Supporting Graduate Students toward “A Pedagogy of Hope”: Resisting and Redefining Traditional Notions of Disability

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Geert Van Hove
Elisabeth De Schauwer
Kathleen Mortier
Lien Claes
Katrien De Munck
Meggie Verstichele
Caroline Vandekinderen
Karen Leyman
Leen Thienpondt


disability studies, education, inclusion


This article describes the process by which faculty at Ghent University enculturate graduate students into a Disability Studies in Education (DSE) perspective within a culture that actively supports segregation of students with disabilities. Our curriculum centers around “a pedagogy of hope”—a way of thinking and working in which problems, solutions, and roles are defined differently from the traditional models of disability. To illustrate this work, we present five key incidents (real-life vignettes) that have occurred within the day-to-day interactions with the students and analyze the significance of these incidents in regard to student growth. We conclude with a discussion of ten basic elements of DSE that are central to research, teaching, and action.

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