I am an Educational Psychologist, trainer and international consultant in inclusive education who gained ESRC funding to research the education of children with disabilities in Colombia. Now in my final year of my PhD, my research has explored how an innovative Colombian model of education, called Escuela Nueva, addresses the education of children with disabilities in rural contexts. Questioning the application of Northern models of inclusive education in countries of the Global South without reference to differences in context, culture or local priorities, it has been fascinating to better understand how this homegrown model, which appears inclusive by design, addresses the complexity of educating children with disabilities in rural contexts. Additionally, I illustrate conferences, live, and illustrated the Global Disability Summit in 2018 and the UNESCO conference on inclusive education in Cali, Colombia (2019).
My background as an Educational Psychologist and international consultant in inclusive education led me to question the application of models of inclusive education which are broadly generated in countries and contexts located in the Global North, and subsequently applied in countries of the Global South without reference to differences in context, culture or local expertise. Drawing upon Critical Disability Theory and a Postcolonial approach, I was interested to research a positive example of successful Colombian model of rural education, Escuela Nueva, addresses the education of children with disabilities.
Using a case study design, I spent 9 months in Colombia conducting research with 5 schools which employ the approach. Using the Washington Group Questions to identify children with functional difficulties, I used visual participatory activities to seek the views of children (including drawing, photo voice and illustrated interviews) and conducted interviews with teachers, parents and Foundation Escuela Nueva staff.
Additionally, I illustrate conferences, live, and have used this skill throughout my research (see my blog on how here https://fersacambridge.com/2020/01/27/the-power-of-the-felt-tip-drawing-my-way-through-the-phd-process/)