All posts by Gulda2010S

Inclusion and its benefits

Every child deserves quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives and to be welcomed, valued and become a successful constituent of a society.

There are a lot of misunderstandings, disputes and disagreements in defining inclusive education and the advantages of its successful implementation.

Initially, inclusive education was seen as an opposition to the discrimination of disabled, and then, after some time developed to the process of elimination of inequalities (Loreman, Forlin, Chambers, Sharma, & Deppeler, 2014). And eventually, the definition given by the UNICEF, the most widely used in the world, states that inclusion is the process of ensuring an equal access to education for all regardless learners’ abilities, socio-economic status, gender, race, culture, and so on (UNICEF, 2013). Inclusive education is “high quality education for all rather than special education for some” (Agbenyeva & Sharma, 2014, p. 116). It is also interpreted as an act towards removing barriers to participation in education. Removal of barriers starts when school staff stops to see differences in students with special needs as challenges. Diversity in the classroom creates a numbers of opportunities for teachers to learn new skills to involve all students in education, what makes an implementation successful.

Some key features of successful inclusion of students with special educational needs into the mainstream schools, which were emphasized by Westwood (as cited in Knight, 1999), are: increase of positive approach of main stakeholders towards students with disabilities (a); guarantee of collaboration among principal, teachers and other professionals (b); provision of relevant professional development for teachers (c); negotiate with parents (d), and adaptation of curricula and teaching methods to suit students’ needs (e).

Some studies on the outcomes of inclusive education (Hollowood, Salisbury, Rainforth, & Palombaro, 1995; Sharpe, York, & Knight, 1994; Hunt, Farron-Davis, Beckstead, Curtis, & Goetz, 1994; Wolery, Werts, Caldwell, & Snyder, 1994) showed its positive impact on children with disabilities in such dimensions as academic achievements and socialization. Students with severe disabilities do not cause disruptions to classroom learning time for students with and without disabilities and the decline in the academic or behavioral performance of students without disabilities on standardized tests or report cards. Students with disabilities spend more time engaged in learning than in special settings, because Individualized Educational Plans for students with disabilities are of higher quality than in special classes and target specific academic skills.

D’Alonzo, Giordano, and Vanleeuwen (1997) indicated positive results of inclusion with respect to social skill acquisition and the acceptance of students with disabilities in regular education environments. Students with disabilities demon­strated more social gains than those in segregated settings and experi­enced greater social acceptance and more opportunities for interactions not associ­ated with their level of functioning. High school students report that their relationships with students with dis­abilities resulted in more positive atti­tudes, increased response to the needs of others, and increased appreciation for diversity.

Inclusion refers to a type of classroom where regular education and special education students are taught in the same room. This type of classroom setting provides opportunities to socialize and to become productive members of society, creates a positive school environment, provides additional support for all students, and gives them the ability to maximize their potential in preparation for an independent life.

References:

Agbenyega, J. S., & Sharma, U. (2014). Leading inclusive education: Measuring ‘effective’ leadership for inclusive education through a Bourdieuian lens. In C. Forlin 7 T. Loreman (Eds.), Measuring Inclusive Education (pp. 115-132). Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd.

D’Alonzo, B. J., Giordano, G., & Vanleeuwen, D. M. (1998). Perceptions by teachers about the benefits and liabilities of inclusion. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth42(1), 4-11.

Hollowood, T. M., Salisbury, C. L., Rainforth, B., & Palombaro, M. M. (1995). Use of instructional time in classrooms serving students with and without severe disabilities. Exceptional children. 61, 242-253

Hunt, P., Farron-Davis, F., Beckstead, S., Curtis, D., & Goetz, L. (1994). Evaluating the effects of placement of students with severe disabilities in general education versus special classes. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities19(3), 200-214.

Knight, B. A. (1999). Towards inclusion of students with special educational needs in the regular classroom. Support for learning14(1), 3-7.

Loreman, T., Forlin, C., Chambers, D., Sharma, U., & Deppeler, J. (2014). Conceptualising and measuring inclusive education. In C. Forlin 7 T. Loreman (Eds.), Measuring Inclusive Education (pp. 3-17). Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd.

Sharpe, M. N., York, J. L., & Knight, J. (1994). Effects of inclusion on the academic performance of classmates without disabilities a preliminary study.Remedial and Special Education15(5), 281-287.

UNICEF. (2013). The State of the World’s Children: Children with Disabilities. Retrieved from

http://www.unicef.org/publications/files/SWCR2013_ENG_Lo_res_24_Apr_2013.pdf

Wolery, M., Werts, M. G., Snyder, E. D., & Caldwell, N. K. (1994). Efficacy of constant time delay implemented by peer tutors in general education classrooms. Journal of Behavioral Education4(4), 415-436.

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The Bologna Process in Kazakhstan

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Internationalization, according to OECD (2007) has been defined as “a process that prepares a community for successful participation in an increasingly interdependent world” (p. 141) what means that it is an answer to the globalization. Integration processes, taking place in the modern world in all spheres of human activity, undoubtedly affected education sector. In response to the challenges of the global knowledge-based economy a universal academic system appeared. The development of Kazakhstan society is an organic part of the process of the gradual transition of human civilization to a new stage of its development.

As Kazakhstan joined European higher education area, it started to implement multilevel professional development of personnel, educational credit system, quality management and ranking of the institution. There is an increasing number of scholarships, outcomes, strengthening material and implementing a program of double diploma.

At present, the double diploma program is implemented by 37 HEIs. The involvement of visiting professors and researchers is currently gaining strength. In 2011, over 1 500 professors visited and gave lectures and seminars in 27 HEIs of Kazakhstan with all costs covered by the hosting side.

Nowadays, there is an increased competition to attract foreign students in the world. According to the Ministry of Education and Science, in the universities of the country today study more than 10,000 foreigners which is 1.5% of the total number of students (Oralova, 2012).

Important factor in the international integration of higher education is a part of Kazakhstani universities in the EU project TEMPUS program and Erasmus Mundus. As a result of effective cooperation a wide range of leaders, teachers and students have access to European education, European university management and European culture.

The country is investing in the ‘Bolashak’ scholarship program through which talented young people are fully supported to study abroad in leading institutions. In total abroad in various programs are taught over 28 000 young people, including over 3 000 within the frame of the ‘Bolashak’ program, in more than 20 countries (TEMPUS, 2012).

According to TEMPUS Report (2012) “special attention is given to external assessment of Kazakh HEIs by national and international accreditation and ranking agencies”. The number of institutions that have passed international accreditation is increasing. The MES is developing a National Register of accreditation bodies, rules and procedures to operate the register. From 2012, accreditations have been carried out by non-commercial accreditation agencies.

The number of international agreements signed by the MES with other countries in the field of education and science is increasing (124 in 2011), as well as the overall number of agreements signed by HEIs (around 8 000).

It is worth mentioning the ‘Nazarbayev University’ which is expected to provide a quality breakthrough in the training of national specialists in the field of engineering and technical sciences and to be a center of innovations and advanced research. Each subdivision (school) has close links with academic partners from top universities around the world. The university hosts top-level professors and researchers from abroad to work as visiting scholars. The university is developing its own research and clinical facilities and potential. Young Kazakhstani people will be able to obtain world class education in their own country.

Today we can talk about the cult of higher education among young people. As evidenced by the results of sociological research (Ruditsa, 2014) among Kazakh students 84.1% believe higher education is strategically important to their lives, 70% are going to continue their education after bachelor, of which one in four is going to do it regardless of the receipt of the state grant.

Kazakhstan needs to be involved into global process of cooperation in order to become developed and successful state, including internationalization in education. If everyone responsible for the reform of Kazakhstan’s education system and its improvement will reject all the doubts and will work hard on this, we can easily become a part of a world full of possibilities.

References:

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2007). Reviews of national policies for education: Higher education in Kazakhstan. Paris: OECD & World Bank.

Oralova, G.S. (2011). Internatsionalizatsiya vysshego obrazovaniya v Kazakhstane: Realizatsiya na sovremennom etape. [Internationalization of higher education in Kazakhstan: realization at the present stage]. Astana: L. N. Gumilev Eurasian National University.

Ruditsa, N. B. (2014). Formirovanie i razvitie vyshego obrazovaniya Respubliki Kazakhstan: Ekskurs v noveishuyu istoriyu [Formation and development of high education in the Republic of Kazakhstan: Excursus of recent history]. Академический Вестник, 2(28), 299-305.

Trans-European Mobility Program for University Studies. (2012). Higher education in Kazakhstan. European Comission.

A powerful strategy for effective function of inclusive education system

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Collaboration is an important aspect of successful inclusive education implementation and can be achieved through team work, the main role players of which are teachers, parents, students, support personnel, school administration and the community. In order to all elements of this system work professionals and non-professionals have to fulfil their responsibilities and eliminate the causes of bad collaboration (Boillet, 2013; Nel, Engelbrecht, Nel & Tlale, 2014). For example, the major reforms in the field of inclusive education mostly were made by parents, the people often concerned about the quality of education provided for their children. Due to the subjectivity parental initiatives, they usually taken into consideration only outside the school. Soodak and Erwin (1995) said about that:

Change imposed from outside the field has often led to ambiguous policy statements (e.g., least restrictive environment) or policies that correct one problem without consideration of the overall educational ramifications (e.g., the effects that imposed testing deadlines have had on the quality of the assessment conducted). Clearly, this does not reflect or facilitate effective collaboration between parents and school personnel (pp. 259-260).

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Effective collaboration can be obtained providing that both parents and professionals admit an importance of both sides’ knowledge and experience, because parents and professional each make a unique contribution to educational decision making. Fine and Gardner (as cited in Soodak & Erwin 1995) used the term collaborative consultation to refer to partnerships that recognize the distinctive importance of each member.

It therefore implies that there needs to be five key elements: open communication (1), accountability (2), cooperation towards shared outcomes (3), responsibility (4), mutual trust and respect (5); and several additional ones: coordination (6), shared resources (7), and collective decision-making and problem-solving (8).

This means that true collaboration is demonstrated only in teams in which the goal is clearly established, decision making is shared, and all of the members feel that they are respected and that their contributions are valued (Boillet, 2013; Nel et al., 2014).

Diversified partnership fosters innovation as evidence shows and has a positive effect on decision making process, because of the variety team members’ perspectives. Effective communication, cooperation, joint problem solving and planning, and finding solutions – all involved in the collaboration has been thought to be crucial for the successful instruction of students with special educational needs in general classrooms.

Including students in the general education classroom successfully requires multiprofessional coordination (Jones, 2012). Collaboration within an inclusive learning support framework with general educators and learning to work with paraprofessionals are two elements of the special educator’s duties that may prove to be challenging.

There are many possible reasons why support groups operate inefficiently, some of which are: demotivation and frustration of teachers in the education system as a whole; limited understanding by teachers of what inclusive education involves, as well as the lack of training of teachers to implement inclusive education, with the resulted views of teachers, that they do not have the knowledge and skills for the practice of inclusive pedagogy in their classrooms or support students who are experiencing barriers to training; and lack of resources, as well as a large number of students in the class. (Nel et al., 2014).

The main task of teachers in inclusive education is to educate students with SEN, as well as to help them with social integration in the school environment. The successful realization of this task implies the availability of the professional support of various experts for teachers, parents and students, thus ensuring a range of support and services that provide all students with genuine access to general education.

References

Boillet, D. 2013. Some aspects of collaboration in inclusive education – Teachers’ experiences. CEPS Journal, 3(2), 93-117

Jones, B. A. (2012). Fostering collaboration in inclusive settings: The special education students at a glance approach. Intervention in School and Clinic, 47(5), 297-306.

Nel, M., Engelbrecht, P., Nel, N., & Tlale, D. (2014). South African teachers’ views of collaboration within an inclusive education system. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 18(9), 903-917.

Soodak, L. C., & Erwin, E. J. (1995). Parents, professionals, and inclusive education: A call for collaboration. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 6(3), 257-276.

Children with disabilities’ development outside the school.

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Children with disabilities often have weaknesses in the areas of communication and socialization and a variety of actions, like preparing for everyday life, communicating with animals, listening or performing music are used to enhance their abilities in skills’ acquisition.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a way to teach the children with special needs to be as independent as possible and also their parents how to help them. A variety of specializations exist in that field: some are experts on different diseases, others work with distinct age groups and thirds use different approaches. Occupational therapy with a sensory integration approach was established by Jean Ayres for children with difficulties in sensory data processing (Schaaf & Miller, 2005).

There are different types of activities that are being improved:

– self care (eating, dressing, toileting, bathing and grooming);

– school (adapting to regular school);

– play (interacting);

– environment (participating);

– motor skills & handwriting;

– splinting.

This therapy was oriented initially on children with learning disabilities, but after some experiments therapists applied it on other patients (autism spectrum disorders, regulatory disorders, attention deficit disorder, fragile X syndrome).

Pet therapy

“Dogs and humans became best friends in Europe more than 18000 years ago.”

Saey, 2013, p. 6.

That interaction between animals and people started when they were used as defenders, totems, and helpers and were an important part of everyday human life. Also pets operated as healers; nowadays this cooperation between a trained animal, patient and a therapist called animal-assisted therapy. The main goal of which is to develop social, physical and emotional functions of a person being treated (Braun, Stangler, Narveson & Pettingell, 2009).

The target population of that kind of therapy is people with physical and mental disabilities, elderly, chronically ill patients and children. The latter group is being most effectively treated by pet therapy. Animals – not only dogs, cats and dolphins, but also horses, birds and fish – could increase child’s bonds with their environment (Odendaal, 2000).

Music therapy

Music therapy is another way to help children to enhance their abilities and develop their social, physical and oral-motor skills. More specifically, music may facilitate communicative responsiveness in children with disabilities. In addition, music can stimulate spontaneous speech.

During therapy, all children show increased communicative responsiveness, suggesting that music therapy may be effective in increasing communicative behaviors in children with autism and severe communication impairment (Braithwaite & Sigafoos, 1998).

Considered in total, occupational, animal-assisted and music therapies may lead to increased communication among children with various special needs and to develop a lot of other skills that sometimes cannot be achieved at school .

References

Braithwaite, M., & Sigafoos, J. (1998). Effects of social versus musical antecedents on communication responsiveness in five children with developmental disabilities. Journal of Music Therapy, 35(2), 88-104.

Braun, C., Stangler, T., Narveson, J., & Pettingell, S. (2009). Animal-assisted therapy as a pain relief intervention for children. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 15(2), 105-109.

Odendaal, J. S. J. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy – magic or medicine? Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 49(4), 275-280.

Saey, T. H. (2013). Modern dogs originated in Europe. Society for Science and the Public, 184(12), 6.

Schaaf, R. C., & Miller, L. J. (2005). Occupational therapy using a sensory integrative approach for children with developmental disabilities. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 11(2), 143-148.

From Leadership in General to Leadership in Education: Historical Overview

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There are a lot of definitions of leadership like: “Leadership is taking people to places they’ve never been before” of Marie Kane (2013), Peter Northouse’s (2010) “Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal”, “Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an organized group toward goal achievement” of C. F. Rauch and O. Behling (1984), “Great leaders rally people to a better future” of Marcus Buckingham, John Kotter’s (2010) “The fundamental purpose of leadership is to produce useful change, especially non-incremental change”, and “Leadership is successfully creating positive change for the common good” of Todd Sorensen et al. (as cited in Summerfield, 2014, p. 251).

So, leader works to achieve a common goal, one that is jointly conceived or, at least, jointly agreed on, he influences rather than dictates throughout the process, imparting a respectful and unifying approach, and the results represent an improved current state. And summarising them all Leadership is a process of improvement of current state by sharing his ideas with his followers. And as vital part of it, educational leadership emerged.

Educational leadership as a concept was founded as Edmonds (1979) stays by Frederick Taylor in his management theory, which advocated formal managerial control. At the literature about efficacy of school in late 70s and 80s of the last century, the role of management and administration of schools rose and evolved to the leadership. Administrators became instructional leaders whose job was to set high academic expectations for students and actively monitor their achievements (Hallinger & Murphy, 1986). Although discussions between Bolman and Deal (1994), Foster (1989) and Leithwood (1992) about the importance of leadership versus management have alternated over the years, a consensus is emerging that says both are integral for school communities. The result is that educational leaders today need to successfully prioritize and balance these roles (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003).

Nevertheless, educational leadership was studied more in terms of leadership style of principal in school context, distributive practices, or connection of different cultures. For instance, the studies around the Asia Pacific context mainly concentrated on the behavioural part of the leader compatible with the value system which prevails, that is, the perception of principal in terms of transformational/vision-based leadership style, ethical orientation, implicit knowledge illuminated by leadership reflective space, and democratic and transformational leadership by developing social sharedness. Kang and Printy (as cited in Sinha, 2013, p. 141) pointed that the shared vision and cultural values make a democratic systems work effectively. The role of social context in the shaping of system as democratic seems to be dependent on the perceptions which the school leadership together with its units perceived. Nevertheless, Hsiao and Chang (p. 141) showed that the organizational learning acts as a mediator between transformational leadership and organizational innovation which significantly affects the democratic form of learning, making the process innovative and helpful for the policy making, root level reproduction and supportive for strong organizational/educational climate.

However, Wen and Hwang (p. 142) explored the application of Laozi’s thought on educational leadership and management. They applied historical method to help recognize the connection between the philosophy advocated in the work of Laozi or Tao De Ching and educational leadership describing its relevance in the contemporary world. The description about leaders as a believer of non-action, softness, humility, calmness and the elimination of desire together with the leader’s full realization of their potential was the thrust. The philosophy of Laozi is also very much related to the philosophy of Hinduism in Indian diverse context, where the emphasis on ‘‘Karma without any desire for the outcome’’ replay its conviction for powerful impact on the social framework. The work on the nurturant-task leadership also showed that the followers romanticize their leader as nurturing father but task oriented (Sinha, 2013).

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References

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T.E. (1994). Looking for leadership: Another search party’s report. Educational Administration Quarterly, 30(1), 77–96.

Cunningham, W. C., & Cordeiro, P. (2003). Educational administration: A problem-based approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Edmonds, R. (1979). Effective schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership, 37(1), 15-24.

Foster, W. (1989). Toward a critical practice of leadership. In W. Foster (Ed.) Critical perspectives on educational leadership (39-62). Washington, DC: The Falmer Press.

Hallinger, P., & Murphy, J. (1986). The social context of effective schools. American Journal of Education, 94(3), 328–55.

Leithwood, K. A. (1992). The move toward transformational leadership. Educational Leadership, 49(5), 8-12.

Sinha, C. (2013). Conceptualizing educational leadership: does exploring macro-level facets matters? Asia Pacific Educational Review, 14, 414-150.

Summerfield M. B. (2014). Leadership: A simple definition. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 71, 251-253.