Questions to assess learning as a communicative routine for inclusion


  • Órla Ní Bhroin

Address for correspondence:

 Dr Órla Ní Bhroin

 St Patrick's College – Special Education

 St Patrick's College Drumcondra

 Dublin 9




In the context of rapid policy transformation from segregation to inclusion in the education of children with special educational needs in Ireland, a study was conducted to investigate the interplay between policy and principles of inclusion, resource teachers' and class teachers' interpretations of this and the manner in which policy and principle is enacted in their practice. Based on nine resource teachers and nine class teachers each paired in a particular school, interviews to elicit teachers' interpretations combined with observations to document the detail of practice generated data from which nine case studies were crafted. Findings revealed that teachers' interpretations and constructions of inclusive practice are grounded in the central tenets of communicative routines, attunement and coherence-fragmentation. As such, the pedagogical practices central to facilitating inclusion are as follows: teachers' use of questions to assess learning and mediated talk; transactional teaching–learning interactions contributing to transformational teaching-learning episodes; and optimal interfacing of resource teachers and class teachers. This article, by Órla Ní Bhroin of St Patrick's College, Dublin City University, focuses on teachers' use of questioning to assess learning as a communicative routine for inclusion.