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ABS258 - Underachieving students or underachieving education?

1.5 Other topics related to Theme 1
3:50 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (1 hour 30 minutes)
The current paper aims to analyze the problem of underachievement at school from a CHAT perspective.
‘Underachieving students’, ‘struggling students’– these are just some of the many words which are used to describe students who cannot cope with the demands of the educational system. Should all these cases be in the competence of Special Pedagogy? Or may it be that it is actually the educational system itself that is struggling and underachieving?
The main paradox of the modern special education is that it is supposed to help students in their struggle against the difficulties that the educational system has created.
The main question which special pedagogy has to answer is: “How should the ‘underachieving’ education be organized in order to become ‘achieving’, to develop all students, thus to become truly inclusive?” The answer which the learning activity theory gives is that learning content should not be a ‘piece of knowledge’ served to students by teachers, but an object of students’ activity and the means of action; education should be organized as the learning activity. That means that educators have to answer three key questions:
- What should happen to the student?
- What should the student be doing so that this happens?
- What should the teacher be doing in order to organize such activity?
As long as the educational system will be working in the name of the pre-established knowledge requirements and delegate responsibility for the whole process to teachers and students, all main educational goals, as well as inclusion, will remain utopias.

Stockholm University, Department of Special Education
Senior Lecturer

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