Difference in Policy and Politics: Dialogues in Confidence

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Julie Allan


disability studies, education, diversity


This paper reports on a process of engagement with administrators and Government Ministers in dialogue about diversity that was informed by Disability Studies in Education, a discipline that critiques existing ways of thinking about disability, actively promotes more positive constructions and representations of disabled people’s lives and challenges conventional or traditional notions of normalcy.  It took place within a project, initiated by Council of Europe, Policies and practices for socio-cultural diversity and involved the development of a framework of teacher competences for socio-cultural diversity. The paper charts the process of developing the framework and reports the dialogue that took place. The Ministers and administrators were encouraged to view teaching as a dialogue and to recognise teachers’ competence in responding to diversity, following Levinas (1969; 1996), a philosopher who addresses questions of ethics, as a continuing responsibility of teachers to their students.
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