The Importance of Teacher Education for an Inclusive School in Europe
How can student teachers be prepared for an inclusive school? This was the dominating question discussed and explored when the School of Education and Behavioural Sciences was visited by ten member countries of the project, ’Teacher Education for Inclusion’.
- Sweden has always been a pioneer when it comes to working for the inclusive school, Amanda Watkins says, project leader at the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education.
During three days, 16 project members from ten European countries had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Swedish school system and discuss inclusion in school together with teacher educators at the School of Education and Behavioural Sciences.
- Sweden was chosen for one of five study visits since we wanted to meet with teacher educators. The Swedish example is the University College of Borås. Professor Bengt Persson and his project-colleagues are experts of high standing in Europe, Amanda Watkins says.
A School for Everyone
She is impressed by how the teacher education at the University of Borås and in Sweden generally is adjusted so that all students learn how to work with children with special needs.
- More and more European countries have started to work towards the concept of a school for everyone. This means it is necessary to make changes throughout the whole school system. If the starting-point is that school should be inclusive, for that you need teachers who embrace the idea of an inclusive school. Of course, this has implications for teacher education.
- It is the teacher educators who must prepare their students to be inclusive in their future work. This is what the European Agency project is about.
This present work will result in extensive documentation with suggestions of how teacher education in Europe can work to create an inclusive system. The project will finish at the end of 2011.
For more information about the project.
Text and photo: Therese Rosenblad