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A systematic review of whole class, subject-based pedagogies with reported outcomes for the academic and social inclusion of pupils with special educational needs

Who wants to know?

Developing teaching approaches that work within mainstream classes and enable social and academic inclusion is a key issue for classroom teachers and those involved in initial teacher training.  Professionals, policymakers, parents and pupils will also benefit from an understanding of these pedagogies.

What did we find?

Effective subject based, whole class, pedagogy is mediated by a teacher who is part of a ‘pedagogic community’. The teacher’s pedagogical practice is supported by this community with a shared model of how children learn. Therefore the teacher has an understanding not only of how to teach a curriculum subject, but also an understanding of why they are using this approach.

The pedagogy gives importance to the social engagement of learners and includes activities in which social interaction is seen as the means through which student knowledge is developed.

The learning activities incorporate different modalities, making the subject knowledge accessible to a diverse range of learners.

The development of the learner’s understanding occurs through the planned scaffolding of the subject’s content. In doing this, the teacher uses activities which the learner finds meaningful and which represent the subject area in a way that is valued by the wider pedagogic community.

How did we get these results?

The review question was:

What is the nature of whole class, subject-specific pedagogies, which has reported outcomes for the academic and/or social inclusion of children with special educational needs?

The in-depth review synthesised the results of 11 studies published since 1994.

What are the implications?

Whole class, subject-specific pedagogies that can include pupils with special educational needs cannot be reduced to simplistic formulae. Teachers need opportunities to learn and reflect on their practice and develop subject-specific pedagogies, which develop pupils’ social engagement across a range of scaffolded activities. Policymakers should act to support the development of this reflection in early training and its continuation throughout an individual’s teaching career. 

The EPPI-Centre reference number for this report is 1701T.

This report should be cited as:

Sheehy K, Rix J (2009) A systematic review of whole class, subject-based pedagogies with reported outcomes for the academic and social inclusion of pupils with special educational needs. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

  
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