Inclusive Education and the Politics of Difference: Considering the Effectiveness of Labelling in Special Education
Educational and Child Psychology
British Psychological Society
© 2017 British Psychological Society
Reason for embargo
Aim: The contribution of this paper to this ongoing debate, is to interrogate the discourse of labelling by critically analysing its role in inclusive and special education. Rationale: Labels have a strong tradition of orchestrating educational inequity. In response, recent debates about the concept of labelling have focused on whether the use of labelling in inclusive and/or special education has an equality potential or indeed threatens the quality of education provided to students with diverse needs. Findings: The difficulty with labelling is that it is fraught with political, psychological and ideological ambiguities that permeate the well-intentioned efforts of providing education to students with disabilities. Labelling also carries considerable historical beliefs that saturates policy, professional, and institutional practices. Limitations: This article is a position piece which has put forward an argument based on available evidence. However, as with all non-empirical articles it is limited to the quality of the articles which are cited by the authors and it may not reflect the breadth of available articles on this subject area. Conclusions: Therefore, understanding how labels promote, or impede, the quality of special and inclusive education within international contexts is essential for developing realistic innovations in policy and practice to enhance educational outcomes for all.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the British Psychological Society
Vol. 34 (4)