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Why teachers find it difficult to include students with EBD in mainstream classes
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Inclusive Education, ISSN 1360-3116, E-ISSN 1464-5173, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 441-455Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, teachers in mainstream schools show frustration and insecurity about how to organise education for inclusion and diversity. This article contributes to the understanding of how they articulate their view of the advantages and disadvantages of including students with EBD in mainstream classes. To study teachers’ understanding, an approach of discourse theory which takes inspiration from Laclau and Mouffe (1985. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. London: Verso) was applied. The empirical material consisted of 6 focus group interviews and 37 individual interviews based on stimulus texts. According to the results, the prevailing discourses focused on the disadvantages of it. However, they were articulated differently and filled with meaning mainly by three recurring nodal points: (1) problems, (2) dilemmas and (3) impossibility. The advantages of including students with EBD in mainstream classes were only to be found in the antagonistic discourses. They were articulated in different ways but were overpowered by others and therefore failed to fix the meaning. The overall conclusion is that teachers base their understanding on both their experiences and on the policy of the Educational Act, but the pragmatic discourse of the disadvantages was hegemonic to the ideological antagonistic discourse of the advantages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2018. Vol. 22, no 4, p. 441-455
Keywords [en]
Emotional and behavioural difficulties; inclusion; Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory; mainstream classes; teachers’ understanding
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32434DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1370739ISI: 000427864300007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-32434DiVA, id: diva2:1165363
Available from: 2017-12-13 Created: 2017-12-13 Last updated: 2018-05-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Discourses of Including Students with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) in Swedish Mainstream Schools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Discourses of Including Students with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (EBD) in Swedish Mainstream Schools
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

When students’ behaviours cause difficulties for their teachers, themselves, and the rest of the class, teachers often construct inclusion as problematic. The overall aim of this study was to contribute to the understanding of teachers’ discourses regarding inclusion of students with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) in Swedish mainstream schools. The sample of empirical data collected for articles II–IV was derived from focus group interviews of 5–8 mainstream teachers in grades 4–6 in 6 different schools. Article I is a research synthesis on 15 studies that feature the attitudes of teachers from 15 different countries. It frames the entire thesis by examining how teachers perceive students with EBD from other countries, cultures, and times. In this study, neither inclusion nor EBD are said to be so much objectively “real” as socially produced and can be regarded as social constructs. An approach of discourse theory that takes inspiration from Laclau and Mouffe (1985) is applied in articles II–III and is complemented with constructionist thematic analysis. The results revealed that teachers construct meaning and understanding of students in relation to their everyday professional missions in the classroom. Discourses about successfully including students with EBD face problem fixing their meaning as they require new and other types of resources as well as other time distributions, teachers, curricula, and classrooms. The teachers’ discourses revealed a clear gap between policy and practice in the Swedish education system. Discourses that were pragmatic based on everyday reality of the school overpowered the discourses of ensuring equal opportunities for all students and the celebration of diversity. When the wordings of the Swedish steering documents are arbitrary and interpreted differently among various actors within Swedish schools, the teachers feel insecurity, frustration, and inadequacy. Inclusion of students with EBD is a complex and complicated matter that the teachers do not feel competent enough to fully handle. They revealed their frustration with being expected to do something that cannot be done due to practical and economic reasons. When teachers experience failure and dissatisfaction with specific teaching situations, they construct discourses that justify and legitimize that failure. These discourses inevitably have consequences for how the teachers understand and organize their everyday teacher missions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University, 2018. p. 88
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 276
Keywords
emotional and behavioural difficulties, focus group interviews, inclusion, inclusive didactics, Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory, mainstream schools, teachers’ discourses
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32748 (URN)978-91-88527-40-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-02-23, E409, Sundsvall, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för disputationen var följande delarbete opublicerat: delarbete 1 inskickat.

At the time of the doctoral defence the following paper was unpublished: paper 1 submitted.

Available from: 2018-01-26 Created: 2018-01-26 Last updated: 2018-01-26Bibliographically approved

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Gidlund, Ulrika

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