Exploring the Influence of Institutionalisation On Beginning Teachers Thoughts about Inclusive Practices.

Carol Anne Hamilton



This article explores the possible influence of past practices of institutionalization on discussions involving groups of beginning teachers who are exploring how to include all disabled children in regular classes in New Zealand. As part of a principal lecture about institutionalization, social norms, inclusion and disability rights, beginning teachers were asked to provide feedback about their knowledge of a large local institution – Tokanui Hospital. Two thirds of those responding, many aged under 25 years, reported no knowledge about the institution. However, one third indicated varying amounts of information about Tokanui and those who lived and worked in it. Comments made by the participants indicate that the legacy of institutional practice may influence at least some beginning teachers’ beliefs about inclusion in ways that need more consideration. Some narratives about institutionalisation are generally available but many stories about this period remain hidden.  More concerted efforts to find and disseminate these stories are needed.

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