Participation of students with special educational needs in the process of re-schooling
Tajda Pikl in Irena Lesar

Summary:  Students’ deficits, dysfunctions and barriers are often set as the primary criterion for differentiating pupils. They are seen as the main cause of their failure, while many other factors are overlooked. At the same time, the Slovenian Placement procedure of children with special needs is characterized by the fact that the power and competence to decide what are ‘the best interests of the child’ is in the domain of experts, which diminishes the individual student’s status of an autonomous person. The need to hear the student’s »voice« became relevant in year 2011 with the requirement to submit a Record of Discussion with the child before the guidance process is initiated. How is the right of participation realized in the process of re-schooling of students with special needs included in the placement procedure is the fundamental question that we have focused on. The empirical study used semi-structured interviews to identify the experiential aspect of inclusion and participation of students in the processes of detection and identification of their special needs and the placement procedure. In terms of the implementation of the continuum of support, we found out that students perceived inadequate teaching practices by some teachers, which had an impact on their underperformance in mainstream schools. For most of them, placement procedure represented a stressful change, with a range of emotions and expectations which they could not share with adults; students were offered (too) little support and information about the planned change. This shows that conversation with the student in relation to decisions taken by adults still appears to be rarely represented part of the procedures. The interlocutors (students) unanimously expressed their desire and interest to participate in decision-making.

* Full text article is only available in Slovenian language.
Journal of Contemporary Educational Studies is
published with support of Slovenian Research Agency.