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Creating Inclusive Education: from the Perspectives of Children, Parents, Teachers and Others

A human rights based approach to education

At a glance


Inclusive schools teach children skills to engage with each other and do things together in classrooms, playgrounds, and other places, disregarding differences in abilities, gender, race, class, and language. Education is contextualised within local systems, varying across socio-historical and cultural settings. Efforts to promote inclusive education increasingly focus on children in their social context at school, with growing awareness that inclusive education needs to be human rights-based. However, research to date has predominantly canvassed teachers’ perspectives and focused on academic outcomes, excluding broader concerns of doings together, experiencing participation and subsequently, social inclusion.

The guiding research question is: From an occupational perspective, how is inclusive education enacted in mainstream schools? The philosophical underpinning of the study is John Dewey’s pragmatist work on experience, education and democracy, and understanding that education comes primarily through social interaction. He describes the nature of truth as a belief being true following investigational inquiry, wherein different situations may reveal different truths. A scoping review of international research encompassing social, health and educational standpoints on inclusive education, experiences and views, of children, teachers, other staff, and parents will be analysed applying reflective thematic analysis. On a local level, Stake case study research will be conducted at two Swiss primary schools. Interactions and views of children, teachers, other staff, and parents in a specific context shaped by the school environment, culture, politics and attitudes will be studied. Cases will be analysed individually and comparatively using an interpretive approach. Findings may reveal a more holistic understanding of social interaction, inclusion and doing things together at school, indicating how children’s and adults’ views on inclusive education can be respected and actioned in practice, policy and society. Bringing an occupational perspective, underpinned by human rights, to inclusive education can contribute to educating for diversity, building inclusive societies for the future.