29 March, 2023 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

What will you learn from a MA in Inclusive Education and SEN?

What will you learn from a MA in Inclusive Education and SEN?

By studying a MA in Inclusive Education at Portobello Institute you will build a comprehensive understanding and critical professional approach to working with children and families with additional physical or intellectual needs and what it means to succeed in terms of equality and inclusion provision. 

You will advance your knowledge, understanding and professional practice through engagement with current research and thinking.

It also involves a reflection on, and analysis of, your professional practice, supporting your personal development as well as putting you in a strong position for career progression in this sector. 

The programme aims to provide an overview and general understanding of the topic of ethics and ethical engagement in respect of diversity and inclusion, with a focus on SEN and disability.   

A commitment to equality, diversity, social justice and advocacy are themes central to this Master’s programme.  

You will develop a detailed understanding of current research and contemporary thinking in the field of special educational needs and inclusive education. You will appraise research and theory continuously and reflect on its impact on provision and practice with an emphasis on your own professional practice. 

Developing an understanding of the historical, economic, social, cultural and political contexts which impact the lives of young adults, children and their families is a key benefit of studying this MA in Inclusive Education.

You will also develop a comprehensive understanding of, and commitment to, issues of equality and diversity, social justice and advocacy in relation to the field of inclusive education. 

A Deeper Look at the Modules on the MA Inclusive Education Programme

The modules in Year 1 include the following:  

Facilitating an Inclusive model in Care and Education

This module looks to build a comprehensive understanding and critical professional approach to working with children and families with additional physical or intellectual needs. The module is compulsory for all master’s students in Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic studies and assumes no previous experience of working with children and families with additional needs. This core module aims to facilitate exploration and understanding of the concepts, issues, policies and legislation about inclusive education and supporting disability in care and educational settings, particularly for children with disabilities and additional needs. The module aims to equip students with the knowledge and understanding of inclusive practice in care and education. They will explore the term 'additional needs' according to relevant Irish Frameworks and Policy documents, which state that children may have an additional need by virtue of a disability, family or socio-economic background, ethnicity, physical and mental health. Students will explore key terms such as access, equality and diversity, participation, and inclusion. The module will introduce key concepts in relation to strategies of providing an inclusive environment considering suitable programmes and curriculum. Throughout the module, a reflective analysis of practice will be encouraged, with specific emphasis being placed on the importance of including parents in the context of inclusive practice.  The core aim of the module is to introduce students to a range of disabilities and difficulties and to explore the implications arising from these difficulties for children to access, participate in a variety of care and education settings, and to build an awareness of the strategies and interventions which can be implemented to ensure suitable support and provision to enhance children’s participation and wellbeing both physical and mental.  The focus is on meeting the needs of such students within the most appropriate environment while maximising their inclusion and well-being. 

SEN and Inclusion through a Capabilities Approach

In this core module, we will explore some of the complexities of understanding social justice in education and what it means to succeed in terms of equality and inclusion provision. While education systems across Ireland, the UK and many parts of the world embrace equal entitlement to education, and the importance of allowing the child and young person to flourish and attain well-being, sometimes what we see is that the actual process of achieving this goal is difficult to determine and agree upon. The module explores changing views throughout history, considering the medical model of disability and how this impacted on children and young people, before moving onto the social model of disability, which again while well intended, impacted greatly on the view and understanding of equality and inclusion. One approach which has emerged with considerable power and application is the Capability Approach (CA). The CA asserts two core normative claims: first, 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. 

During year 2, you may choose between the following modules;

A Critical Underpinning of Ethics for Inclusion and Diversity OR Psychology of Development and Emotional Well-being.

This gives you the option to choose which direction your learning can take in the second year.

Further details about the modules taught in year 2 are listed below:

A Critical Underpinning of Ethics for Inclusion and Diversity

The module aims to provide an overview and general understanding of the topic of ethics and ethical engagement in respect of diversity and inclusion, with a focus on SEN and disability.  More specifically the module seeks to establish a common language on relevant terms and to assist students in identifying stereotypes and biases that society may have when it comes to issues of gender, gender expression, identity, race, national origin, ethnicity, SEN and disability, religion, and socio-economic status.  Additionally, the module will provide ways to be more inclusive in one’s theory, practice, and policies, as we strive to be and create inclusive and enabling environments for all children and young people we work with. 

An Introduction to Research with Children and Young People

An Introduction to Research Methods with children and young people is a compulsory module for all students in the School of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic studies and assumes no previous experience or knowledge of research methods. The module aims to provide a general research overview while contextualising the broad range of approaches and debates that are evident within contemporary early educational research. Throughout the module students will be provided with an understanding of theory and an appreciation of the differing perspectives that underpin quantitative, qualitative and mixed and complementary methodologies, while gaining an understanding from supporting frameworks and philosophies of knowledge underpinning the different paradigms relevant to social and educational research. Students will gain an awareness of the ethical implications which relate to research in the field of early education, as well as this range of methodological approaches, within which the key theoretical and practical issues will be addressed. 

Throughout the module, students are encouraged to think critically and reflectively about research (including their own) promoting a deeper understanding of the role of reflexivity and reflective practice when engaging with research in early education. 

MA Dissertation

This module explores the key concepts in research and supports students to undertake a piece of independent research relevant to their professional discipline. Drawing on the skills and knowledge developed during the Research Methods (SE700RPD) and the theoretical knowledge from other core modules, students are offered the opportunity to develop their abilities in research design, data collection, analysis, and critical interpretation, and to apply these to the investigation of a particular problem or issue within your specialist area. Completing the Dissertation allows you to be awarded an MA. 

The dissertation is the element of your programme that provides you with the opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of original, independent research, building on and focussed on the topic or topics that are of particular interest to you and which you wish to explore in greater depth or from different angles. 

Psychology of Development and Emotional Wellbeing

This module examines the theories that have been put forward about how we develop, and the methods by which these theories have been arrived at. The module will engage with the systematic understanding of theories of cognitive and social development throughout our life span, with a more refined focus on 0-18yrs. Topics such as the role of gender in development, how we develop a sense of morality, the impact of peer groups, and how children deal with adversity will all be examined and explored. 

This module explores elements of educational psychology and students will be provided with insights into the origins of individual differences in education and learning traits such as cognitive abilities for example IQ; and learning difficulties for example dyslexia; motivation and personality; behavioural and emotional and social functioning.  The module will examine factors that influence both typical and atypical neurodevelopment and the impact this has on children throughout their development. Finally, the module will engage with an overview of learning deficits that individuals with learning disabilities experience, and consideration will be given to the role practitioners play in supporting and enhancing development in all of these instances, and strategies to enhance the experiences of children and young people in their care, including the value and importance of play. 

How Will You Learn?

This MA in Inclusive Education and SEN has been specifically designed for delivery by online learning, with one-to-one tutorial support and modular webinars designed specifically to prepare you to complete the module. It is very suited to you if you are working full-time with limited spare time yet you want to achieve your Masters qualification.

Interested in our MA Inclusive Education Programme?  

If you are interested in finding out more about our upcoming intake for the MA in Inclusive Education, you can reach out to our Early Years Admissions Advisor, Jennifer Matteazzi, who will answer any questions you may have. 

You can book a 15-minute free consultation call with Jennifer at a time that suits you here. Or you can email jennifer.matteazzi@portobelloinstitute.com or call her directly on 01 892 0031.  

Dr Marguerita Magennis is the Programme Manager, you can read more about her here and read her articles in our early years Knowledge Zone. 

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