Collaboration in special education

Charlotte Riis Jensen, Janne Hedegaard Hansen, Mette Molbæk

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Since 2000 several teachers in Denmark have been educated as AKT consultants (with focus on children’s behavior, contact and wellbeing). With an increased segregation of students in the following decade changes were made to develop more inclusive schools. Thus, practice and legislation focusing on special education needs (SEN) and inclusion have been rethought over the last decade. Through the Inclusion Law (2013), Special Education Law (2012), Reform of the Public School (2014) and the Daycare Law (2018), inclusion that encompasses a wider diversity of children has become a general claim in Danish institutions. The consequences have been a rise in the number of resource consultants supporting the teachers with special education knowledge and practice. This means that working with and knowledge about SEN are delegated to other professions who are to support the teachers in the schools. This system of support is traditionally organized as meetings with different kind of professionals who analyze and decide adequate actions to support all student’s participation.
Recently, there has been an increased focus on how collaboration between professionals with and without knowledge on special education can have an impact on the development of pedagogical inclusionary practice.
In a recent research project ‘Approaching Inclusion’ (2016–2020), we find that collaboration between the different professional in and of itself does not solve the challenges of developing inclusive environments but that it requires more focus on how to collaborate to develop inclusionary practices. Our research shows that the traditional understanding of SEN is dominate in collaborative processes, that the general understanding of professional work related to SEN is mainly directed at strategies targeting and compensating for the needs of the individual child and that these strategies seldom involve changes in the actual professional practice of educators and other professionals, including their collaborative methods. Thus, unintended collaborative processes may result in an exclusion process rather than inclusive if collaboration is understood as a harmonic and resourceful place for consensus and not a place for negotiations and conflicting perspectives that can develop practice.
Tensions and challenges described from the Danish research project will be compared and discussed in relation to the overarching theme, Nordic Special Education Profession, at the symposium.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventNERA Conference 2023: Digitalization and Technologies in Education Opportunities and Challenges - OsloMet, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 15 Mar 202317 Mar 2023
Conference number: 2023


ConferenceNERA Conference 2023
Internet address


  • cooperation

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