Exploring teacher educators’ enactment of inclusive pedagogies in Initial Teacher Education

Archie Graham, Kirsten Amy Darling-McQuistan

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


The educational inclusion of all children, grounded in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, presents an ongoing challenge for teacher educators to prepare new and existing teachers to address the rights of increasingly diverse categories of learners. One way of responding to this challenge can be found in Scotland where the National Framework for Inclusion (STEC, revised 2014) was developed to support consistent approaches to the promotion of inclusion across Scotland’s Initial Teacher Education institutions. Underpinned by Inclusive Pedagogy (Florian and Black-Hawkins, 2011) and linked to the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) Standards, the Framework aims to support initial teacher education and career long learning by providing a tool that teachers can use to reflect on their practice.
Notwithstanding the creation of the National Framework for Inclusion as a tool to support teachers to develop pedagogical approaches that benefit all learners, there is notable disaffection among some teachers (and parents), who believe that the current ‘Inclusion Agenda’ in Scotland is not working. The surfacing of such feelings has prompted calls for a shift in ITE towards courses designed for different categories of children rather than supporting all teachers to take responsibility for all children.
With awareness of such tensions, this paper will report on the findings relating to the University of Aberdeen and drawn from a larger national collaborative study to identify and map inclusive pedagogy across Scotland’s initial teacher education institutions. Using the Council of Europe’s ‘Tool to Upgrade Teacher Education Practices for Inclusive Education’ (Hollenweger, Pantic and Florian, 2015) we have mapped how different tutors on two different ITE Programmes, a four-year undergraduate programme and a 36-week professional graduate diploma in education, operationalise inclusion in their courses.
Qualitative data was collected by semi-structured interviews, course documentation and researcher field notes. Initial findings from the University of Aberdeen show that while all tutors are committed to promoting educational inclusion and inclusion is embedded in both programmes implicitly and explicitly, there is considerable variation in terms of tutor practices. Conclusions, including recommendations for practice, will be discussed. These include the suggestion that variation in tutor practices can be an asset rather than a deficit in ITE programme design, but these variations need to be handled sensitively to support student teachers’ learning.
FLORIAN, L. and BLACK-HAWKINS, K., (2011). Exploring Inclusive Pedagogy, British Educational Research Journal, 37 (5), pp. 813-828.
HOLLENWEGER, J., PANTIĆ, N. and FLORIAN, L., (2015). Tool to Upgrade Teacher Education Practices for Inclusive Education. France: Council of Europe. Available: http://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/inclusive-education/documents [Date Accessed: 20.03.19]
Scottish Teacher Education Committee (STEC), (2014). National framework for inclusion. 2nd ed. Scotland: STEC. Available: http://www.frameworkforinclusion.org/pages/index.php?category=0 [Date accessed: 20.03.19]
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAssociation for Teacher Education in Europe, 44th Annual Conference 2019: Teacher Education in a Changing Global Context - Bath Spa University, Bath , United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Aug 201916 Aug 2019


ConferenceAssociation for Teacher Education in Europe, 44th Annual Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleATEE 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherThe Annual Conference is the main annual event of the Association. The three-day conference is a meeting place and platform for teacher educators and researchers from all over the world. It combines inspiring keynotes, a wide variety of papers on research and practice of teacher education, and active working sessions organised by the Research and Development Communities (RDCs) in a friendly, informal and lively atmosphere. The event also hosts the General Assembly of ATEE.
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