You are on page 1of 16

International Journal of Inclusive Education

ISSN: 1360-3116 (Print) 1464-5173 (Online) Journal homepage:

Mapping inclusive education within the discipline

of Pedagogy. Comparative analysis of new study
programmes in Slovenia

Irena Lesar

To cite this article: Irena Lesar (2017): Mapping inclusive education within the discipline of
Pedagogy. Comparative analysis of new study programmes in Slovenia, International Journal of
Inclusive Education, DOI: 10.1080/13603116.2017.1402376

To link to this article:

Published online: 15 Nov 2017.

Submit your article to this journal

Article views: 33

View related articles

View Crossmark data

Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at

Download by: [University of Florida] Date: 20 November 2017, At: 06:32


Mapping inclusive education within the discipline of

Pedagogy. Comparative analysis of new study programmes in
Irena Lesar
Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia


In the research in the field of inclusiveness it is often neglected how Received 10 March 2017
inclusiveness is constructed differently within the so-called Anglo- Accepted 5 November 2017
American and continental educational contexts. In Slovenia, the
field of educational studies has historically developed within the Inclusive education; Anglo-
continental, particularly German tradition, as a discipline called American educational
Pedagogy at the Faculty of Arts. Since Pedagogy is fundamentally context; continental
theorising the processes of becoming a free human being and educational context; psycho-
does not take a particular interest in the issues of vulnerable medical paradigm; social
social groups, a complementary area of tertiary study emerged in paradigm; humanistic
today’s Faculty of Education (e.g. Special needs Pedagogy). paradigm
However, recently we can identify a trend of emerging new study
programmes, the so-called inclusive education. Because of this
separation between scientific fields, this paper is dealing with a
question of which of the disciplines is offering a more convincing
answers to the question of how to conceptualise and implement
the inclusiveness. Using qualitative analyses of the concept of
inclusiveness and content analyses of Slovenian study
programmes and courses related to inclusive education, we
attempt to show that discipline of Pedagogy provides a
conceptualising of inclusiveness that is more complex through
successfully interweaving the humanistic and social paradigm.

Slovenia is one among 91 other countries a signatory to the Salamanca Statement
(UNESCO 1994), which means that as a country it is morally committed to facilitating
inclusiveness in education. This fact is encouraging, however, the approach is a challenge
of its particular system. Without any doubt, the issues arise from the very construction of
the field of inclusive education. In this process, we may rely on different scientific disci-
plines and paradigms and we need to consider the specifics of each society, its values
and the existing school system. The issues of conceptual diversity applies not only to
the international sphere (e.g. Anglo-American and continental construction of edu-
cational processes; see Biesta 2011) but also within individual countries (Hardy and
Woodcock 2015) and contributes to the fact that the concrete (systemic, institutional,
directly pedagogical) solutions are very different, sometimes even contradictory.

CONTACT Irena Lesar

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

In the Anglo-American construction, the field of educational studies has primarily been
developed in the context of teacher education which was mainly practice based (dealing
with effective teaching methods, disciplining, etc. in order to give students the best possible
learning outcomes). In the continental construction the field of education was not expli-
citly or exclusively focused on the questions of teaching and school education but had a
much wider and fundamental aim which was first and foremost to establish grounds
and arguments for the process of becoming human (Biesta 2011, 188–189). The study
of education in Anglo-American construction is an inter- or multidisciplinary study of
the ‘phenomenon’ of education and educational theory ‘is not itself an autonomous
“form” of knowledge or an autonomous discipline’ (182). In the continental construction
educational theorising
does not start from ‘other’ disciplines and their perspectives on education, but is established
as a science in its own right, a field which both involves an engagement with the question of
the definition(s) of Erziehung and with theorising it through a focus on aims, processes and
object. (184)

In the German tradition (and in Slovenian accordingly) (at least) two different words are
used to refer to the object of study – ‘Erziehung’ (vzgoja) and ‘Bildung’ (izobraževanje) –
and (at least) two different concepts to refer to the study of Erziehung and Bildung –
namely ‘Pädagogik’ (pedagogika) and ‘Didaktik’ (didaktika). Although Erziehung and
Bildung or vzgoja and izobraževanje are not entirely separate concepts, they do represent
different aspects of and approaches to educational processes and practices (183).
Pedagogy in Slovenia is considered an independent scientific discipline since nearly 100
years ago (in 1919, the first Slovenian university was established and one of the constituent
chairs was that of Pedagogy at the Faculty of Arts) and relied heavily on the German tra-
dition, which is closer to the continental construction. Pedagogy examines how different
factors, especially the relationship between adults and children, the curriculum and the
community of peers (Peček and Lesar 2011) influence the processes of emancipation, qua-
lification and socialisation (Biesta 2011, 2014). Therefore, the assertion made in certain
scientific papers in English that ‘there can be no teaching without pedagogy or pedagogy
without teaching’ (Alexander 2001, 513) is deemed too narrow by Slovenian academic
pedagogues, as this assertion only highlights the teaching/learning process, failing to
include other aspects of personality formation. Since Pedagogy did not particularly deal
much with finding solutions to practical problems of teachers and schools (like learning
advancement of students with learning difficulties, behaviourally problems of students
with different (dis)abilities, etc.), it is understandable that after World War II this area
has become a study subject of Special needs Pedagogy at today’s Faculty of Education, Uni-
versity of Ljubljana. Because of this separation between scientific fields, we are wondering
which of the disciplines (Pedagogy vs. Special needs Pedagogy) is offering more convin-
cing answers to the question of how to conceptualise and implement the inclusiveness.
At this point, it is important to state that I consider myself a pedagogue close to the con-
tinental tradition.
Considering the fact that at the national level in Slovenia the concept of inclusiveness
has not yet been defined,1 this paper starts with outlines of the authors understanding.
Next, the construction of the field of inclusive education is presented. Further on we
present a comparative research of the existing study programmes of three public

universities, (still) paid from public funds. We address the following questions. Should a
conceptualisation of inclusiveness rely more on Pedagogy or Special needs Pedagogy?
Which of diverse educational studies fields in Slovenia offers better grounds for concep-
tualisation of inclusiveness and accordingly for newly created study programmes of inclus-
ive education?

Understanding of inclusiveness in this paper

The Salamanca statement (UNESCO 1994) clearly addresses the signatory countries to
reform mostly the existing mainstream schools (and consequently the specialised ones)
in order to ensure that all students together with peers can exercise their right to basic edu-
cation and that schools would be more willing and able to constructively react to the diver-
sity of their students. Unfortunately, the document includes some rather ambiguous
wording or phrases. Such an example is certainly the term children with special education
needs – hereafter referred to as SEN, which is clarified in continuation. This group does
not only include those who have been identified already in the concept of integration,
but all the students who differ from the majority according to a decisive factor regarding
their education (e.g. poverty, language, family way of life, etc.). Discourse of needs and
focus on the specificity of each individual child implies an individualistic or essentialist
perspective (Slee 1998) and often ignores the social conditionality of obstacles and in
this sense it only narrows the search for solutions to the individual. A different definition
and the name of the target population in the Salamanca Statement should in my opinion
certainly contribute significantly to the fact that the concept of inclusiveness as a rule does
not pertain only to the SEN population (Messiou 2017) and in this sense to the process of
integration in the mainstream schools. The key feature of the idea of inclusion is ongoing
examination of all pedagogical processes in the light of inclusion/exclusion of every child
and his/her subsequent learning, social and personal development (Lesar 2007). The ques-
tions arising from comparing integration and inclusiveness (e.g. particular groups of the
SEN student vs. all students and their experience of respectful coexistence in a hetero-
geneous society, various discourses [see Fulcher 1989] applied to one or another), are sec-
ondary to inclusiveness.
In the Salamanca Statement, we can recognise quite clearly the focus of the solutions on
teaching, while forgetting the processes of socialisation and subjectification if we refer to
the Biesta’s (2010a) definition of the educational objectives. Based on further directions to
the mainstream schools we can conclude that ‘the adaptation of teaching’ brings the whole
range of possible applications to practice. However, we have no assurance that these
adjustments, although implemented in mainstream classes, will contribute to a sense of
inclusion and belonging to the learning community. In order to implement inclusiveness
in practice, it is necessary to ascertain on a case-per-case basis in what ways the curricu-
lum, the teaching, the classroom and school climate, the methods of establishing and
maintaining discipline and punishment can be exclusive for a specific student (Lesar
Schools that are committed to inclusiveness are much less interested in the detailed and
expert diagnosis of the child (psycho-medical paradigm) and found a more important
inquiry to be the social construction of barriers to learning and participation depending
on the dynamics of social interactions (social paradigm) and organisation (organisational

paradigm) (Skidmore 2004). When schools attempt to evaluate their actions towards
inclusiveness, they should ask questions in all three educational objectives:

. qualification in the sense of acquiring quality knowledge and relevant skills,

. socialisation in terms of facilitating a fair and respectful atmosphere in the community
to which all the students feel they belong and
. subjectification in terms of promoting a comprehensive development which will allow
emancipation (Biesta 2010a).

In such a conception of inclusiveness, not only the aspect of the learning progression
and academic achievements are relevant, but also the aspect of social inclusion and feelings
of acceptance as well as respect in particular for socially marginalised students. Beside the
impact of the learning content and teaching methods we should include in the analysis
also the teachers’ attitude (responsibility for each student, willingness to cooperate and
the respective adjustment of pedagogical work), atmosphere in the classroom, culture of
the institution and methods of management. Namely, as shown in the meta-analysis
(Dyson, Howes, and Roberts 2004) these are the most important factors that contribute
significantly to a greater degree of inclusiveness.
As we have already proved in other analyses (Lesar 2013a, 2013b), the justice of the
school system which tries to implement inclusiveness should be based on the concept of
the 3Rs (Lynch and Lodge 2002). In other words, we should draw attention not only to
the redestribution of the goods to the marginalised students, but also to the recognition of
the marginalised groups in curricula, in everyday conversation etc., and to the represen-
tation which means possibilities of participation of all stakeholders in school life.
Overall, we need to keep in mind that inclusiveness means an experience of coexistence
in a diverse society of all its members and we never cease to work against prejudice and
other obstacles.
Because the process of becoming human and developing the ability of respectful coex-
istence in a heterogeneous society are also important goals of implementing inclusiveness,
it would be more constructive if, in the conceptualisation of inclusiveness, we learned
more on the continental construction of the field of education.

Pedagogy and special needs Pedagogy in Slovenia – development and

their features
The fundamental concept in Slovenian Pedagogy, which covers the formation of the indi-
vidual, is that of vzgoja. The term has no English equivalent, but it has parallels as Erzie-
hung in German, oppdragelse in Norwegian, vospitanie in Russian, vaspitanje in Serbian,
and odgoj in Croatian. Izobraževanje is the second key pedagogical concept, usually trans-
lated into English as education.2 In brief, vzgoja in contemporary Slovenian pedagogy is
defined as a concept that describes an intentional process aiming towards becoming a
free human being through developing of the whole child, his or her physical, emotional,
social, moral and cognitive development. While in the process of izobraževanje students
develop their cognitive and psychomotor abilities and gain knowledge. However, these
concepts also influence pedagogic practices, from preschool to upper secondary school set-
tings in Slovenia, since the (pre)school is still understood as a pedagogical institution. In

Slovenian public (pre)schools formal curriculum formulates purpose, aims and goals
related to vzgoja and izobraževanje. Both together form a pedagogical process and are
Pedagogy focuses on the study of the relationship between pedagogical action and its
effects. This process has to be value based (Biesta 2010b), which clearly positions Pedagogy
in the humanistic and social paradigm of science (Lesar and Skubic Ermenc 2017; Medveš
2015). It is therefore Pedagogy’s main task to conceptualise vzgoja (the aim or purpose,
because it is a teleological practice) (Biesta 2010b, 500) and develop such a theory that
will help teachers and other pedagogues3 decide how to act. However, it should not
give them ready-made solutions but offer them tools to enable them to reflect on the ped-
agogical situations in which they are involved, then to base their decisions on their reflec-
tions (Kroflič 2007; Peček and Lesar 2011; Medveš 2011).
Pedagogy was historically grounded in the enlightenment understanding of human
beings and was focusing on its universal features. In this sense, Pedagogy did not particu-
larly deal with diversity, namely special needs students or other marginalised groups of
students. Pedagogy was not able or prepared to respond to growing recognition of the
special needs of particular groups of student. Consequently, in 1947 a new study pro-
gramme was created at today’s Faculty of Education based on the psycho-medical para-
digm named Defectology.4 It was renamed in 1963 to Special needs Pedagogy5 and
then back again to Defectology6 in 1987 (Janša Zorn 1997, 11–13). In the first period
(1947–1963), an obvious dominance of special teaching methods courses was present in
the study programmes to the detriment of general-pedagogical ones. At the beginning,
the relation between special-methodical and pedagogical content was 3:1, and later in
the 80s it was 2:1 (23). The main assumptions on which they formed some organisational
(separate classes and separate schools as well) and didactic solutions (adapted teaching
methods in relation to psychological and/or medical specifics of children) were:

. the process of learning of some students is so specific that a different, specifically

adapted (and sometimes physically separated) teaching should be provided to them and
. the most effective learning takes place only in homogeneous groups of students, there-
fore the diversity of any developmental field (cognitive, emotional, social, physical,
speech capability) is a serious obstacle in the process of teaching and learning.

Following the Bologna process at the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana,

these beliefs led to several separate courses focusing on the development of special teach-
ing methods for specific groups of SEN children: Special and Rehabilitation Pedagogy,
Visually Impaired Education and the Pedagogy of specific Learning Difficulties, Speech
and Language Therapy. At other Slovenian public universities, such courses are not avail-
able, but they launched courses on inclusive education a few years ago.
Another course existed at the Faculty of Education in Ljubljana for the entire period of
its existence. At the beginning (1947) it was called Pedagogue in juvenile institutions, then
(1968), renamed into Pedagogue in boarding schools and other institutions and in the
1980s again renamed into Residential pedagogue – special pedagogue (defectologist) for
children and adolescents with behavioural and personality disorders (Janša Zorn 1997,
10–25). Meanwhile, also in the Department of Pedagogy of the Faculty of Arts, a course
of Pedagogy in boarding schools and other juvenile institutions was available. These

two courses, at the Faculty of Arts and at the Faculty of Education, following the example
of some European universities, were in 1987 merged into a new field of study, called Social
Pedagogy (51).
Social Pedagogy was turned away from a psycho-medical paradigm and is grounded in
a social paradigm. It focuses on vulnerable social groups, their emotional and behavioural
difficulties and includes broad topics such as homelessness, juvenile justice and work with
dropped out students etc. Social Pedagogy began to develop this area intensively. Because
of these paradigmatic characteristics, we can say that the study of Social Pedagogy is closer
to Pedagogy than to Special needs Pedagogy.
From the description of the features and the development of scientific disciplines of
Pedagogy, Special needs Pedagogy and Social Pedagogy, we can conclude it is Pedagogy
(and Social Pedagogy) that allow us to follow more consistently the concept of inclusive-
ness presented above. Since these disciplines are based on the humanistic and social para-
digm, they strengthen the effects of pedagogical processes on socialisation and
subjectification (or vzgoja) beyond focusing on the quality of teaching that leads to qua-
lification (or izobraževanje).
Some studies (Ainscow 1995; Dyson, Howes, and Roberts 2004; Schaffner and Buswell
2004; Skrtic, Sailor, and Gee 2004) show that in the realisation of inclusiveness, the culture
of institution has the most important role (the values of the management and pedagogical
staff) which is reflected both in management as well as in the pedagogical practices. This
means that even a good special-methodical competence can be counterproductive, as long
as the teachers do not present values and attitudes that promote inclusive practice. It
requires the implementation of ethical dimensions (inclusive values: fundamental
respect for every human being, responsibility, solidarity, cooperation, justice) as a basis
for practical pedagogical work (Messiou 2017). The most fundamental assumptions that
support the idea of inclusion are therefore primarily rooted in the content and approaches
of Pedagogy (Lesar 2007) in other words, the continental tradition offers a more complex
conceptualisation of inclusive education.

Research problem
In the empirical part, we are addressing the question of which of the disciplines (Pedagogy
or Special needs Pedagogy) is more prominent in newly created Master’s courses (second
cycle) on inclusive education from three Slovenian public universities.7 These courses are
primarily aiming at educating future counsellors, and all three public universities are offer-
ing courses for in-service education of experienced teachers and counsellors. The common
features of these new courses are that they all lead to the same job profile (the so-called
inclusive pedagogue). The graduates of these courses can be employed in the (pre)school
counselling service of which the key role is described:
to take an active part, through counselling and in a professionally autonomous way, in
addressing complex pedagogical, psychological and social questions related to pedagogical
work in the kindergarten or school, by helping and collaborating with all of the participants
in the kindergarten or school, and, if necessary, with other appropriate institutions. (Čačino-
vič Vogrinčič 1999, 5)

Therefore, in the content analysis of the selected courses we will mainly observe:

. What is the extent of the emphasis on the identification of the inclusiveness conceptu-
alisation itself?
. Do they pay special attention to certain populations of children?
. What is the similarity or difference between the examined study courses?

By finding answers to these partial questions, we will try to determine whether they
learned more on Pedagogy or on Special needs Pedagogy in the conception of course,
and whether we can expect the implementation of the concept of inclusiveness in the
school system from the future inclusive pedagogues studying one of these three courses.

Method of research
Research is based on a content analysis of the subjects of the courses as well as the curri-
cula, where we used a mixed methods approach (Sándorová 2014). Firstly, we used a
directed approach for content analysis (Hsieh and Shannon 2005) which aims to validate
or extend conceptually a theoretical framework or theory. The existing theory or research
can help focus the research question. It can provide predictions about the variables of
interest or about the relationships among variables, thus helping to determine the
initial coding scheme or relationships between codes. Furthermore, we used quantitative
content analysis to quantify and analyse the presence, meanings and relationships of rel-
evant words and concepts, then made inferences about the messages within the texts.

Data analysis
Information on courses and curricula was acquired on the websites of the universities. In
the content analysis, we included the subjects of the compulsory part of the course and the
curriculum documents. Based on their names and descriptions, we first classified the sub-
jects into three categories (Pedagogy, Special needs Pedagogy, Concepts of Inclusiveness),
but later we had to add additional ones (Psychology, Research methodology and Practice).
In Pedagogy, we classified those subjects that are traditionally present in this scientific dis-
cipline, and due to the paradigmatic similarities explained above, also the subjects related
to the discipline of Social Pedagogy. In the category of Special needs Pedagogy, we classi-
fied those subjects that in any way (methodically or by exposing their specialties) focus on
individual groups of the SEN students. Subjects where the inclusive concepts or processes
are presented independently from individual marginalised groups of students were placed
in the category of Concepts of Inclusiveness.

If the courses are compared according to the established categories (see Table 1), we con-
clude that in the category of Pedagogy in all three courses only the subject about indivi-
dualisation occurs while other subjects are entirely incomparable. In the course at U1, we
found the subjects on the teachers’ professional development and the Theory of Education
(vzgoja). In the course at U2, we found one subject on school and community partnership.
In the course at U3, we found that in addition to a subject on counselling, much attention
is paid to the social pedagogical concepts, diagnostics in work strategies.
Table 1. Qualitative content analysis of compulsory curriculum – comparison between courses.
University University 1 – U1 University 2 – U2 University 3 – U3

Pedagogy Theory of Education (vzgoje) (5 ECTS) Partnership with parents and environment (6 ECTS) Counselling (6 ECTS)
Reflection in professional development of teachers (5 ECTS) Individualisation of education (6 ECTS) Individualized Education
Individualized education programme (5 ECTS) Programme (6 ECTS)
Social Pedagogy Concepts
(18 ECTS)
Social-Pedagogical Diagnostics and
Work Strategies (6 ECTS)
Special needs Pedagogy Methods for children with lower learning abilities and children Working methods for children with emotional and Basics of Special Education and
with learning disabilities (5 ECTS) behavioural disorders (6 ECTS) Rehabilitation (6 ECTS)
Additional professional help for children and youth with Working methods for deaf, partly deaf and persons with Learning and Teaching students
emotional and behavioural difficulties/disabilities (5 ECTS) oral and linguistic disorders (6 ECTS) with special needs (6 ECTS)
Strategies of work with visually impaired students (4 ECTS) Working methods for children with lower education Special-Pedagogical Diagnostics
Strategy of teaching pupils with hearing and language abilities and children with learning problems (6 ECTS) and Work Strategies (6 ECTS)
(speech) impairments (4 ECTS) Working methods for gifted and talented (6 ECTS)
Approaches to work with children and adolescents with Working methods for blind and persons with bad vision
developmental disorders and autistic spectrum disorders (4 (6 ECTS)
ECTS) Language of symbols (6 ECTS)
Child and adolescents mental health (5 ECTS) Vocational orientation and vocational education of
Inclusive classroom and children with learning disabilities (5 diverse children (6 ECTS)
Development of learning to learn competence in children with
special needs (5 ECTS)
Psychology Self-perception of students in inclusion (5 ECTS)
Concepts of Inclusiveness Inclusive school (5 ECTS) Social integration and forms of support (6 ECTS) Inclusive Education in a Global
Planning strategies for education process in inclusive Society (3/6 ECTS)
pedagogy (5 ECTS) Inclusive Orientation of School/
Kindergarten (3/6 ECTS)
Social and Educational Aspects of
Inclusion (6 ECTS)
Inclusive Professional Operation
(6 ECTS)
Another groups of Multiculturality and marginalised populations (3 ECTS)
marginalised population
Research Methodology Quantitative and qualitative research in inclusion (5 ECTS) Researching inclusion (6 ECTS) Educational Practice Research
Master seminar (3 ECTS) (6 ECTS)
Scientific Research Methodology
(3 ECTS)
Practice Practice (15 ECTS) Reflective practice, 3 weeks (6 ECTS) Practice (6 ECTS)

In the category of Special needs Pedagogy the courses at U1 and U2 stand out with
intense focus on the methodology of work with specific populations of SEN students.
While in the course at U3 two subjects highlight the characteristics of persons with
SEN in general, their specifics in teaching and learning and special-pedagogical diagnos-
tics and work strategies.
In the category of psychology, we could place only one subject at the U1 course (self-
perception of students in inclusion) while in the other two courses we could not recognise
any purely psychological subjects.
Most attention in the course at U3 is paid to the Concepts of Inclusiveness since the
students learn about inclusiveness in three subjects on three levels (social, institutional
and micro-pedagogical). In the course at U1, they study about inclusiveness at the insti-
tutional level and at the level of educational processes in two subjects. While in the
course at U2, they study about social integration and forms of support in one subject.
Among other marginalised groups of children in the course at U1 only immigrants and
foreigners are listed.
All three courses involve research methodologies and practice but to a different extent.
A more detailed analysis shows that in the course at U3 there is more practical training as
this is included in individual subjects throughout the study period.
All courses take 2 years (see Table 2) and require from the student to carry out the
requirements in the range of 120 ECTS. In the course at U1 due to lower credit evaluation,
there are more subjects (22) as in the other two (U2 – 12 or U3 – 14). The comparison
shows also that the master theses are in the compared courses very different credit
valued (U1 – 15 ECTS, U2 – 30 ECTS, U3 – 12 ECTS). However, the number of selected
subjects is the same, but they have different credit evaluation (U1 – 12 ECTS, U2 and

Table 2. Quantitative content analysis of compulsory curriculum – comparison between courses.

University University 1 – U1 University 2 – U2 University 3 – U3
Subjects n ECTS n ECTS n ECTS
The entire programme 22 120 16 120 18 120
Master thesis 1 15 1 30 1 12
Elective subjects 3 12 3 18 3 18
Compulsory subjects 18 93 12 72 14 90
Compulsory subjects/ n (No.) n (No.) n (No.)
category ECTS % ECTS % ECTS %
Pedagogy 3 2 4
15 16.1 12 16.8 36 39.9
Special needs Pedagogy 8 7 3
37 39.8 42 58.3 18 20.0
Psychology 1 / /
5 5.4 / / / /
Concepts of Inclusiveness 2 1 4
10 10.9 6 8.3 21 23.4
Groups of marginalised population 1 / /
3 3.1 / / / /

Research Methodology 2 1 2
8 8.6 6 8.3 9 10.0
Practice 1 1 1a
15 16.1 6 8.3 6 6.7
Total no. of subjects ECTS 18 100.0 12 100.0 14 100.0
93 72 90
Only the subject in the curriculum was taken into consideration, although in a more detailed analysis of the curriculum, we
see that practical contents are included in many subjects totalling 15 ECTS.

U3 – 18 ECTS), which also applies to the practical training (U1 – 15 ECTS, U2 and U3 – 6
The content analysis on the representation of individual scientific disciplines or key
topics shows that:

. In the course at U1 maximum attention is paid to Special needs Pedagogy since stu-
dents have 5 subjects where they learn about specific methods for SEN students (22
ECTS) and in 3 of them we find that inclusiveness refers only to the SEN population
(15 ECTS). Three subjects are from the discipline of Pedagogy (15 ECTS), 2 subjects
are intended for introducing the Concepts of Inclusiveness (10 ECTS) and 2 of them
are the Research Methodology (8 ECTS). Individual subjects that have very different
credit evaluation, have been classified in the field of Psychology (5 ECTS), Another
Group of Marginalised Population (3 ECTS) and Practice (15 ECTS).
. In the course at U2 even more attention is paid to Special needs Pedagogy, since stu-
dents learn about specific methods for the SEN population in 6 subjects (36 ECTS),
one subject is intended to be career guidance and further education of the SEN popu-
lation (6 ECTS). We could place only two subjects in the Pedagogy (12 ECTS), while
only in one subject they learn about the Concepts of Inclusiveness (6 ECTS). One
subject was intended to be Research Methodology (6 ECTS) and one to be Practice
(6 ECTS).
. In the course at U3 four subjects are included in the scope of Pedagogy (36 ECTS), two
of them are purely social pedagogical (24 ECTS), and four subjects were placed in the
scope of Concepts of Inclusiveness (21 ECTS). In three subjects we detect the contents
that have been classified as Special needs Pedagogy (18 ECTS), two subjects are close to
Research methodology (9 ECTS) and one subject is intended to be Practice (6 ECTS).

Percentages of study requirements (according to the ECTS8 credits of compulsory sub-

jects) are comparable only in the Research methodology (between 8.3% and 10.0%).
The maximum deviation in courses are detected in the areas of:

. Special needs Pedagogy or specific methods for the SEN population, where in the course
at U2 they pay a lot of attention (58.3%), much less attention is paid to this at U1
(39.8%) and even less in the course at U3 (20.0%)
. Pedagogy, since they devote significantly more time in the course at U3 (39.9%), while
in the other two courses considerably less (U1 – 16.1% and U2 – 16.8%),
. percentages of credits in the courses that have been classified within the scope of Con-
cepts of Inclusiveness are classified similarly like in Pedagogy, because a lot more time is
devoted to this in the course at U3 (23.4%) than in the courses at U1 (10.9%) and U2

The analysis of the Slovenian courses shows that the design of the two courses
(especially at the U2 and also at the U1) put much more emphasis on Special needs Peda-
gogy, while in the course of the U3 Pedagogy is significantly more prominent. In other
words, here interdisciplinarity is recognised (Pedagogy, Social Pedagogy and Special
needs Pedagogy) and they do not pay special attention to special methods of teaching
SEN students. The volume dedicated to the Concepts of Inclusiveness very clearly

stands out in the course at U3; almost a quarter of the time is devoted to this, whereas in
the other two universities it is only one tenth or less.
Based on this comparison, we can conclude that the examined courses vary greatly,
although they all lead to the same qualifications. All this is pointing to an important ques-
tion of how will these inclusive pedagogues put into practice the idea of inclusion in their
work. Our comparison of courses clearly shows that inclusive pedagogues from U2 (also
from U1) focus mainly at finding a teaching methods solution for a particular SEN popu-
lation and overlooked the important goals of socialisation and subjectification. Practically,
other factors that have a significant impact on inclusiveness (the culture of institutions,
attitudes and beliefs of teachers, classroom atmosphere) (Dyson, Howes, and Roberts
2004) are totally overlooked. Such an orientation of inclusive pedagogues will more
likely allow the implementation of the concept of integration than inclusiveness.

In this paper, we argue for the concept of inclusiveness that in the process of implemen-
tation seeks to consider not only the individual level (psycho-medical paradigm), but
importantly the institutional (organisational paradigm) and social level (social paradigm)
(Skidmore 2004). Furthermore, that the objective or the purpose of these processes besides
facilitating common training and achieving quality education (qualification) is also to
promote a comprehensive development of the child and emancipation (subjectification)
and the creation of respectful members of the broader society based on solidarity (socia-
lisation) (Biesta 2010a). Since the subjectification and socialisation are also important
goals of implementing inclusiveness, we conclude theoretical analysis that it would be
more constructive if, in the conceptualisation of inclusiveness, we learned more on the
continental construction of the field of education.
As we showed through the development of scientific disciplines and their specificities in
Slovenia, Special needs Pedagogy is characterised by a psycho-medical paradigm and a
concentration on special-methodical teaching adjustments, with which the highest poss-
ible quality of knowledge and skills (qualification) of the SEN population in particular
could be obtained. Therefore relying on the newly created courses, the so-called Inclusive
Education, especially on Special needs Pedagogy, which was in the content analysis
observed in two courses (at the U2 and also at the U1), promotes the implementation
of the concept of integration rather than inclusiveness. Meanwhile the discipline of Peda-
gogy that focused primarily on formation of the free human being (subjectification), while
relying on humanistic as well as on social paradigm (Lesar and Skubic Ermenc 2017;
Medveš 2015) provides more complex and constructive conceptualising of inclusiveness.
More emphasis on the contents of Pedagogy and Concepts of Inclusiveness, which do not
focus on SEN or other marginalised populations of children, was observed only in the
course at the U3.
Judging from the subjects and the curriculum of two Slovenian courses, their graduates
will likely put into practice the idea of inclusion in the Slovenian school system in a very
constricted notion (Messiou 2017). In our understanding, this means implementation of
integration (in particular through the methodical adaptation of the educational process to
the specific groups of the SEN population) rather than inclusiveness. In these two courses
very little attention is paid to the factors that other researches describe as the key ones

(methods of management, culture and atmosphere of the institution, the views and values
of teachers, willingness to cooperate and adopt shared responsibility for each student).
However, this is not surprising for us, considering that at the national level the concept
of inclusiveness has not yet been firmly established, and when the wider international
attention is concentrated on comparing the effectiveness of education in the field of
obtaining qualifications (e.g. PISA, PIRLS, TIMMS). From that perspective, it is under-
standable that many researchers are looking for evidence on which methods and pedago-
gical approaches can lead to better results in the process of qualification, and that the
processes of socialisation and particularly of subjectification are much overlooked. The
‘project’ of evidence-based practice therefore urgently needs to be rethought in ways
that it takes into consideration the limits of knowledge, the nature of social interaction,
the ways in which things can work, the processes of power that are involved in this
and, most importantly, the values and normative orientations that constitute social prac-
tices such as education (Biesta 2010b, 501). Above all, it will be necessary to answer the
question, what or whom the school is intended for and which values are fundamental
for the pedagogical action. Many have already pointed out that following excellence,
choice and competition (Rouse and Florian 2004) or market ideology (Barton 2004)
leads to a hierarchical, status oriented selective systems (similar to Fraser 1995, 2000),
in which exclusionistic policy and practice become more visible. The school has otherwise
always been an ideological apparatus of the state (Althusser 1980), but it has recently too
often been regarded as an ideological apparatus of economics and profitability (Lesar

1. A concept of inclusive education has not yet been published at the national level in Slovenia,
although a group of experts at the request of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport
prepared such a concept at the beginning of the previous year (2016).
2. Alexander (2009, 925–926) explained some nuances of the meaning of education in different

[In] French public education […] éduquer means to bring up as well as formally to
educate and that bien éduqué means well brought up or well-mannered rather than
well-schooled (‘educate’ in English has both senses too, but the latter now predomi-
nates); or that the root of the Russian word for education, obrazovanie, means
‘form’ or ‘image’ rather than, as in our Latinate version, a ‘leading out’.
3. Pedagogy graduates in Slovenia are mainly employed in counseling services in kindergartens
as well as in elementary and secondary schools. It is a specific arrangement in Slovenia (as
well as in other countries of former Yugoslavia) that each school and kindergarten has its
own counseling unit, where besides pedagogues also psychologists, special and social peda-
gogues, speech therapists, social workers and inclusive pedagogues can be employed. Such
units are also established in boarding schools and educational institutions for behaviorally
challenged youth.
4. With the programme streams: education of the blind – tiflopedagogics, education of the deaf
– surdopedagogics, education of mentally retarded – oligofrenopedagogics, and vocational
education of defective children (Janša Zorn 1997, 10).
5. With the programme streams: orthopedagogy, orthopedagogical education of children with
behavioral and personality disorders, orthopedagogical education of physically disabled and
ill children, surdopedagogics, speech therapy and tiflopedagogics (Janša Zorn 1997, 16).

6. With the programme streams: defectology for the mentally disabled, defectology for the blind
and visually impaired, defectology for the hearing and speech impaired, defectology for the
physically and chronically ill (Janša Zorn 1997, 25).
7. Universities are anonymised in the paper to avoid any possible negative effects to institutions.
8. The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) was developed by the
European Commission in order to provide common procedures to guarantee academic rec-
ognition of studies abroad. ECTS is a student-centred system based on the student workload
required to achieve the objectives of a programme, objectives preferably specified in terms of
the learning outcomes and competences to be acquired.

The author acknowledge the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research core
funding No. P5-0126).

Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.

Note on contributor
Associate professor Irena Lesar is teaching and researching at the Faculty of Education, University
of Ljubljana, Slovenia, since 1998. In the last decade her research is focused on the conceptualisation
of justice and inclusiveness, the status of various marginalised groups, in particular Roma (new)
immigrants and the SEN pupil, in Slovenian schools through their social participation and aca-
demic achievement.

Irena Lesar

Ainscow, M. 1995. Education for All: Making it Happen. Birmingham: Keynote address presented at
the International Special Education Congress.
Alexander, R. 2001. “Border Crossings: Towards a Comparative Pedagogyossings: Towards a
Comparative Pedagogy.” Comparative Education 37 (4): 507–523.
Alexander, R. 2009. “Towards a Comparative Pedagogy.” In International Handbook of
Comparative Education (Vol. 22), edited by R. Cowen and A. M. Kazamias, 923–942.
Dordrecht: Springer.
Althusser, L. 1980. “Ideologija in ideološki aparati države (opombe k raziskavi).” In Ideologija in
estetski učinek, edited by Z. Skušek-Močnik, 37–99. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva založba.
Barton, L. 2004. “Market Ideologies, Education and the Challenge for Inclusion.” In Special
Educational Needs and Inclusive Education: Major Themes in Education (Vol. I), edited by D.
Mitchell, 342–351. London: RoutledgeFalmer, Taylor & Francis Group.
Biesta, G. 2010a. Good Education in an Age of Measurement: Ethics, Politics, Democracy. Boulder,
CO: Paradigm.
Biesta, G. 2010b. “Why ‘What Works’ Still Won’t Work: From Evidence-based Education to Value-
based Education.” Studies in Philosophy & Education 29: 491–503.

Biesta, G. 2011. “Disciplines and Theory in the Academic Study of Education: A Comparative
Analysis of the Anglo-American and Continental Construction of the Field.” Pedagogy,
Culture & Society 19 (2): 175–192.
Biesta, G. 2014. “Is Philosophy of Education a Historical Mistake? Connecting Philosophy and
Education Differently.” Theory and Research in Education 12 (1): 65–76.
Čačinovič Vogrinčič, G. 1999. Svetovalna služba v osnovni šoli: programske smernice. Ljubljana:
Strokovni svet RS za splošno izobraževanje.
Dyson, A., A. Howes, and B. Roberts. 2004. “What Do We Really Know about Inclusive Schools? A
Systematic Review of the Research Evidence.” In Special Educational Needs and Inclusive
Education: Major Themes in Education (Vol. I), edited by D. Mitchell, 280–294. London:
Routledge Falmer, Taylor & Francis Group.
Fraser, N. 1995. “From Redestribution to Recognition? Dilemmas of Justice in a ‘Post-Socialist’
Age.” New Left Review 212: 68–93.
Fraser, N. 2000. “Rethinking Recognition.” New Left Review 3: 107–120.
Fulcher, G. 1989. Disabling Policies? A Comparative Approach to Education Policy and Disability.
London: The Falmer Press.
Hardy, I., and S. Woodcock. 2015. “Inclusive Education Policies: Discourses of Difference, Diversity
and Deficit.” International Journal of Inclusive Education 19 (2): 141–164. doi:10.1080/13603116.
Hsieh, H. F., and S. E. Shannon. 2005. “Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis.”
Qualitative Health Research 15 (9): 1277–1288. doi:10.1177/1049732305276687.
Janša Zorn, O. 1997. “Od Višje pedagoške šole do Pedagoške fakultete.” In Zbornik ob 50-letnici
Višje pedagoške šole, Pedagoške akademije in Pedagoške fakultete v Ljubljani, edited by O.
Janša Zorn, G. Kocijan, and I. Škoflek, 7–69. Ljubljana: Pedagoška fakulteta v Ljubljani,
Kroflič, R. 2007. “Tudi šole vzgajajo, mar ne?.” In Pravila in vzgojno delovanje, edited by T. Devjak,
101–118. Ljubljana: Pedagoška fakulteta.
Lesar, I. 2007. “Osnovna šola kot inkluzivno naravnana institucija.” PhD diss., Filozofska fakulteta,
Univerza v Ljubljani.
Lesar, I. 2009. “Slovenska pedagogika pred izzivi reformiranja šolskega sistema.” Revija 2000 211/
212/213: 33–46.
Lesar, I. 2013a. “Ideja inkluzije – med različnimi koncepti pravičnosti in etičnimi teorijami.”
Sodobna pedagogika 64/130 (2): 76–95.
Lesar, I. 2013b. “Razmislek o vzpostavljanju bolj pravičnega šolskega sistema na konceptu treh R-
jev (3 R).” Šolsko polje 24 (5/6): 89–113. 165–166.
Lesar, I., and K. Skubic Ermenc. 2017. “Slovenian Pedagogy between Social Sciences and
Humanities – Historical, Theoretical, Methodological and Comparative Implications.” In
Reimagining Utopias: Theory and Method for Educational Research in Post-Socialist Contexts,
edited by I. Silova, N. W. Sobe, A. Korzh, and S. Kovalchuk, 245–259. Rotterdam: Sense.
Lynch, K., and A. Lodge. 2002. Equality and Power in School: Redestribution, Recognition and
Representation. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Medveš, Z. 2011. “Kakršna je družba, taka šola!” Sodobna pedagogika 62 (5): 148–170.
Medveš, Z. 2015. “Conflicting Paradigms in the Development of Slovene Pedagogy.” Sodobna ped-
agogika 66 (3): 10–42.
Messiou, K. 2017. “Research in the Field of Inclusive Education: Time for a Rethink?” International
Journal of Inclusive Education 21 (2): 146–159. doi:10.1080/13603116.2016.1223184.
Peček, M, and I. Lesar. 2011. Moč vzgoje: sodobna vprašanja teorije vzgoje (2nd edition). Ljubljana:
Tehniška založba Slovenije.
Rouse, M., and L. Florian. 2004. “Inclusive Education in the Market-place.” In Special Educational
Needs and Inclusive Education: Major Themes in Education (Vol. I), edited by D. Mitchell, 326–
341. London: RoutledgeFalmer, Taylor & Francis Group.
Sándorová, Z. 2014. “Content Analysis as a Research Method in Investigating the Cultural
Components in Foreign Language Textbooks.” Journal of Language and Cultural Education 2
(1): 95–128.

Schaffner, B. C., and B. E. Buswell. 2004. “Ten Critical Elements for Creating Inclusive and Effective
School Communities.” In Special Educational Needs and Inclusive Education: Major Themes in
Education (Vol. I), edited by D. Mitchell, 295–313. London: RoutledgeFalmer, Taylor &
Francis Group.
Skidmore, D. 2004. Inclusion: The Dynamic of School Development. London: Open University Press.
Skrtic, T. M., W. Sailor, and K. Gee. 2004. “Voice, Collaboration, and Inclusion: Democratic
Themes in Educational and Social Reform Initiatives.” In Special Educational Needs and
Inclusive Education: Major Themes in Education (Vol. I), edited by D. Mitchell, 214–246.
London: RoutledgeFalmer, Taylor & Francis Group.
Slee, R. 1998. “The Politics of Theorising Special Education.” In Theorising Special Education, edited
by C. Clark, A. Dyson, and A. Millward, 126–136. London: Routledge.
UNESCO. 1994. The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education.
Paris: UNESCO.