The Search for Successful Inclusion

Peter Ingemar Karlsudd


Purpose: This study primarily aimed to find the factors which can facilitate or, alternatively, hinder inclusion efforts.

Method: Results from a number of student theses, which dealt with common issues in the area of inclusion of pupils with special needs, were brought together systematically. The method has been called area-delimited meta-study, where increased validity and generalisability are expected to strengthen development at the schools where the thesis work is carried out. A total of 18 thesis projects with a representation of 24 classrooms were included. The results of these projects have been categorised with the help of two models, positive and negative labelling, as well as inner and outer inclusion capital.

Results: The respondents in the various studies were quite positive towards inclusion. The teachers stated that inclusion offers a range of possibilities even if problems often occur during implementation. For efforts to succeed, personnel should internalise the values intrinsic to inclusion. Staff knowledge, perception and empathy are examples of the inner inclusion capital necessary to achieve the goal of inclusion. Courage, self-confidence and self-awareness are additional factors that are essential for success. Outer inclusion capital such as clear leadership and effective teamwork are conditions that promote inclusion.

Conclusion: Based on the results, it would be logical to invest in the positive labelling factors that are identified and at the same time work towards minimising the negative factors. The work can be further developed with area-delimited meta-studies, and future thesis projects could be initiated with a structure that is more participatory and action-oriented.

Limitations: One problem in evaluating the circumstances around inclusion is that the respondents' interpretation of the definition of the word inclusion may vary. Even the experience of how inclusion works can differ between the teachers involved in the study. Despite these difficulties, the overall results provide a robust picture of the problems and opportunities that fit within the area. Differences in teacher interpretation could also be an important element for the research.


Inclusion; integration; positive and negative labelling; inclusion capital; pupils in need of special support

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