Publication details

Situation Analysis: Making Visible Internal Competition Mechanisms



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description The emphasis on competition and underestimation of cooperation is not a consequence of individual decisions but rathera systemic matter. This fact is valid for the educational policies of all countries. Our three-year research of three schools that are successful in inclusion has shown that suppressing competition is extremely challenging. In order to do this, schools have to expend an enormous amount of organizational and teaching energy. Their success is fragile and can be easily reversed. (Šíp et al. 2022) These findings have led us back to a thorough analysis of the current knowledge on inclusion and of socio-historical circumstances that have caused the emergence of educational policies in Europe and elsewhere. Our analysis of 56 research studies on inclusion and related documents has shown that deeper common causes lie beneath the surface of many problems (Šíp et al., 2022; Černý, Kurowski, Trapl, 2022). All education systems face the problem of a clash of normatives that caused the failure of inclusion (Ballard, 1999; Danforth, 2015; Slee, 2011) as well as the existence of the SEN industry phenomenon (Tomlinson, 2017). We also illustrate this by the example of the inclusive legislation introduction in Czech schools (Denglerová et al., 2022). A socio-historical analysis of the emergence of compulsory education (Foucualt, 1995, Green, 2013, Ramirez & Boli, 1987) explains that this traditional normative system arose as a result of the needs of early modern nation-states and then, due to its success, it has spread from Europe to the rest of the world. These outdated origins cause the above-mentioned normative conflicts in the contemporary world. The norm system is molded by organizational forms that determine the crucial functioning of schools. The majority of reforms leave this core unchanged. The most important of the forms are: 1) Disciplinary order of subjects (languages, history, math, physics, chemistry…). 2) Normalized subjects content, defined by the time by which mastery is required. These norms do not take into account the uniqueness of the ontogenetic development of the individuals nor their socially determined differences. This inherent system acts as a homogenization machine and competition is one of its central tools. Whether we want to promote inclusion or not, whether we strive for education for all or not, this internal order thwarts all our efforts and puts externally set norms above natural growth, and competition above cooperation. This is the reason why inclusion is often failing, why the results of inclusive schools are fragile, and why meeting norms is more important than the educational growth of individuals. As part of this symposium, we would also like to show the situation of three specific pro-inclusive schools from the Czech Republic, that overcame the constraints imposed by norms and significantly suppressed competitive strategies within their institution and compare it with the results of research across different countries, such as Finland (Lakkala, 2019) and Slovakia.

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