Special or inclusive education: future trends

Lani Florian

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149 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, Lani Florian, Professor of Social and Educational Inclusion at the University of Aberdeen, examines the relationships between ‘special’ and ‘inclusive’ education. She looks at the notion of specialist knowledge among teachers and at the roles adopted by staff working with pupils with ‘additional’ or ‘special’ needs in mainstream settings. She explores the implications of the use of the concept of ‘special needs’– especially in relation to attempts to implement inclusion in practice – and she notes the tensions that arise from these relationships. She goes on to ask a series of questions: How do teachers respond to differences among their pupils? What knowledge do teachers need in order to respond more effectively to diversity in their classrooms? What are the roles of teacher education and ongoing professional development? How can teachers be better prepared to work in mixed groupings of pupils? In seeking answers to these questions, Lani Florian concludes that we should look at educational practices and undertake a thorough examination of how teachers work in their classrooms. She suggests that it is through an examination of ‘the things that teachers can do’ that we will begin to bring meaning to the concept of inclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-208
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Special Education
Issue number4
Early online date18 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • inclusion
  • special needs
  • educational practices
  • teacher education
  • teacher development


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