Defining inclusive education in India through the perspectives of educators
Srikantha, Dhurka Janani
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This project investigates how policies and teaching practices in India affect educators’ definitions of inclusive education. Eight educators from private schools in India participated in open, semi-structured interviews to examine their understandings of equity and inclusion policies, the practices that facilitate inclusive education, the barriers that influence effective practices, and reflections on professional development. The teachers’ experiences and perspectives, through interviews, revealed their practices of inclusive education. The research analysis employs two theoretical frameworks: UNESCO’s Dakar Framework for Action; and Banks’ (1993) five dimensions of inclusive education. The findings indicate that the educators articulate early stages of the implementation of inclusive education in India. They understand the need to address existing prejudices, to differentiate learning, and to offer student-centered learning. The findings highlight that an empowering environment needs to be built to address stereotypes that exist within the school community and the society. Additionally, there is a need for community among schools of diverse backgrounds so that educators can continue to participate in professional development through mentorship and reflection.