Enhancing teaching learning in inclusion : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Enhancing teacher learning in inclusion is an action research study which researched how two New Zealand classroom teachers were facilitated to enhance their pedagogy and become more inclusive. An examination of the international literature suggested that contextual professional development, classroom action research, and a collaborative relationship with a critical friend would facilitate inclusive pedagogy. However, there were no published studies of New Zealand primary teachers engaged in classroom-centred action research on inclusion involving an educational psychologist. A two phase action research design was used, firstly negotiated and modelled by an outside researcher, second order action research, and secondly by empowering the teachers to become action researchers, first order action research. Some inclusive practices were evident but two major barriers to inclusive practice in New Zealand classrooms were highlighted. These were an independent and autonomous teacher practice and limited use of individual student assessment data to inform teaching for individual learning. Active reflective thinking through reflection journals and teacher action research of teacher chosen classroom learning challenges occurred in two cycles of second order action research. Results established increased teacher focus on individual student learning, collaboration between themselves and the researcher, knowledge and skills of action research and its effectiveness in solving learning challenges within the teaching programme, use of student assessment data to inform subsequent teaching and learning, and critical awareness of the effect of their beliefs, knowledge and actions on student learning. Whilst literature suggests that schoolwide re-culturing is necessary, this research has demonstrated that two teachers engaging in practitioner action research, supported by a small community of practice, reflective thinking and critical dialogue, can improve their pedagogical and inclusive practice.
Inclusion, Teacher learning, Action research study, New Zealand, Professional development of teachers