Promoting social interaction in the inclusive classroom: Lessons from inclusive schools in England and Cyprus
Recent sociometric research evidence in mainstream settings has suggested that pupils identified as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) often occupy a lower social position compared to their typically achieving peers and they tend to be lonely and marginalised. This is often attributed to their lacking of skills needed to engage socially with classmates in order to develop social relationships and friendships. Some studies have found that particular teaching arrangements such as cooperative leaming activities and wider pedagogical practices can be conducive to promoting the social inclusion of pupils identified as having SEN. In this paper, we draw on evidence from two recent studies conducted in England and Cyprus which combined sociometric techniques ascertaining the social position of pupils accredited with SEN with in-depth interviews with practitioners and pupils as well as observations. By combining the insights gained from two different contexts, we formulate an open list of pedagogical strategies and wider school practices for promoting social interaction and ultimately the social inclusion of all children. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.