Special educators’ perceptions of their role in inclusive education: A case study in Finland
Christopher Mihajlovic 1 *
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1 Johann-Peter-Schäfer Schule, Germany.
* Corresponding Author


Qualitative research methods were used to conduct case studies in three public schools in Finland to explore the changing role of the special education profession in Finland after the legislative reform in 2011 regarding educational support. With the implementation of the three tiered-support system, the special educator has become a profession with versatile tasks. This paper investigates mainly the participants' points of view regarding the work structure and pedagogical settings within their schools, as well as challenges and positive aspects related to their work. Semi-structured interviews and participant observation were used as data collection tools. Four special educators in mainstream schools located in Southern Finland participated in the research undertaking. Given this small sample group, the results of the study make no claims for generalisability but the findings revealed that the work of special educators mainly consists of teaching and background work, depending on their operational area. Although the consultative role exists, the findings showed that it has not yet become a regular part of the work for most special educators. The focus of their work lies on the support for students with different learning needs in the classroom. 



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