or have experienced trauma (Cole, 2015). Inclusion and exclusion are interrelated processes apparent in every day practice and their interplay constantly creates new possibilities (Armstrong, Armstrong & Spandagou, 2011). Both terms have differing definitions and this paper seeks to capture some of tensions involved in the struggle that schools face regarding how to include or exclude and when, what, and how. So what does this mean for schools who strive to reduce the socio-educative exclusion affecting disadvantaged children?

The main question this study sought to answer was: what do stakeholders see as the key strategies/processes within each school that support inclusion, especially for students from diverse cultural backgrounds?

An answer to this question has been derived from the effective inclusive practices within six Australian school contexts where communities report that inclusion is more than words, and National Benchmarking Results show high or improving achievement standards.

This project builds on both prior (Abawi, Carter, Andrews, & Conway, in print) and current research seeking to create a broader understanding of effective inclusion practices for all students. Data has been collected over a three year period from four public primary (elementary) schools and two large secondary schools in Queensland, Australia. While the context of the study is Australia, the relevance of the findings is international. In one school half of its 760 student enrolments have English as Another Language or Dialect (EALD), of which a large proportion are refugees. To add to the complexity, predominately half of this cohort changes every two years as families move on to establish new lives. The other schools have varying levels of migrant and refugee enrolments and all schools have significant Australia Indigenous populations, as well as students with disabilities or other special learning needs.

A model/approach documented from earlier research is further developed and refined to detail shared support structures and ways of working proven to support inclusion. This paper illustrates the refined model in action with examples from these schools which actively reduce the socio-educative exclusion affecting disadvantaged children.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Other)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Abstract published in Online Programme/Abstract Database. No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit of Accepted Version.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education (1 Jul 2013 - 30 Jun 2019)
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2018 01:38
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2020 05:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: school-family-community links, rural and urban schooling
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930199 Learner and Learning not elsewhere classified
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/35090

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