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A bilingual, bicultural interpreter and researcher navigates blurry boundaries and intersectionality

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A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The

A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.

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2011

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Developing inclusive education policies and practices in Turkey: a study of the roles of UNESCO and local educators

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According to UNESCO's 2010 survey results of 58 member countries, 34 of the countries had less than 1 percent of children enrolled in special education programs. Ten of these countries provided special education provision for less than .01 percent of

According to UNESCO's 2010 survey results of 58 member countries, 34 of the countries had less than 1 percent of children enrolled in special education programs. Ten of these countries provided special education provision for less than .01 percent of children. However, the demand to educate students with disabilities in inclusive educational settings continues to grow. Thus, there are many national initiatives aimed at finding ways of creating forms of inclusive educational settings that can respond to children with special needs. In this study, the purpose was to better understand the processes of local adaptation and modification of UNESCO's inclusive education policies, the possible resistances to global forces in inclusive education in Turkey, and the consequences of the implications of those policies in Ankara, Turkey from local educators' views. With that goal in mind, recently adopted Turkish inclusive educational policies implemented after the Salamanca Statement in 1994 were reviewed on a selective basis. The discussion of the policy and document analysis section helped to make connections between the global inclusive education policy changes and local practices in the Turkish education system. In the second part of the study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with local educators in Ankara (teachers, administrators, and academic advisors) and policy makers from the Ministry of National Education. An analysis of the interview data highlighted the various complexities, tensions, and inadequacies in the conceptualization of inclusive education in Turkish public primary schools that study participants have observed and experienced. In light of the findings, possible reasons behind the gap between theory and practice and the discrepancies between Western and Turkish interpretations of inclusive education in Turkey are discussed. In the current inclusive education system in Turkey, the challenge of modifying deeply held attitudes at both personal and institutional levels, providing clearly constructed inclusive education policies and approaches, offering appropriate training to key stakeholders, and making adequate resources available appear to be the primary issues for moving forward with full inclusion initiatives.

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2010

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Children with dis/abilities in Namibia, Africa: uncovering the complexities of exclusion

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Children with dis/abilities the world over are widely required to sacrifice their human rights to education, equity, community, and inclusion. Fewer than 10% of children with dis/abilities in developing countries attend school. Namibia, Africa, where this study took place, is

Children with dis/abilities the world over are widely required to sacrifice their human rights to education, equity, community, and inclusion. Fewer than 10% of children with dis/abilities in developing countries attend school. Namibia, Africa, where this study took place, is no different. Despite Namibia's adoption of international covenants and educational policy initiatives, children with dis/abilities continue to be overwhelmingly excluded from school. The body of literature on exclusion in sub-Saharan Africa is laden with the voices of teachers, principals, government education officials, development organizations, and scholars. This study attempted to foreground the voices of rural Namibian families of children with dis/abilities as they described their lived experiences via phenomenological interviews. Their stories uncovered deeply held assumptions, or cultural models, about dis/abilities. Furthermore, the study examined how policy was appropriated by local actors as mediated by their shared cultural models. Ideas that had been so deeply internalized about dis/abilities emerged from the data that served to illustrate how othering, familial obligation, child protection, supernatural forces, and notions of dis/ability intersect to continue to deny children with dis/abilities full access to educational opportunities. Additionally, the study describes how these cultural models influenced cognition and actions of parents as they appropriated local educational policy vis-à-vis creation and implementation; thereby, leaving authorized education policy for children with dis/abilities essentially obsolete. The top down ways of researching by international organizations and local agencies plus the authorized policy implementation continued to contribute to the perpetuation of exclusion. This study uncovered a need to apply bottom up methods of understanding what parents and children with dis/abilities desire and find reasonable for education, as well as understanding the power parents wield in local policy appropriation.

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2010