The affordances of place: implications of ecological psychology for inclusive education

PhD Thesis


Finn, Roxanne. 2015. The affordances of place: implications of ecological psychology for inclusive education. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

The affordances of place: implications of ecological psychology for inclusive education

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorFinn, Roxanne
SupervisorHickey, Andrew (USQ)
Phillips, Louise (QU)
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages293
Year2015
Abstract

A major challenge for places where schooling has become deeply entrenched as a way of life is to ensure that all children experience educational success. The necessity of schooling to account for diversity confluent with the impossibility of educational change, construes this ideal of ‘inclusive education’ as a necessary impossibility. Under increasing constraints of a so called ‘audit culture’ impacting the conditions for learning and teaching, coupled with the inherent exclusivity of a monomorphic model, reproducing injustice has become the norm. This thesis tackles an examination of the tensions between inclusivity, as part of a wider social justice movement for school reform, and the monomorphic project of schooling driven by
neo-liberal directives in a globalised economy. As a critical ethnographic inquiry, it is positioned at the grassroots, detailing how these tensions play out behaviourally at the microcosmic level, in the context of one small school as its inhabitants encounter
an innovation for inclusive education. Additionally, the dynamics are encountered with the personal investment of the researcher as a parent at the site, proffering a
voice not often expressed in educational research.

Educational success or competence is rarely understood as the synergism of person and environment. This research embraces an ecological psychological stance so that the analysis assumes organism-environment mutuality. I proffer that such an analysis transcends the deficit rationality that dominates the discourse of schooling and provides direction for the future of educational provisions that are more inherently inclusive. The research evidences how spatio-temporal qualities of slowness and spontaneity, and relational qualities constituting helpfulness, more
typical of learning outside of school in families and communities, may be significant to increasing the educational success of more children. A case is thus made to bring a focus to the affordances of place for learning, particularly, the significance of the proximity of family and community in children’s education and of student initiated activity in the ways pedagogy is organised for learning. The engagement of parents and community at local levels, and in pedagogical ways, may begin to unwind this
reproduction of injustice by re-introducing relational and spatio-temporal qualities that support the common characteristics of learners. In this way, educational success for all children may not be necessarily impossible.

Keywordsinclusive education; educational success; ecological psychology; alternative education; learning environments; parent and community engagement in schools; personalising learning; student-centred learning; transformative learning
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520102. Educational psychology
390409. Learning sciences
390411. Special education and disability
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
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Related outputs

Opening up your classroom to a community of conversations
Finn, Roxanne. 2015. "Opening up your classroom to a community of conversations." Practically Primary. 20 (1), pp. 7-9.
Designing for diversity: a case study exploring implications of ecological psychology for inclusion
Finn, Roxanne. 2013. "Designing for diversity: a case study exploring implications of ecological psychology for inclusion." International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities. 19 (2), pp. 45-58. https://doi.org/10.18848/2327-0128/cgp/v19i02/48531