OCW grant for research into more inclusive special needs writing education

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The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is awarding Johan Sonnenschein, Els Stronks (both Utrecht University), and Micha Hamel a grant to expand SchrijfLab.nl in the coming year to include writing education for secondary special needs education (vso), cluster 4. Sonnenschein, Stronks, and Hamel will do so with teachers of Dutch, the pupil advocacy association secondary special needs education (LBVSO), and staff from the Netherlands institute for curriculum development (SLO).

Essential writing education

“We will design and test writing education that takes into account neurodivergence, such as ASD, autism spectrum disorders, and ADHD,” Stronks says. Current vso methods (for practical education, BBL, kbl, gl, tl, havo, and vwo) already address writing education to varying degrees, but not in the way SchrijfLab.nl aims, she explains.

“We focus on writing education inspired by reading and art education – education that helps pupils express their thoughts and feelings better, more refined, and more fluently. Especially for pupils who need extra support in life, writing education can be essential.”

Inclusieve geïllustreerde poppetjesSchrijflab.nl

From a medical to a social perspective

“We see this writing education as an important step towards a shift in perspective, as advocated by the National Knowledge Institute for Culture Education and Amateur Art (LKCA),” Stronks continues. “When it comes to vso, we need to move from a medical to a social perspective.”

“The medical model takes disability as an individual’s medical problem that essentially needs to be corrected, repaired, or cured. In the social model, the focus shifts: it is no longer about a mind or body that needs to be corrected, but rather how society actively includes or excludes people from participation.”

“If we want an inclusive system, the pupil does not adapt to the cultural education system, as in the medical model, but the system actively adapts to the pupil. How – that is what we will examine with pupils and teachers in a number of design and test cycles in the coming year.”