The Thinking Frames Approach: A case study of inclusion using student-generated multiple-representations

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Many teachers struggle to provide equitable opportunities for students with special educational needs (SEN) to learn science concepts in the inclusive classroom. This study examines the experience of teaching in an inclusive classroom using a conceptual change approach, the Thinking Frames Approach (TFA), incorporating the use of discrepant events, social construction of scientific conceptions followed by the production of multiple student-generated representations of their understanding. An in-depth case study is presented of the experience of Wayne, a student with complex SEN and the effect on his behaviour and science learning based on video/audio recordings of lessons, teacher journal entries, student artefacts, questionnaire results and interviews. It was found that there were positive effects for Wayne's learning using this approach including improved behaviour, greater feelings of self-efficacy, increased participation in small group and class discussions and improved outcomes on the same assessment tasks as peers. It is suggested that the structured approach of the TFA, the communication of understanding in different modalities, particularly drawing, and the support of peers enabled Wayne to more deeply engage in construction of understanding and may provide teachers with an easy and effective approach to authentic inclusion where real conceptual gains are made by all students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Special Educational Needs
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


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