29 May 2017

A few images to pick some issues discussed during the course

Educationfor ALL image

Education for All

Education for all 2

25 May 2017

PBS list of resources on Inclusive Education –

Global course resource lists –

20 May 2017

Identifying «social capital», a mindmap –


15 May 2017

What is «social capital»?

«The concept of social capital became fashionable only relatively recently, but the term has been in use for almost a century while the ideas behind it go back further still. “Social capital” may first have appeared in a book published in 1916 in the United States that discussed how neighbours could work together to oversee schools.
Author Lyda Hanifan referred to social capital as “those tangible assets [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit”. –

«…there is no set and commonly agreed upon definition of social capital and the particular definition adopted by a study will depend on the discipline and level of investigation (Robison et al. 2002)[3] . Not surprisingly considering the different frameworks for looking at social capital there is considerable disagreement and even contradiction in the definitions of social capital (Adler and Kwon 2002)»-

Bourdieu, one of the founding theorists of «social capital» –

«Bourdieu’s understanding of ‘social capital’ relates to elites: privileged individuals maintain and strengthen their position by using their connections with other privileged people. He sees the ‘dark side’ of social capital, i.e. its exclusive nature towards those that are not ‘part of us’. Another darker manifestation of strong ‘social capital’, especially in the sense of ‘bonding capital’ (see below) can be the high degree of social surveillance and pressure to conform to the established norms and worldviews of the group one belongs to. From that point of view strong ‘bonding capital’ may narrow rather than expands one’s geographical and mental horizons.

Robert Putnam by contrast sees social capital present at all levels of society, and emphasizes much more its positive side, i.e. as the basis for ‘social belonging’ and constructive social interaction and association.» –

12 May 2017

Extract from the course:

«We can build communities of practice through identifying and creating our social capital. Three main steps we will discuss relate to creating your social capital are: bonding, bridging and linking.

  • Bonding – people or organizations who share a common interest, a shared sense of identity and purpose, eg. people, schools and organizations who are already involved in issues of inclusive education or disability. An example is when teachers and parents gather at the school to plan strategies for greater community participation, and people from the community are also invited to join the Inclusive Education Committee within the school.
  • Bridging – making connections with people or organizations that are not directly involved in inclusive education, however, they can provide a wider range of formal and informal resources to support inclusive education. An example is when schools partner with the local health services so that students with special needs could be assessed for hearing and vision problems. A local business person could provide the school with a vacant shop to sell goods so that funds could be raised for the Inclusive Education programme.
  • Linking – creating alliances with government officials and decision makers is crucial to advocacy, making disability a priority and creating inclusive policies that drive social change and cohesion, influencing positive social outcomes. Links can be formed, for instance, between schools and local and traditional governance or the municipality. They in turn make contact with politicians and senior officials in government departments. Links can also be made with local newspapers and radio/television stations who carry success stories around children’s inclusion as a way of educating the community about disability. (Mariga, McConkey and Myezwa, 2014: 62,64)»

8 May 2017

Week 5 resources

Embracing Diversity: Toolkit for Creating Inclusive, Learning-Friendly Environments –

Differentiated Strategies for Assessment –

2 May 2017

Week 4 resources

Videos World of Inclusion –


Community-based rehab –

Community-based rehab matrix –

28 April 2017

Week 3 presented some interesting vídeos, among which the advocacy for the right for education and inclusion in Kenya and India, which makes us wonder in Europe why can’t we advance more on inclusion, considering we have not the difficult obstacles these countries face.

Week 3 Resource list –

Educator questionnaire –Inclusive_Education_SA_checklist

IndicatorsforInclusion –indicatorquestionnaire_for_week3

Inclusionchecklist- inclusion_checklist

UNESCO Inclusion Guidelines –

Index for Inclusion (2002) – 

A set of videos on inclusion in South Africa –

An assignment was proposed for this week to select a school example and write an essay of 300-800 words

  • briefly describe the school and its context
  • outline the innovation/change you are proposing
  • explain why you selected this change/innovation. Why do you think it will be effective? Provide this explanation based on your own experience, from any of the readings or lectures, or other sources of information.

My essay:

«There’s only one public school in the portuguese educational system that I ‘d take as a referrence to transform other schools – Escola da Ponte – to achieve true inclusiveness.

There are many examples of democratic/alternative schools around the world, but they are outside the public school system –

These schools may have different forms of organization and pedagogical approaches but they have a common feature, they have always been student-centred, students and parents have a participation in the school management.

Escola da Ponte had to make a compromise with certain official requirements , because it remained a primary school for most of its existence (created in 1976) and since 2005 established an autonomy contract with the Ministry of Education. As it evolved to other school levels (up to 9th grade) and exams were at stake it had to make some adjustments.

However, the culture and values of the school have been preserved as well as its organization and management . The guiding principles are based on collaboration, solidarity, responsibility, participation with autonomy. Education for citizenship is at the core of the school project –

It integrates students with disabilities but that is not particularly highlighted because they are included as any other student. Respecting each student’s rythm of learning and planning individual learning objectives is the norm for all.

It is a small school – 150 students , located in a social-economic disadvantaged community, about half of the students still get school social support (allowances…). The students are organized in three big groups: initiation, consolidation, in-depth.

Students are guided and supported by mentors rather than the traditional teacher in front of the class. There are no classes, but common rooms where students of different ages and levels are working together ,learning different subjects according to their individual learning objectives negotiated every two weeks with their mentors, making their self evaluation, prevailing a formative assessment, analysing if they are ready to move forward or need to consolidate. They have also a daily plan of work with a list of learning tasks/activities. They have a common board where they stick and announce in what tasks they need help so that peers or mentors may support them.

Every Friday they gather the school assembly , the Chair of the Assembly constituted by a group of students is elected at the beginning of the school year, they discuss issues of management and other issues. There are no major disciplinary problems, the school has a Help Committee that intervenes when some conflict arises. Civic behaviour prevails and there are no drop-outs. The school is open to the community and participates in many activities, such as exhibitions of school work, sports, etc. They have a school newspaper and online blog, run by students. The school promotes art and music and chess and engages in national and international contests.

According to the Inspectorate of Education, the evaluation of the school is quite positive (last one dates to 2013 – ). Compared to other schools students’ academic performance rates are above average or in line. The degree of satisfaction of school staff, parents and students is high, people share a sense of belonging. The school is object of national and international academic studies.

Finally, I don’t think that the educational system is prepared for such a radical change and I don’t think that most schools and teachers would be prepared or would agree with this model. Most parents still think that it’s the job of the school to educate their children and they only participate if they are required to go to the school. Parents’ jobs don’t allow them for great engagement.

In fact the national trend regarding the organization of schools in Portugal has evolved towards a vertical management organization of clusters of schools with a principal and a school management team that runs several schools, which has been favouring a more autocratic management.

The initial intentions for clustering were understandable, because we had a very fragmented school system , with very small schools with few pupils (many rural primary schools with less than 10 pupils), poorly equipped and very isolated. There was a need to guarantee a more structured pedagogical continuum along compulsory schooling. So many schools were closed down and a concentration of resources and students took place, transporting them from isolated areas to bigger schools, better equipped and with a more qualified teaching staff. Many new schools were built. From a financial point of view turned much simpler to deal with around 800 school clusters management entities than with thousands of schools and respective directors. The system turned economically more rational, but a humane dimension was lost, with school clusters in metropolitan areas reaching a coverage of 3.000 students .

As Governments change, on a 4 year cycle election, much instability affects the education policies (as in other sectors) and people complain about this unrest.»

I made some peer reviews as well.

21April 2017

Week2 Resource list –

A Mother’s fight to keep her son in school (vídeo of Human Rights Watch) –

15 April 2017

Week 1 list of resources – Week1Resourceslist.docx

A good example of inclusive school in South Africa

12 April 2017

Most of the dynamics of the course reside in the forum discussion on inclusion, marginalization, barriers to learning.

11 Abril 2017

A publication made available in the course

Inclusive Education in Low-Income Countries –

10 April 2017

MOOC «Education for ALL: Disability, Diversity and Inclusion» started on 10th April in FutureLearn platform promoted by the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

The course has a great diversity of participants from many parts of the world.