Becoming an ethical researcher
Becoming an ethical researcher

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Becoming an ethical researcher

2.1 Research often needs courage

Described image
Figure 4 Having courage

Case study 4.1 shows how research can impact on a large number of beneficiaries and how working with vulnerable groups can have gains for all through inclusive practice.

Case study 4.1 Research on inclusive practice: Signalong Indonesia

Professor Kieron Sheehy has researched inclusive practice globally (e.g. Sheehy et al., 2019). He worked with the Indonesian government then with teacher training colleges, teachers and students to improve practice and influence policy (Budiyanto et al., 2018). This involved drawing on best practice research, understanding attitudes towards disability and pedagogy and developing new methods of signing and teaching to include all children in classrooms. Over many years, the research team developed research relationships with a wide range of people.

Activity 4 Signalong Indonesia circles of relationships

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

The project is called ‘Signalong Indonesia’ as it created a new method of signing for language and hearing-impaired children from which all children could benefit.

First watch this video (up to 01:26) which sets the context of the project.

Download this video clip.Video player: de300_2016j_vid102-320x176.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

NARRATOR
In Indonesia, a pioneering inclusive education project is underway. It aims to teach children with disabilities and special educational needs alongside children with no additional needs in inclusive schools. To facilitate this learning, Signalong Indonesia has been developed and is being taught in pilot schools in and around the city of Surabaya
Kieron Sheehy and Helen Kaye from the Open University have come to Surabaya to see how this new initiative is working in practice and how different attitudes to inclusive education and the way people learn impacts on this.
KIERON SHEEHY
The reason we're here is we're developing a questionnaire to look at teachers' beliefs about how children learn and it's relationship as opposed to the use of sign in schools.
TEACHER 1
Good morning.
STUDENTS
Good morning.
KIERON SHEEHY
We're here because this is a project that's just begun here. So we're looking at how the teachers' beliefs and attitudes shape the way they teach, shape the children's experience of education, and in a sense, shape their actual education opportunities.
NARRATOR
Over the course of several days, Kieron and Helen will observe how Signalong is being used by teachers and pupils in two different schools as well as talking to a range of people to help them design the questionnaire.
[CHILDREN SINGING]
HELEN KAYE
We're going to be speaking to the teachers, those who are implementing the programs. We're going to be speaking to members of the university who are working in collaboration with us in the research. We're going to be talking to some of the parents of the children to see what effect it's had on their children's development, and what their attitudes towards their children taking part in the research is.
NARRATOR
The first school that Kieron and Helen visit is Galu Handayani School. There are about 250 students, 40% of whom have special needs.
RESPONDENT 1
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
TEACHER 1
Good morning.
STUDENTS
Good morning.
TEACHER 1
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
STUDENTS
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA] Yes. Yes. Yes.
TEACHER 1
Good.
NARRATOR
Signalong is used to support communication in all the different subjects including this science class. Helen and Kieron are interviewing teachers and pupils in the school to find out about their attitudes towards signing and inclusive education. The data they gather will form the basis for the questionnaire.
HELEN KAYE
Do tell us a little bit about how you use Signalong in your classroom.
TEACHER 1
OK. I think if I use a sign along to teach in every child, it's more of fun and joyful for the children. Because why? Sometimes I must have to sign to communicate with her or with him. And all of children is very joyful when I sign, when I sing, or when I make a sign along on this study.
HELEN KAYE
So when they were doing science, it was quite a difficult experiment they were doing. Does sign along make a difference to their understanding of the science, do you think?
TEACHER 1
It is difficult to learn science. But if I make the science with a Signalong they're very joyful in any science study with me, of course. Because what? I can play, sign with them, like a water, like a fish and another. It's very easy to learn about Signalong. So disability students or the normal students, we can learn together. We can learn together. This is the point. Because I think Signalong is universal language.
KIERON SHEEHY
So what's your name?
STUDENT 1
My name is [INAUDIBLE].
KIERON SHEEHY
[INAUDIBLE]
STUDENT 1
Yes.
STUDENT 2
My name is Ayu.
KIERON SHEEHY
Ayu. Now can I ask you about signing?
INTERPRETER
Signing. [SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
Tell me, did you like it? Do you think it helps you in class?
STUDENT 1
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
When you leave school, what you like to do?
INTERPRETER
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
STUDENT 1
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
Your teaching is brilliant, very motivating, lively. Why do you teach like that?
TEACHER 2
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
NARRATOR
As well as talking to teachers, Kieron and Helen are interviewing parents to assess how they feel about signing and how they feel the impacts on their child.
PARENT 1
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
HELEN KAYE
When you first heard about Signalong, thus Anga was going to learn to do Signalong, were you worried? Were you concerned?
INTERPRETER
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
PARENT 1
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
Do you think it's good that all children in the school sign? Some schools, they would have perhaps some children over here signing in a special place, and the rest of the school not signing. So do you, do you think it benefits to having the whole school signing?
PARENT 2
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
HELEN KAYE
We're interested how people's beliefs translate into the way that they do things effectively. So we've got people talking to us freely about things, about their attitudes towards Signalong, what they use it for, what they think of it, what they think the effects are going to be. So I think we can use that information to kind of home down and find the, kind of, things that might vary between people. And then we'll use that in the questionnaire in the survey.
STUDENTS
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
So I found that invaluable. It's a very good insight into the model of learning that's developing here. I liked the things people telling us about how they thought it should be used. Signalong [INAUDIBLE] they feel like as a remedial technique. It's a communication technique, the old the school use. So when we talked to children who perhaps wouldn't be signing in other schools or in other countries, it's nice to hear what they've told us about why they like to sign.
NARRATOR
The second school Karen and Helen go to is a state school in Gresik, a port town north of Surabaya. It's a mainstream school with some special needs students. And selected teachers here have been using Signalong for just two weeks.
RESPONDENT 2
Good morning, everybody.
STUDENTS
Good morning teacher.
RESPONDENT 2
How are you today?
STUDENTS
I'm fine. How are you?
RESPONDENT 2
I'm fine. Thank you.
I did English in this school. And my school has special needs students. Our disabilities here, from autism, Down syndrome, slow learners. Some of my students, is it difficult to understand a word, oral. Sometimes I use my hand and my body to intimate what I mean. That's why I like trying Signalong. You see, when I communicate only using oral, I just use 50% of my power to influence my students. But if I use Signalong together with oral, I use my full power or 100%.
STUDENT 3
When she was a baby, when could not do anything,
KIERON SHEEHY
Does Signalong make them cleverer or just allows them to speak?
RESPONDENT 2
Cleverer, I agree. Because they're forced to think hard. They look and try to translate what he or she means by using this and say, it's not clear. But they use like this, what does it mean? That is.
STUDENTS
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
RESPONDENT 3
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
I think introducing Signalong has a huge potential in the impact it could have. Because children who previously would have been excluded-- and one reason is because they couldn't communicate. They would come to school. They couldn't communicate with the teachers. The teacher can't communicate with them, or the quality of their communication would be very poor-- that can be challenged now with Signalong. That can be changed.
So gradually, they try to communicate not just with the teachers, but with their peers. We've picked that up. Some really nice examples here of children using Signalong to communicate with their peers. So children who do not have any language problems or communication problems themselves enjoy using Signalong to communicate with their peers who have. And that's quite nice to see. So that is much closer to what one might think of as genuine inclusion.
NARRATOR
Although the school is inclusive, classes in the school are streamed by ability. Some children with special needs are in the same class as mainstream pupils. But there are also separate special education classes for those who've been assessed as needing to be taught separately. As well as academic lessons, these include activities such as dance, cookery, gardening, and prayer lessons.
KIERON SHEEHY
When we talk to other people, parents maybe, or other teachers, they said that signing is stigmatized. People look at signing, and they think ah, not good, not good. It makes children seem different. So parents might not want their children to sign. How do you feel about that? Is that, or is that a real thing?
TEACHER 3
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
We have found people telling us that. But they tell us that in secret. They never say that in public.
TEACHER 3
Yes.
KIERON SHEEHY
So what do you hope you will--
INTERPRETER
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
TEACHER 3
[SPEAKING BAHASA INDONESIA]
KIERON SHEEHY
Thank you. That's really good.
TEACHER 3
You're welcome.
KIERON SHEEHY
Thank you. That's brilliant. Thank you.
NARRATOR
After interviewing teachers, pupils, and parents at both schools, Kieron and Helen need to use the information they've gathered to help them shape their questionnaire.
KIERON SHEEHY
A couple of things come up from this school. Important the question, one is use of streaming. I think we'd underestimated the use of streaming. And it's a significant part of where children are placed and their opportunity. Although they're in an inclusive school, the children are in the main, in this school, as opposed to being excluded from school, or in a special school, they're not necessarily in an inclusive class, they might be in a special class.
[CHILDREN SINGING]
HELEN KAYE
And the other thing is stigmatization. We've been trying to find out what it's like in schools, what it's like in society more generally. So we're putting some items in the questionnaire to try and get that last as well.
KIERON SHEEHY
Because they had some quite mixed answers about stigmatization of children. Ranging from, oh no, it doesn't happen, to yes, it's quite extreme. And people would not only stigmatize children who might be disabled or look a little bit different, but also stigmatized teachers who taught them, which was something we've not heard in other schools.
NARRATOR
The research interviews carried out will help shape the questions that Kieron and Helen developed for inclusion in the survey they're conducting, exploring beliefs about how children learn. The results of this survey will then be used to inform teacher training for their work in inclusive schools and classrooms.
[CHILDREN SINGING]
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Then listen to the audio clip where Kieron describes in more detail how the research focus developed.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: e822_2020j_aug017a.mp3
Skip transcript

Transcript

DEBORAH COOPER
Hello. I’m Deborah Cooper from the Open University and today we are going to look at research focus and with me I’ve got Professor Kieron Sheehy who is going to tell us about his work on the Indonesian inclusive classrooms. Kieron, welcome.
PROFESSOR KIERON SHEEHY
Hello Deborah
DEBORAH
Kieron, can I begin by asking you why did you choose this particular research focus?
KIERON
The focus of the research sort of chose me rather than me choosing this particular project. I was working with a colleague from Indonesia and he was describing the aims that the government had for opening up education to a much wider, diverse group of children so inclusive classrooms, allowing children with disabilities or children with special educational needs, to begin to attend school for the first time perhaps in their lives so it would have been excluded previously. And the challenge how can we go ahead and do this? What are the best ways to do this? What’s – what do we need to set up for this to happen successfully? And I do have a background in inclusive and special education so we just began a series of conversations initially about what we might do to investigate this and how to go forward with it. But it really just began over a cup of tea with a colleague asking me some questions.
DEBORAH
And why is this study important?
KIERON
Just to put this in context Indonesia is a massive country and the idea of having inclusive schools where children who might have disabilities or special educational needs can be included in school is such a large scale challenge for the country. It’s a big challenge and it’s a challenge that we haven’t really got a neat answer to, so – but the government wanted advice and we needed to do some research that would support them in moving forward with their inclusive educational agenda if you like. One of the things that came out of our initial work together was that the majority of these children who had previously not been in school but were now coming to schools had severe learning difficulties and so we were focusing around how to help these children when they came into inclusive classrooms where there would be a whole range of different skills, languages, maybe abilities within the same class. How could we help everybody learn successfully? So that was kind of the focus we wanted but it also has an importance to the Indonesian culture because Indonesia is a very diverse society and the government take – I was going to say pride – the government are very focused on having an inclusive society and so the success of inclusive schooling is important to them as a national project.
DEBORAH
Thank you. And what would you say is the key purpose of the study?
KIERON
The purpose of the study is actually quite broad because it’s a project that’s evolved over time so rather than being a single study it’s a project with many studies within it and – so the methods and the approaches and the research questions evolved over time but the purpose of the study is to develop ways of having successful inclusive classrooms where all children can learn successfully.
DEBORAH
And who will benefit from the study?
KIERON
Well, firstly children who previously would have been excluded from educational benefit as we hope that they’re – and we have evidence to support the idea that they are now getting educated. They are learning successfully and happily because we are giving them support with developing ways of teaching that were not just for these new children that are coming to the school but for the rest of the class as well so they seem to be enjoying applying the things that we are developing with them. Universities that we worked with were benefiting because they’re including the things that we are doing in their teacher training now which is good for them and it’s good for the teachers and I think at the policy level now we are hoping to support government in developing policies that facilitate inclusive education in the longer term.
DEBORAH
Kieron, thank you so much for joining us.
KIERON
You’re welcome.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Think about:

  • Why is this research important?
  • Who might benefit from this research? Consider the micro (within the project), meso (local) and macro (national and international) scales.
  • Identify potentially vulnerable groups and topics.

Also think about the vulnerability of the children and the need for appropriate ways to approach the research with teachers and parents. In many ways the project has the potential to change practices and develop understanding for children, families and practitioners wherever they are in the world. As the focus was on inclusive classrooms, the project developed methods from which all children could benefit and that all teachers would find manageable to use.

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Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

To find out more about the project, visit the Signalong Indonesia [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] website (make sure to open this link in a new tab/window so you can easily return to this page).

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