The importance of being ... an artist : interpreting the challenge of inclusion in infant mainstream education : a self-study, action research approach
This thesis represents a self study inquiry into my work as coordinator and individual support
teacherf or speciale ducationaln eeds [SEN] in mainstreamin fant schoolingi n the south east of
England, 1995-2000. It examines this role in terms of identity, action and meaning, with particular
regard to the 'significant others' - those pupils with whom my work Is most directly concerned -
and how I have striven to develop my practice towards their inclusion in this setting.
I locatet he self studyw ithin a predominantlyp ostmodernu nderstandingo f time and space. I
problematiset he conceptso f both SEN and inclusion,s ituatingt hese In historicala nd political
relationsw ith traditionall iberalI ndividualisat nd present-daym arkete conomicd iscourses.
The representationaflo rm used is narrativee nquiry - storiesw ithina story - but witha strong
emphasiso n the metaphoricp ossibilitieso f visual Imagerya s a meanst owards` thinkingo therwise'
and 'doing differently' in response to the dominant practices of SEN. These, I argue, tend towards
objectifyinga nd commodifyingle arners;m oreovert heir manifestationa s technicalr ational
responses to pupil problems serves to distract attention from the more vital Issue of restricted
professionalityIn Infant education,i n particulart he loss of curriculara utonomyb y botht eachers
Through the narration of my personal experiences and their reception by critical friends in a variety
of settings, I seek to draw connections between the sell, the social and the poetical. I propose that
the 'empty space', 'case story' and 'social stage' methods developed here offer powerful means
towards an alternative pedagogy; one which seeks community and care for eel and others,
valorisesm emory,I maginationa nd the desire of creativityi n teachinga nd learningb ut which,
following Lather (1999), also reirarnes educational research as'a way of being at risk'.