Including Disabled Children in Learning: Challenges in Developing Countries

This is an exploratory study suggesting ways of analysing challenges for developing countries in the move to greater inclusion of disabled children and young people in learning. It uses a literature review to focus on pedagogical challenges to realising more inclusive education. Pedagogy encompasses not only the practice of teaching and learning, but also the ideas that inform practice held at various levels of the education system and in broader society. With the increasingly diverse classes found in the era of EFA, existing pedagogy contributes to the exclusion of many children. Although teachers and pupils have some agency in developing inclusive schools, the analysis of the barriers to developing inclusive pedagogy showed how broader socio-economic forces operated to construct disability at school level. The significant sites of reforming pedagogy might at least initially be as much outside individual classrooms as inside them.

Researching pedagogy and the processes of its development can help share knowledge about possible forms that inclusive pedagogy can take in particular contexts, such as in the resource-constrained and traditionally collective societies of many developing countries. This could contribute to the contextually-sensitive development of inclusive pedagogy, for example by teachers’ action research and by including the perspectives of disabled children and adults.

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