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The transformations of Special Schools for the Blind in times of inclusion: A French-Japanese perspective

  • Mithout, Anne-Lise
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2017
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Today’s world is progressively shifting to inclusive education. Yet, special schools have not disappeared. Neither did they remain unchanged. This paper is aimed at exploring the evolution of special schools in times of inclusion, through a French-Japanese comparison. It focuses on the case of “special schools for the Blind”, that were the historical cornerstone of special education. Arguing that those schools are undergoing deep transformations due to the general shift from an approach of disability based on categories of impairment (following the “medical model”) to an approach based on individual needs, it analyzes the changes occurring in French and Japanese schools through the lens of special teachers’ work. Using ethnographic data collected in both countries, it shows that the skills used by teachers in their daily work evolve: specific teaching techniques adapted to visual impairment are becoming less central in teachers’ practices, while more and more relational know-how is necessary to conduct individualized teaching in a classroom context where this becomes increasingly difficult.

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