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Sociocultural-historical theory and teacher education: Reflection for Inclusive practice

2.2 Identity and professional learning in new and diverse ecologies
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
9:57 AM, Friday 1 Sep 2017 (27 minutes)
This research aims to investigate the use of Vygotsky’s views found in the studies of Defectology (Vygotsky, 1930/1997), along with a critical collaborative methodological approach that can contribute to teacher education in contexts of inclusive education. Teacher education is an important matter in the context of inclusion (Ferreira, 2014), since, at least in São Paulo, Brazil, where this research is being carried out, this area is treated in pre-service training situation or even in-service, and in neither of them has it been achieving the necessary goals so as to guarantee that inclusion is taking place. Knowledge about the teaching of pupils with special educational needs allows the teacher to reflect on and upon their teaching practice, building upon it by means of theoretical and methodological information. In turn, this can enable the teacher to review their pedagogical practices so as to take into account the diversity of their students (Pietro, 2006). As part of this investigation, a teacher education course is conducted with teachers from the public school sector of a city near São Paulo, aiming at discussing the development of students with disabilities in the school context. This course is based on the sociocultural-historical theory – which also composes the theoretical scope of the investigation. Some of the contributions from the sociocultural-historical theory (Vygotsky, 1924-1034) to education include the Defectology studies – and among them, the concepts of compensation and higher mental functions, which are very important for this study. In his work on Defectology, Vygotsky concluded, among other things, that the child whose development is complicated by a defect is not simply less developed than his peers said normal, but develops differently (Vygotsky, 1987/1924). Through the study of Defectology, our investigation aims at finding a positive task system which can allow the development of the potential of the person with disabilities (more specifically, with mental disabilities). It is our belief that the systematic study of the Defectology will enable the participants of this teacher education course to reflect about and discuss methodological approaches in order to understand the development of higher mental functions and the disorders of these functions (Vygotsky, 1991). To implement this research, we use the critical research of collaboration as a methodological choice (Magalhães, 2003). This methodology aims at building a collaborative space that fosters critical thinking (Smyth, 1992) of teachers on their own pedagogical practices, addressing the expectations, the impacts and the thoughts experienced by teachers (Magalhães and Fidalgo, 2010). In addition, Magalhães and Fidalgo (2007, p. 124) point to the “central role of collaboration in the process of co-production of new directions as to theories, functions and actions that occur in the area of conflict, that Vygotsky calls zpd.” Building confidence and confronting ideas thus go together to challenge crystallized meanings and others about how to act in teacher education and research contexts. “So, these conflicts inevitably bring out cognitive-affective differences that cannot be separated, and imply that participants take intellectual and emotional risks so that joint development of meanings are negotiated” (ibid). In this sense, as Magalhães (2010) points out, it is the language of argument that creates the possibility for collaborative relations in the production of shared meanings. The proposed study demonstrates a promising path to understanding and analyzing issues related to the process of inclusive education in teacher education based on the study of the sociocultural-historical theory.
Federal University of São Paulo - UNIFESP
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