Knowing differently, being differently : creating new opportunities for inclusion by using narrative approaches to challenge perspectives on special educational needs
This thesis is the story of one teacher's practice in the field of special educational needs. It examines the purpose and themes of her published work. The purpose of this writing has been to challenge perspectives of children, and of learning and teaching, in the context of inclusion. This has been undertaken by exploring hidden aspects of teacher-learner relationships, developed and demonstrated in classroom interaction. These include attitudes and assumptions that may limit learning, and involve the themes of identity, agency and voice. Research, writing and teaching has been used to challenge perspectives of teachers, and teacher educators, in relation to what we know about learners with special educational needs and how we come to know about them. It argues for an ontological focus in relation to understanding the learner and an epistemology based on imagination and empathy. The contribution to knowledge claimed in this thesis involves the development of a pedagogical approach that enables teachers to identify and challenge underlying assumptions in the field of special educational needs. The process has the potential to empower teachers to change their perspectives and to act in relation to these new understandings in inclusive classrooms.