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Seeing sense: the effectiveness of inclusive education for visually impaired students in Further Education.

Morris, Ceri 2014. Seeing sense: the effectiveness of inclusive education for visually impaired students in Further Education. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore how visually impaired students’ learning journeys in educational environments vary by individual characteristics and prior experiences, and by the type and nature of the institution they attend. In particular the study aimed to uncover how both barriers to learning and good practice are understood, in relation to the enactment of inclusive education policies. Disability is formulated and enacted in the intersection between the individual, their impairment and psycho-emotional status, and the social context (Thomas 1999). For visually impaired students in further education settings, biographical experiences, impairments, and encounters with education all have an impact on their ability to access learning, to achieve educationally, and to formulate their sense of self and identity. The thesis draws on ethnographic fieldwork conducted across three further education colleges, with six visually impaired Welsh students aged 16-25. Data were generated through interviews with student participants, staff members and peers, observation, and documentary analysis. Findings suggested that inclusion is only successful if tutors provide valid learning opportunities for visually impaired students. Access to information and other learning opportunities such as demonstrations, practical tasks, and physical activity may be compromised by inappropriate teaching and support methods. Access is also significantly affected by the nature of the visual impairment, the modes of information retrieval, and students’ attitudes and skills. The emphasis on the practical in further education settings makes this analysis particularly significant. Detailed specialist knowledge of appropriate teaching techniques and organisational considerations exists, but is located in the main in a very small number of specialist colleges across the UK. Analysis also identified two competing ideologies; commitment to the provision of inclusive mainstream learning environments as part of an inclusive society, or commitment to the provision of appropriate teaching in a specialist institution, to facilitate future inclusion in society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 02:28
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/69396

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