Call for Abstracts

The deadline for abstracts is 9 March 2014 and notifications of acceptance will be sent to the corresponding author by 21 March 2014.

Please send the abstract as email attachment to Essi Kesälahti to: eskesala[at] 

Please include the following information in the abstract message:
- name of the thematic group in which you want to give your presentation
- title of your abstract
- name and full contact information of the corresponding author. Please note that all messages about the abstract will be sent to the corresponding author only.

Abstracts are to be max 300 words. They must include the names and affiliations of all authors. Abstracts must be in English and include text only (no pictures, tables or graphics, no references). Abstracts are accepted in Microsoft Word DOC format only (no PDFs).

Please note that at least one presenter for each accepted abstract must register for the conference and pay the registration fee. The registration deadline for accepted presenters is 28 March 2014. Abstracts without a registered presenter by this date will be removed from the conference programme and all materials.

Each accepted abstract will be given 20 minutes as presentation time during the conference. This time includes also discussion. All accepted abstracts will be included in the final programme and abstract booklet.

Thematic groups
Please note that the list of session topics may still be updated later.

Creating inclusive cultures, policies and practices in higher education
Chair: Dr Helena Koskinen,University lecturer, University of Lapland, Finland

Working language: English

Inclusive education is often attached mainly to basic education, but inclusion should be the guiding principle in all education, and across different levels of education (see Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, 2006). There is a wider understanding that diversity should be considered as richness and an asset to learning process. However, many higher education institutions are faced with challenges in addressing the diversity of student population (see e.g. King, Perez & Shim, 2013).

In this session we welcome theoretical and/or practical presentations of research findings, teaching applications and other approaches to facilitate learning in diverse study groups. The focus in this theme session is in higher education.

Designing and interpreting curricula with inclusive mindset
Chair: Dr Lenita Hietanen, University lecturer, University of Lapland, Finland

Working language: English

The curriculum can be the major tool – or the major barrier – in the development of inclusive education, and ensuring that all students can achieve to their greatest potential. Flexible curriculum is seen as the best option for inclusive education but how can inclusion be pursued if the curriculum does not make provision for diversity? In designing the curricula, it would be necessary to look at the planned, enacted and experienced curriculum (Brubacher et al. 1994).

The thematic session explores curricula across all educational levels, and also in teacher education and teachers continued professional education. How does diversity take shape in the curriculum design? How do teachers interpret the curriculum design? And finally, how do students experience the curriculum?

Identification and creation of resources for development of inclusive education
Chair: Prof. Tatiana Kuzmicheva, Kuzmicheva Murmansk State Humanities University, Russia

Working languages: English, Russian

What does it take to ensure that inclusive developments in education can be sustained? Where do we locate necessary resources and how do we create new resources? The proponents of inclusive education are often faced with the counter argument of inclusion not being possible because the lack of resources; on the other hand, there is evidence that inclusion does not require more resources than other forms of organizing support for learners.

The thematic group welcomes papers on innovations and experiences of how human, material, organizational and other resources can be developed in schools and municipalities.

Managing learning in inclusive settings
Chair: Dr Suvi Lakkala, University lecturer, University of Lapland, Finland

Working language: English

Inclusive education aims at developing such teaching and learning processes so that all learners get adequate and well-timed support for their learning and well-being. This principle requires continuous development of pedagogical methods, and changes in structural and operational policies or school culture. (Special education strategy, Finland 2007)

The theme group focuses on empirical research based on different theoretical and methodological frameworks, and innovative practices that examine or describe different ways of enabling learning and participation of learners of different age, educational setting and learning environments.

School and community collaboration for inclusive education
Chair: Prof. Natalia Flotskaya, Northern Arctic Federal University, Arkangel, Russia 

Working languages: English, Russian

Inclusive education is not only about education but also upbringing. Therefore, upbringing is an inevitable part of inclusive practice. Consequently, interaction – and collaboration - between the school and society should be reinforced through the work with the parents / carers, non-governmental organisations, service providers, etc. What are the mechanisms of interaction between the inclusive school and society? Through which forms of joint activities the inclusive school can make an impact on tolerance in society?

The thematic session sets the objective to discuss experiences of different ways of dealing with parents and carers in inclusive schools, involving children with and without disabilities and special educational needs, as well as innovations for developing interaction between the school and different stakeholders, such as NGOs and service providers.

Teacher education for inclusion
Chair: Dr Outi Kyrö-Ämmälä, University lecturer, Vice Dean, University of Lapland, Finland

Working language: English

What are the key competencies, skills and knowledge that teachers in inclusive settings need? What is the role of valuing diversity in the teaching profession? What kind of professionals do we need for inclusive education? These are but some questions that higher education institutions and teacher educators need to consider.

The thematic group explores ideas of what is it to be an inclusive teacher, and what it takes from teacher education.

What is inclusive education?
Chair: Mirjam Harkestad Olsen, Associate professor, UiT, The Arctic University of Norway

Working language: English

UNESCO defines inclusion as a right to education where the goals are to remove all forms of negative discrimination and promote social cohesion. Such education is allows each student to develop their full potential. In this perspective, inclusion is not a static state, but a process and a goal to work towards.

This session will be discussing issues related to what inclusive education is. What do teachers perceive that inclusive education is? What is inclusive class like? How do teachers work in kindergartens and schools to towards this goal of inclusion? What do children, young people and parents understand as the concept of inclusive education?
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