Agency in the darkness: ‘fear of the unknown’, learning disability and teacher education for inclusion

Journal article


Robinson, Deborah and Goodey, Chris 2017. Agency in the darkness: ‘fear of the unknown’, learning disability and teacher education for inclusion. International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1370738
AuthorsRobinson, Deborah and Goodey, Chris
Abstract

This paper proposes inclusion phobia as a sharper and more operative definition of the ‘fear of the unknown’ often cited as an explanation for resistance to inclusive education. Using ‘severe and profound learning disability’ as the paradigm case, we situate the phobia surrounding this label in its social and historical context. Our hypothesis is that resistance to inclusion for this group is not rational but amounts to a thought disorder in a psychiatric sense. Using qualitative case studies of pre-service teachers on practicum and head teachers engaged in decisions about admissions, we demonstrate the workings and impact of inclusion phobia. We illustrate its trajectory from a general social dysfunction, to the systems that channel it to the individuals caught up in it. Our aim is to expose inclusion phobia so that, teacher educators, teachers and pre-service teachers might, in knowing it, find new ways to remedy it. In doing so, long standing resistance to inclusive education is made more tractable. We conclude with our own proposals for an anti-phobic curriculum for teacher education.

This paper proposes inclusion phobia as a sharper and more operative definition of the ‘fear of the unknown’ often cited as an explanation for resistance to inclusive education. Using ‘severe and profound learning disability’ as the paradigm case, we situate the phobia surrounding this label in its social and historical context. Our hypothesis is that resistance to inclusion for this group is not rational but amounts to a thought disorder in a psychiatric sense. Using qualitative case studies of pre-service teachers on practicum and head teachers engaged in decisions about admissions, we demonstrate the workings and impact of inclusion phobia. We illustrate its trajectory from a general social dysfunction, to the systems that channel it to the individuals caught up in it. Our aim is to expose inclusion phobia so that, teacher educators, teachers and pre-service teachers might, in knowing it, find new ways to remedy it. In doing so, long standing resistance to inclusive education is made more tractable. We conclude with our own proposals for an anti-phobic curriculum for teacher education.

KeywordsTeacher education; Inclusion; Special Educational Needs
Year2017
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN13603116
14645173
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2017.1370738
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621973
hdl:10545/621973
Publication dates04 Sep 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Nov 2017, 16:39
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Archived with thanks to International Journal of Inclusive Education

ContributorsUniversity of Derby, University of Leicester, Institute of Education, University of Derby, Derby, UK and Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
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