Bjørn Christiansens minneforelesning 2019, Parlo Singh: Radical Inclusion Research in/with Schools Serving High Poverty Communities
Inclusion is a buzzword not only in education, but also in health and social welfare policies and institutional practices across the globe, including Norway and Australia.
Over the past three decades, the term inclusion has signified a shift in policies and practices away from deficit orientations of identity (student, patient) to valuing difference and diversity (racialized, gendered, special needs, sexual orientation). In this paper, I discuss research work and practices in schools oriented towards ‘radical’ inclusion. Increasingly schools have become sites of inter-disciplinary research and professional practices between educators, clinicians, and health and welfare workers. The phrase ‘radical inclusion’ signifies something more than the phrase inclusion, where the latter equates to tolerating rather than fully recognising the complexity of difference and diversity in schools serving high poverty communities. What if the ‘norm’ or ‘normal’ in the category school student, includes students experiencing complex trauma and associated high levels of anxieties, and act this out in various ways such as elective muteness, having melt-downs, lashing out, and messing-up tidy rooms?
In this paper, I talk about several research projects involving collaborations between researchers (sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists) and practitioners (educators, health and social welfare professionals), in schools serving high poverty communities in Australia. I elaborate on the work undertaken in co-designing curriculum and pedagogy, as well as other innovations to achieve radical inclusion. Our definition of radical inclusion builds on the work of scholars questioning: (1) the purposes of education and (2) pedagogic rights and democracy.