Including Psychology in Inclusive Pedagogy: Enriching the Dialogue?

Ruth Kershner


Inclusive education is a complex field of study and practice that requires good communication and dialogue between all involved.  Psychology has to some extent been marginalised in these educational dialogues. This is, in part, due to psychology’s perceived heritage in the standardised testing that has been used to support the educational segregation of certain individuals and groups of students. Some have also expressed fundamental doubts about the prospects of investigating human experience and education through ‘scientific’ method in psychology.  In this paper I discuss the relationship between inclusive education, dialogue and psychology, with a focus on the dialogic aspects of inclusive classroom pedagogy. I analyse how a group of eight early career primary (elementary) school teachers in England talk about inclusive pedagogy at the start their involvement in a one-year research project on this topic. Their conversation suggests the strong presence of psychological thinking, alongside the teachers’ other references to classroom practice, children’s rights and social identities. Conclusions are drawn about the need to include the heterogeneous field of psychology in the continuing dialogues of inclusive education, while also considering new forms of psychology for inclusive education.


Psychology; inclusive education; pedagogy; dialogue; teachers’ talk; primary (elementary) education

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International Journal of Educational Psychology - IJEP | ISSN: 2014-3591

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