Inclusive Education from Teachers’ Perspective in China, Finland and South Africa: International Comparative Research Project on the Classroom-level Implications of the Global Inclusive Education Agenda

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Regardless of international consensus toward inclusion there is no universally accepted definition of inclusive education. When discussing and doing research on educational practices labelled as ‘inclusive’, it is worth bearing in mind that the Western version of inclusive education may be rather irrelevant in many other parts of the world. Presentation deals with our ongoing international comparative research project on inclusive education in Mainland China, Finland and South Africa. The main purpose of this project is to produce new knowledge on how the development of inclusive education looks from a teachers’ perspective. The analysis of the research data from respective countries will be based on the cultural-historical framework suggested by Artilles & Dyson (2005) The main research themes of this project are:
-Teachers’ sentiments, attitudes and concerns related to inclusive education
-Teachers’ conceptualisations of inclusive education e.g. the focus groups of inclusion -Comparison of inclusive education context in China Mainland, Finland, South Africa. The focus is on the school- and classroom level i.e. in the everyday reality of the inclusive education teacher. -The change of teacher’s perceptions on inclusive education and factors (personal, practical, contextual) explaining the changes. Reference: Artiles, A., & Dyson, A. (2005) Inclusive education in the globalization age. The promise of comparative cultural-historical analysis. In David Mitchell (Ed.) Contextualizing Inclusive Education (pp. 37–62). Oxfordshire: Routledge.


Keywords: Inclusive Education, Comparative Research, International, China, South Africa, Finland
Stream: Equity, Social Justice and Social Change
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Olli-Pekka Malinen

PhD Candidate, Department of Special Education, University of Eastern Finland
Joensuu, Finland

I am a 28-year-old PhD candidate from Finland. I gained my masters’ degree in 2007 from the University of Jyväskylä Special education as my major subject. After the MA graduation I worked as an elementary school teacher before starting as a full-time PhD cadidate in August 2009. My PhD project is part of wider research project on inclusive education in China Mainland, Finland and South Africa. In this broader project - since fluent in Mandarin Chinese - I am mainly involved with the research and data collection done in China.

Prof. Hannu Savolainen

Professor, Department of Special Education
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Eastern Finland

Joensuu, Finland


Ref: L10P0582