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Course content

As contemporary societies become more heterogeneous, and as inclusive education reforms gain currency across the world, educational systems are being challenged to address some fundamental questions about teaching and learning related to the accommodation of and respect for difference.

Underpinning the movement for inclusion is a concern for social justice and wellbeing. Meeting the diverse needs of learners within today's schools, colleges and universities, is one of the most challenging and important tasks facing education today.

This thoroughly revised Master's degree is unique not only because of the disciplinary approaches it employs, but also because students study and apply an approach to wellbeing that has been developed by some of the world’s leading thinkers.

This is an approach that is internationally recognised by, for example, the UN, and whose principles are increasingly found in government policy on education and SEN, namely the Capability Approach. We are one of the very few institutions in the UK to offer this practical and ethical approach to assessing issues of SEN, equality and inclusion.

The skills you will develop include critical thinking skills and how best to be an inclusive practitioner. Importantly, this is a professionally based degree which means that you will apply what you have learned to your own professional practice whether you are a classroom assistant, SENCO or university lecturer.

Why Inclusion and Special Needs Education at Queen's?

◦As a prestigious Russell Group University, Queen’s is ranked 8th within the UK in relation to research intensity;

◦ Education at Queen’s has been ranked 4th within the UK in relation to research intensity with 87% of the research undertaken within the School assessed as ‘internationally excellent or world leading’ (REF, 2014);

◦We provide a professional development opportunity for: mainstream primary and secondary teachers from the newly qualified phase of professional development onwards; and, individuals whose professional or voluntary roles are strongly associated with life in regular classrooms and schools e.g. School Governors, Learning and Behaviour Mentors and Classroom Assistants;

◦We understand the many demands on students’ time, so the content is delivered in a mixture of face-to-face and online formats and you can study one or more of our modules as a short course;

◦If you don’t want or need to study for the research dissertation, flexible exit qualifications (PG Diploma, PG Certificiate) are available.

Programme Structure

The MEd in Inclusion and Special Needs Education is awarded to students who have successfully completed 120 CATS points from taught modules and 60 CATS points from a Master's dissertation.

Exit qualifications are available. Students may exit with a Postgraduate Diploma by successfully completing 120 CATS points from taught modules or an Postgraduate Certificate by successfully completing 60 CATS points from taught modules.

Short Courses

We've made it easy to study for a Masters module as a short course. If you would like to study for one of the modules in the MEd in Inclusion and Special Needs Education as a short course, please contact the Postgraduate Secretary (tel: 028 9097 5923/5032, ) for advice.

Core Modules

Core Modules (compulsory, all 20 CATS points):

An Introduction to Research Methods: Children, Young People and Education (online)

This module will provide you with an understanding of differing perspectives that underpin quantitative and qualitative methodologies and is required preparation for your research dissertation.

Reimagining Special Needs Education: Inclusive Pedagogy

We will focus on deconstructing Special Needs Education and Inclusion by exploring how some popular approaches and behavioural theoretical models have influenced our understanding of SEN. Much of the ‘knowledge’ of special education is, arguably, misconceived and promotes inequality, rather than addresses it. In examining the consequences of, for example, labeling, we will consider a powerful rationale for inclusion based on theories of social justice.

Special Needs Education and Issues of Equity

We will examine how stereotyping and prejudice contribute to forms of ‘epistemic injustice’ whereby what certain groups of people know is given less credibility and weight simply because of their disability, sex, class or ethnicity. The testimony of members of stigmatized groups is likely to be discounted because of prejudicial beliefs and attitudes, which can magnify the effects of injustice as well as create others. Our judgments, as we will learn, are likely to be affected by implicit biases even when we think we’re making judgments of scientific or argumentative merit. The effects of such epistemic injustice is the marginalisation and exclusion of already vulnerable such as the disabled, the working class, women, and people of colour.

Social Justice in Special Needs Education and Inclusion

We will explore some of the complexities of understanding equality in education and sketch some of the flaws with popular approaches to, and conceptions of disability and SEN. While all systems across the world espouse equal entitlement to education, the precise content of this goal is difficult to determine and agree upon. One approach which has emerged with considerable power and application is the Capabilities Approach (CA). The CA is an evaluative framework that entails two core normative claims: first, the claim that the freedom to achieve well-being is of primary moral importance, and second, that freedom to achieve well-being is to be understood in terms of people’s capabilities, that is, their real opportunities to do and be what they have reason to value.

Two optional modules may be chosen from the Educational Studies (MEd) degree.

Assessment

There are no written examinations. Modules are assessed through a written assignment of 3000 words that is informed by the student’s own professional practice and experience.


Visit the MEd Inclusion and Special Needs Education page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!

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