Inclusive education in initial teacher education in South Africa: practical or professional knowledge?
Keywords: Inclusive education, practical knowledge, professional knowledge, Legitimation Code Theory
AbstractInclusive education in initial teacher education in South Africa: practical or professional knowledge? Elizabeth Walton (Received 25 May 2016; accepted 22 February 2017) Abstract Inclusive education is embedded in South African policy with the expectation that teacher education will equip pre-service teachers to teach inclusively. As a result, courses in inclusive education are offered in most Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes and research interest in teacher education for inclusion has grown. This paper contributes to this body of knowledge by using Legitimation Code Theory to engage critically with concepts and assessment tasks from three inclusive education courses. This meant identifying where theoretical, context independent knowledge is privileged (semantic density), and where the knowledge is derived from practice or experience and designed to be implemented within specific contexts (semantic gravity). Using examples as reference points, I discuss how inclusive education comes to emphasise practical knowledge, to be enacted in particular contexts, or with particular groups of learners. An alternative is to position inclusive education as professional knowledge where theoretically informed judgments are made in response to the complexity of learner diversity. This will require strengthening the disciplinary foundation of concepts presented in ITE courses in inclusive education.
Copyright (c) 2017 Elizabeth Walton
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors retain copyright of their work, with first non-exclusive publication rights granted to Journal of Education. Authors agree that any subsequent publication of the article will credit the Journal as the site of first publication and provide a link to the Journal website. Authors contributing to Journal of Education agree to publish their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, allowing third parties users to copy, distribute and transmit an article as long as the author is attributed, the article is not used for commercial purposes, and the work is not modified or adapted in any way, and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this license are made clear. Note: Authors who may need to comply with the particular open access requirements of their funding bodies can apply to JoE for a more liberal licence, such as Creative Commons CC BY.