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Title: Inclusive education in Chinese primary schools : a critical realist analysis
Author: Qu, Xiao
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 3832
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This qualitative study critically examines the exclusion and inclusion of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities in Chinese primary schools. The settings are four mainstream schools and two special schools in one large city in East Coast China. The research investigates how 37 mainstream school teachers view and practise exclusion and/or inclusion. Underlying influences are examined, taking into account the contexts of the local schools, the education systems, and broader Chinese society. The study aims to offer a deeply contextualised understanding of inclusive education in China, beyond its current practice and national policy of 'Learning in Regular Classrooms'. Informed by critical realism, the thesis analyses inclusion on the four planes of social being: bodies in material relations with nature, interpersonal relations, social structures and inner being. The thesis illustrates the importance of analysing inclusive education critically, holistically, and coherently at all four planes of social being. Disability and inclusion are understood through the critical realist concept of stratified ontology: the Empirical, the Actual and the Real. The intention is to reconcile conflicts between the medical and the social models of disability and to move the inclusion debates forward, in China and elsewhere. The analysis aims to uncover the real forces behind educational inclusion and exclusion in Chinese schools. Confucianism is not often associated with inclusion, but the possibility of Confucianism, rather than human rights, offering practical advocacy for inclusion is explored. Also highlighted is the crucial need for teachers to believe in inclusion and see it as benefiting all children. The internalised values and motives can be powerful drives for inclusion despite structural barriers and practical difficulties. The thesis explores the restructuring of values, caring for inner wellbeing, and building relationships as approaches to enable real transformation in schools and society towards greater inclusion.
Supervisor: Alderson, P. ; D'Souza, P. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available