Understanding children's constructions of meanings about other children: implications for inclusive education.
Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 8, (1), . (doi:10.1111/j.1471-3802.2008.00099.x).
This paper explores the factors that influence the way children construct meanings about other children, and especially those who seem to experience marginalisation, within school contexts. The research involved an ethnographic study in a primary school in Cyprus over a period of 5 months. Qualitative methods were used, particularly participant observations and interviews with children. Interpretation of the data suggests that children's perceptions about other children, and especially those who come to experience marginalisation, are influenced by the following factors: other children and the interactions between them; adults’ way of behaving in the school; the existing structures within the school; and the cultures of the school and the wider educational context. Even though the most powerful factor was viewed to be the adults’ influence, it was rather the interweaving between different factors that seemed to lead to the creation of particular meanings for other children. In the end, it is argued that children's voices should be seen as an essential element within the process of developing inclusive practices.
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