Khot Ail as an Inclusive Education Approach in a Mongolian School

In: Moving towards Inclusive Education

Abstract

The principled approach to inclusive education encourages collaborations that transform school moral culture and education. This involves interruptions to thinking and practice that underpin school organisational culture, addressing the problems and complexities acting as barriers and providing opportunities for change. This chapter describes a moral education research project in a Mongolian school that focussed on increasing teacher capacity to serve as a lever for change. The collaborative and open-ended investigative research approach and an innovative moral education strategy gave participants and researcher space for deep reflection. The experience resulted in revisiting in different ways the underpinning beliefs, values, tacit assumptions and habitual ways of doing and being. Participant narratives revealed entrenched views of difference and how these were tackled in a safe and incremental way. For the Mongolian participants, the familiar was made unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar was made familiar, stimulating self-questioning, creativity and action. The Mongolian teachers’ narratives were analysed using an applied ethics framework, an approach that resonates with the principled approach to inclusive education, and yet is unfamiliar in educational research. The teacher narratives revealed the flourishing of school relationships as they became more focused on inclusion and human dignity. They rekindled enthusiasm using a nomadic form of nurturing leadership. Greater self-fulfilment was achieved through access to the Mongolian understanding of moral exemplarity. Forceful domination was eliminated as teacher and student relationships were redefined. Isolation was countered by opening up the nomadic form of close relationships. Exploitative respect was replaced when virtues language brought to mind the Mongolian philosophy of respect. Teachers began to view education as more than cognitive development. The nomadic condition of unity nurtured in the school dissipated feelings of being undervalued. Mongolia’s complex entry into the modern world was re-envisioned in the school as a quest for moral order through its webs of interlocution. Cultural resources were retrieved and reinterpreted to address problems and complexities teachers faced in their school environment that were disempowering. The inclusive nature of virtues language gave dialoguers the capacity to draw on embedded epistemological ethical understandings. When this was combined with current experience of moral/ethical beauty in action, it helped to dissolve deficit views of difference between teachers and between teachers and students. The research experience – of reflecting and articulating on encounters, collaborating to create learning experiences for students and teachers and cross-cultural dissemination of Mongolian ways of understanding – enriched the inclusive experience for teachers.

Moving towards Inclusive Education

Diverse National Engagements with Paradoxes of Policy and Practice

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