Some aspects of the experiences in integration in regular schools in Hamburg

AutorIn: Ines Boban
Themenbereiche: Schule
Textsorte: Artikel
Releaseinfo: "All together (k)now" in Utrecht. Hamburg: Unpublished skript for the conference
Copyright: © Ines Boban

Commission for admission

Much more parents want to send their children into an integrated class - their handicapped and non-handicapped children - than there are places. The headmasters decide about the non-handicapped children. The handicapped children first have to "pass" a commission. The comission consists of the headmaster of the school, the intended teacher of the class, a headmaster of a special school and a person which has the confidence of the parents. The commission visits each child in his or her preschool situation and confer with the parents who are regarded as the real experts of their childs situation. In a non-formalized way the comission has to make its recommendation to the school board, which decides at last.

The admission of a handicapped child to such a class can only be permitted, if the learning and living conditions in the classroom met his or her specisl needs or can be adepted to them. The primary criteria for admission are the variety of handicappes, the structure of the class, the proximity of the home, existing social relations and friendships and the perspective not to reach a regular school on other ways.

Until now each year about 50 per cent of handicapped children have to be rejected to special schools. So until now the integration of handicapped and non-handicapped children in the regular school starts with an institution of "quantitative selection".

The team

In the integrated classes three different professions work together: primary school teachers, special teachers and educators. There is a lot of tension for these three to find out their roles and spaces they may fill out. In every lesson there are two adults in the classroom. We mainly have not a two-teachers-system but a two-pedagogs-system. The special teachers as the third person are the most unconfident participants in the teams: Their time of presence in the classrom depends on the number of handicapped children. For each child there are 2 1/2 hours per week permitted. So they have two problems: first to be the specialist for special children but to recognize that in most lessons the two-adult-team is able to manage the situation on their own. And second they want to be involved in the competence to manage the whole class businesses but their presence of only five to ten lessons per week is too short. In the secondary schools there is allways a special teacher with the half of his or her budget in one integrated class. But even there the problem of working in a three-profession-team leads to a discussion about the chances of a two-teacher-system.

The changing of teaching

All professions are only partly competent to create and organize an integrative school situation. Primary school teachers are used to teach groups of pupils, special teachers are used to assist to individualized learning processes and educators are used to observe processes of groups and to arrange game situations. The summary of these competences does not characterize an integrative teaching. What is needed, is the balance of these three aspects in a new situation with new circumstances and constellations. So all professions have to reflect their previous way of working and have to change lots of used practice. For example special teachers may not import what they once used to call special education.

In Hamburg you can observe the teams passing this process including highlights and crisis. Their common reflections are supported by some decentralized courses of continuing their studies, organized by a center of consult for integration.

On this background all training systems for teachers and educators also have to be changed. Their main subject should be a training in cooperation and in team-teaching a heterogeneous learning group.

The philosophy of integration

The process to develop an integrative education leads us to the following main aspects:

We have to give up the old kind of pedagogical and didactical aggression, as once Prof. Muth said, the attitude of a teacher who permanently asks, gives advices, demands, dictates and corrects, writes on the board, pleases, orders, lectures etc. Istead of this he should activate the children, let them work together, give the right to ask on their side, have the courage to let them go wrong ways etc. Reserve on the teacher's side ist the cardinal didactical virtue.

We have to find the balance of individual and common learning situations. We have to accept, that the process of integration includes phases with common activities and phases with different activities. Our challenge is to combine different activities in common situations.

We have to learn, that there are not two devided groups of children - handicapped and non-handicapped - , but that all children are equal and different at the same time. It is a heterogeneous group of individuals. For the development of the persons we need processes of approximation and processes of demarcation. Only if we accept processes of demarcation, as conflicts, crises, stagnation, depression, we will experience processes of approximation, as confidence, increase, clarification, perception. We have to ask ourselves for our unloved, dark sides, for our inner imperatives we are carrying. So we can be authentic persons instead of being a teacher monument.

In contrast to all what we may have learned before and to what our western societies claim, we can live without an answer on each question. We even can pedagogically survive, if we have not got a solution for every problem, if we do not practice what is called but never defined "optimum of advance". We just need a "suffice advance" and we do not need an optimum of circumstances, but sufficed circumstances to start and to practice integration.

Integrative education gives us the chance, to learn to practice a "philosophy of the unperfect".


Ines Boban: Some aspects of the experiences in integration in regular schools in Hamburg

"All together (k)now" in Utrecht. Hamburg: Unpublished skript for the conference

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